Glossier CEO On Building A Skincare, Cosmetics Empire Online At Disrupt NY

The world’s major cosmetics companies like L’Oreal and Shisheido are at least a century old. But a New York-based startup from a former fashion assistant at Vogue and W is making waves.

Emily Weiss is the founder and CEO of Glossier, a skincare and cosmetics line that raised $8.4 million from Thrive Capital and other investors.

It started with a beauty blog she founded called Into The Gloss. She interviewed models, makeup artists, and other role models about what products they used. The brand developed a cult following with more than 200,000 followers on Instagram, and 60,000 fans on Facebook.

So naturally, the next logical step for the company was to launch its own skincare line.

They did that last year with the Phase 1 set — a line of four products from a moisturizer to a balm and a spray that came in at around an $80 price-point. They launched the new brand, Glossier, purely online through their fan base and the traction was enough to attract the interest of Thrive, which has backed among others Warby Parker and Harry’s.

The thesis is similar to what’s powered Warby Parker’s success. Can you have a verticalized e-commerce business in cosmetics where you manage the product design and distribution through your online fan base and don’t have the need for brick and mortar stores?

Weiss will be sharing some of the twists in her admittedly unusual career on-stage at Disrupt in May.

She’ll join other notable Disrupt NY speakers, including Tinder’s Sean Rad, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley.

The show runs May 4-6 at the historic Manhattan Center. Tickets are still available.

Our sponsors help make Disrupt happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact