Glossier’s Emily Weiss Proves There’s Beauty in Being a Disruptor

by Debra Bednar-Clark
Glossier Founder Emily Weiss

Gutsy moves are what get you ahead. So, of course, when I see someone make a gutsy move after gutsy move, I can’t help but cheer her on. Such a woman is Emily Weiss, who successfully converted her passion project, a beauty blog named Into the Gloss, into a multimillion dollar business with the introduction of her own beauty brand, Glossier, in 2014.

Today, Glossier has become a total cultural powerhouse, complete with a cult-like fan following on social media, $100 million worth of funding in five years, and brick-and-mortar stores on both coasts.

There is a lot to be learned about the way she approached her business with both substance + style that you can apply to your own career, especially through the lens of my method The Works. The Works is the idea that you can find success at work and beyond by bringing your whole self forward, inclusive of intellect, emotional intelligence, and personal style.

How did Emily do just that? Let me explain…

INTELLECT: She used her fashion background to create a brand identity.

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Working for it since 1985

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Emily didn’t start her career as an industry-disrupting CEO of a beauty brand. Rather, she began as a styling assistant at Vogue and W magazines. However, it was her work in the luxury magazine world that helped her launch Glossier with the idea of making luxury beauty products available at affordable prices.
The Career Lesson: Identify and foster skills that can be applied beyond your specific industry.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: She taps into her instincts to build a community.

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Every body is a #bodyhero

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As her company grew, her community grew, too — and she empowered her fans by becoming a friend-like figurehead of the brand, not some faceless corporate cog. Some ways in which she continues to do that: She connects and listens to her customers on a deeply personal level (by answering questions online), she creates cool experiences that feature surprise and delight (like free stickers!), and she shares her passions to show other ways people could connect with her outside the office (whether that’s products she likes or people she admires).
The Career Lesson: Rely on your instincts to build your ideas, then listen and respond to your stakeholders to show them that you care.

PERSONAL STYLE: She is her brand, and her brand is her.

Her beauty brand champions the notion that raw beauty is the best beauty, and her personal style reflects that: She’s equal parts elegant, fun, power woman, and goofy — and she’s not afraid show it. That’s what makes her an approachable, authentic leader: One minute she’s sharing that she’s on the cover of Fast Company and then the next she’s sharing an Instagram story of the food she’s eating on her Delta flight.
The Career Lesson: Unite your professional and your personal sides to show people who you truly are — you never know what part of you will connect with someone else.

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