MADE TO ORDER: Glossier Pop-up Review
Written and modeled by Petrina Danardatu and photographed by Leah Cussen
It was a beautiful afternoon in the Seaport area when first-year Avenue photographer Leah and I visited the Glossier pop-up store. Breaking the pattern of the last few days, the sun was beating down, the rays reflecting off the gigantic windows of the surrounding skyscrapers, and providing the perfect day for the yoga class being held on the grass lawn across the store. The sun’s golden lighting was particularly flattering to the baby-pink color of the Glossier sheds. Perhaps the word “shed” doesn’t do these structures justice. On the outside they looked like no more than simple wooden structures, but each one had big glass doors, which opened up to reveal a beautiful showroom on the inside.
There were nine of these structures, lined up in an L-shape. Some of the showrooms were labelled “Shop All”, meaning they display all of the products that Glossier carries. Other showrooms were dedicated to specific products or categories of products: Skincare, Makeup, Glossier You fragrance, Brows, and Generation G. Although the Generation G showroom references the title of their lipstick line, it doesn’t actually display lipsticks but had a large Generation G statue. This room, along with the Glossier You showroom, walls covered entirely in red velvet, provide some great spaces to take Instagrammable pictures.
The Glossier employees could be identified by baby-pink jumpsuits so cute that I almost asked if the pop-up was selling them too. The first employee I spoke to explained the way that the shopping / buying process works. She handed me a pamphlet, which served both as a map of the showrooms and as an “ordering menu.” The items are listed and categorized with prices and possible color options, which you check off as you visit each showroom. When you’re done, you give the pamphlet and your name to any employee and they go and collect the selected items for you.
Then you go to the Pick-Up booth, and like at your local Starbucks, they call out your name when they have your order and you’re all set. This system is probably in place mostly for security reasons, since the separate booths increase the risk of shoplifting. Also, you might consider that the ability to shop without carrying your own products is a plus! Though I didn’t buy any products, from what I could tell, the wait didn’t seem long at all.
Glossier is almost entirely an e-commerce brand, and its only two permanent stores are in New York City and Los Angeles. Glossier’s Boston pop-up will stay standing until October 4th, and then they’ll proceed to London, England and Austin, TX. I would recommend the pop-up mostly to those who are already somewhat familiar with the products that Glossier has, or people who are willing to do product research prior to visiting the pop-up. The ordering menu and the store itself do not include a lot of information about the products (what they are, what they do, how to apply them, etc). I think that going to a pop-up is mostly to provide a way for Glossier fans to try out products in person, and to make sure that they live up to their descriptors. I would definitely take advantage of the opportunity to actually try on Glossier products for two main reasons: 1) You can see if your money would be well spent on your products, which is great because Glossier is not the cheapest 2) It’s a fun experience!
While I was there, three employees made a point to emphasize to me that Glossier focuses on skincare before they do on makeup. They explained how Glossier believes that makeup is for playing with, for artistic expression, and not for fixing or changing natural features. So even if you’re not interested in make-up at all, skincare can be practiced by anyone and anywhere: ready-made self-care to go! Another thing I noticed was that almost all of the models in the photos were women, and so were all of the people who visited and worked at the pop-up. Now that Glossier has made a name for itself and is really breaking-ground in the beauty industry, the company has a powerful platform it could use to incite social change. I believe that skincare, makeup, and fashion are not gendered endeavors, and we should move away from marketing them as feminine pursuits. If Glossier made more of an effort to include people of all genders in product marketing and their employee base, I think that would only strengthen and grow support for this company.
My favorite part of the pop-up was that some of the mirrors had text printed on them which read: “YOU LOOK GOOD.” This is Glossier’s famous affirmation that really speaks to the attitude Glossier has towards beauty. It encourages people to embrace every individual’s natural and unique beauty, especially one’s own. This is shown in the way you buy products at the store: you customize a list of products that contributes to your personal expression of beauty. Glossier’s CEO, Emily Weiss, is quoted on her website, “I wanted to make beauty as much of an element of personal style as fashion.” Glossier is founded upon the idea that “beauty is not made in the boardroom”. Beauty is made by every individual, when they embark on a sovereign process of deciding how they want to express their own beauty. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful in the skin they’re in. Everyone deserves to look in the mirror and believe in these words: “YOU LOOK GOOD.”