Early on in the pandemic, Glossier announced the closures of its physical flagships in New York and Los Angeles. That came as a surprise to dedicated followers of the beauty disruptor, which successfully ventured into bricks-and-mortar and experiential retail after enjoying propitious growth and several rounds of seed funding thanks to marketing tactics with wide-ranging millennial appeal on social media. Despite those setbacks, e-commerce sales remained consistently strong across all product categories throughout lockdown. The brand recently secured an $80 million investment led by Sweetgreen and Farfetch investor Lone Pine Capital, bringing Glosser’s most recent valuation to $1.8 billion.
The new round of funding gave Glossier enough flexibility to return to bricks-and-mortar retail right as the world is becoming re-acquainted with in-person experiences again. Today, the brand opens its first permanent flagship in Seattle, with two more underway in London and Los Angeles. Expect signature pink interiors and a new in-person beauty shopping experience that, according to the company, “facilitates people-first beauty discovery, inspires curiosity and wonder, and invites people to participate in Glossier in 3D.”
“As a digital-first company, we’ve always viewed physical retail as an important part of building the world of Glossier and inviting everyone to participate in beauty in a new way,” Emily Lewis, head of retail operations, tells Surface. “The appetite for immersive in-person experiences has never been more resonant, especially as shopping continues to rapidly move online due to the pandemic. That shift aligns with what we’ve always been building towards.”
When it comes to design details, Glossier’s in-house creative team drew inspiration from regional flora—particularly the Pacific Northwest’s emerald forests and the exceptional qualities of mushrooms. “Fungi have so many incredible qualities, like a unique ability grow and thrive in unlikely places,” says design lead Kendall Latham. “Some even claim they have the power to revolutionize the way we live in the future. We brought that phenomenon to life in an otherworldly atmosphere of regeneration and rebirth.”
Visitors are immediately greeted by giant Willy Wonka–esque mushrooms, moss-covered boulders, hologram butterflies, and a giant terraced seating unit inspired by local topographies. Taking root throughout the space and lending a visual foil to the pared-down interior architecture, the natural elements “frame paths for customers to embark on a “magical mushroom trip” as they rediscover Glossier’s makeup, skincare, fragrances, and body products in real life.