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Emily Weiss

For letting customers decide what’s beautiful.

Emily Weiss
Mask-uerade: Glossier originally started with four basics—moisturizer, balm, face mist, and skin tint— but has expanded to include face masks.

When Emily Weiss was preparing to launch beauty line Glossier last year, she didn’t spend her startup funds on market research or focus groups. Instead, the founder of the hottest beauty blog in the world, Into The Gloss, asked her nearly 1 million readers what they wanted out of their cosmetics. By the time the core collection finally hit the Internet marketplace in October, the virtual lines were out the door. “We trust each other’s recommendations more than we trust brands,” Weiss says. The makeup line started with four basics–moisturizer, balm, face mist, and skin tint–but Weiss soon added on more novel offerings, including face masks and a limited-edition metallic eyeliner, with more products to come later this year. Each product features minimal fragrance and a straightforward application, and the prices, starting at $12, are on par with drugstore brands. All the early attention helped Weiss close an $8.4 million Series A funding round in November, led by Thrive Capital, with which the entrepreneur promises to do no less than “democratize beauty.”

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Bonus Round

Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?

Travel. The places I go, yes, but also the traveling itself. I have breakthroughs on planes. Maybe it’s a combination of wine, quiet, and altitude. Also, Instagram deep dives are a big late-night thing for me and are incredibly inspiring. Some really amazing collaborations in the creation of Glossier have come out of direct messaging strangers on Instagram.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Meditate if I’m good; check email if I’m bad.

What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?

That I have a million “jobs”. Being CEO of a startup is kind of like being Batman, I imagine: shifting energy to people or areas of the company as needed and trying to add value.

What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?

At the moment, super-fresh meme ones. @beigecardigan is really funny; @slaymie is good. I don’t know that they’re women but they seem like it which I appreciate.

What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?

Interview women about their approach to beauty. Four years after starting Into The Gloss, I continue to be fascinated by these conversations and inspired by girls around the world. Relatedly, spending time alone. I’m naturally pretty outgoing but when you’re always ‘on’ it’s important to be ‘off’ to give the brain time to wander. Also I love reading business books. The best one I’ve read is Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things. It’s a real kick in the pants.

Who outside of your field inspires you the most and why?

Beyoncé. Raw talent plus hard work plus authenticity. A winning combo no matter what field you’re in.

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About the author

Brooklyn-based writer Lauren Sherman began her career as a lifestyle reporter at Forbes, and has since held executive positions at both Fashionista.com and Luckymag.com. She has also written for the Business of Fashion, Ad Age, Elle.com, Women’s Health, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, InStyle, NYmag.com, and Style.com, among others.

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