Glossier, the direct-to-consumer beauty startup that’s raised $34.4 million in funding so far, will kick off its international expansion this month.
“Ever since Day 1, we’ve dreamt of making Glossier a global beauty movement that celebrates real girls in real life,” founder and CEO Emily Weiss wrote in a blog post. “And that moment is coming up—really soon actually.” Glossier will start shipping its cosmetic and skincare products to Canada later this month, the U.K. later this year, and France in 2018, with other countries in the works.
Glossier launched in 2014, four years after Emily Weiss, a former style assistant at Vogue and W magazines, started blogging about beauty at Into The Gloss. Its most recent funding was a $24 million Series B led by Institutional Venture Partners in fall 2016 (other investors include Thrive Capital, which led Glossier’s $8.4 million Series A in 2014).
At Disrupt NY in May, Weiss told the audience during a panel that “beauty is not traditionally a VC kind of business. But it’s a quarter-of-a-trillion dollar market globally, and ripe for disruption. The data speaks for itself. . . But you also wouldn’t believe how excited people get when you put a bag of products on the table, men and women.”
Weiss first detailed Glossier’s expansion plans in a blog post two years ago about the challenges of making a cosmetics brand international. For example, Weiss explained that in new markets, brands need to find “responsible parties,” or partners that basically serve “as a hybrid between a chemist and a lawyer” to ensure that all products shipped overseas meet local formulation and packaging regulations. Then they have to figure out how to fit ingredient and application instructions in different languages on packaging without creating more waste. Glossier’s goal is to respond to customer inquiries within 12 emails of their first email, so it also needed to create a customer service team that can work across timezones.
Glossier already has an office in Montreal and will open one soon in London. The company will take a deliberate approach to its international expansion, Weiss wrote, so it can build user communities in each country before launching in another one. She asked for suggestions about what countries to launch in next, but added that Glossier can’t ship to places that require product testing on animals because it is a cruelty-free brand.