Glossier’s flagship store is a tactile delight

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Glossier, the beauty brand that went from Emily Weiss’ side-hobby blog to a multi-million dollar direct-to-consumer skincare and cosmetics business, has opened a new flagship store in New York. Glossier is one of the exemplary influencer endorsed successes of today’s competitive market. With products gushed over by the beauty editors of major magazines and millennial Instagram celebrities alike, it burst into the market at just the right time to catch the current of the zeitgeist and make some waves of its own. One point of difference was the founder’s dialogue with the customer base, which she had built upon the sizeable following of her blog, Into the Gloss. Weiss made her fans feel like she was really hearing their needs — and, as is made clear by her success, she answered them well.

The new store is a retail concept that continues Glossier’s conceptual lineage. Instead of a hard-sell environment, it strives to create an atmosphere that emanates the brand’s je ne sais quoi. First, a carpet-clad staircase with receding handrails propels the visitor up towards a curving corner. At the top, a washed-out millennial pink steeps the store space in an envelope of ease. Softness is expressed through the diffused sunlight, the smooth curves of the long lip-like bench, the corrugated surfaces that present the products to their audience, and the oddly effective choice of plaster as a wall finish. There are also purpose-made rooms for smoothing on Glossier’s creams and beauty potions to one’s heart’s content. It’s more an updated version of a Tupperware party hang-out lounge, than a standard shop. You are welcome to take your time, try the product, and walk away. Glossier is predominantly an e-commerce business anyway, which may alleviate some anxieties around letting the customer walk off before making a purchase.

Like the product packaging, the store design is minimal in unnecessary distraction, but precise in humanising detail. The quirky paper pulp chairs by Thomas Barger are just one example of a design choice that skews towards individual uniqueness — another brand value that subtlety transpires throughout the space. The interior was designed by Gachot Studios, with a team of creatives: the architecture studio P.R.O, lighting designer Silver Shoe Design, and merchandise designer Bridget Cinquegrano.

Photography: Jason Schmidt.