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Glossier Takes SoHo: A Lesson in Branding

In February 2023, Glossier launched their newest brick and mortar location in New York City with a fresh look and updated products. The space features 3,100-square-feet of shopping space, a 500-square-foot lounge, and 15-foot grand dining tables of products to sample. It’s also one block from the brand’s previous location.

“The space itself draws inspiration from the nuanced details we love about New York City,” says CEO Emily Weiss, speaking of how the store is designed to reflect a classic SoHo loft and features touches of New York City all throughout the store – in fact, the store’s impressive “You Look Good” floor mural was created by the same team that does the MTA’s iconic tilework.

What can brands learn from Glossier’s example?

Strategic localization

There’s a reason Glossier chose SoHo as its home base: a hotspot of brands and businesses, the neighborhood attracts locals and tourists alike and encapsulates the thrum of downtown NYC culture. What’s more, Glossier’s original flagship store was also located in SoHo, making this physical reopening something of a “homecoming” for the brand, according to Kleo Mack, SVP of global marketing for Glossier. As such, Glossier successfully plays off of the name recognition the brand has already built for itself in the location.

Understanding their target persona

Glossier demonstrates that it keenly understands the preferences and proclivities of its target audience – that is, primarily female and nonbinary young people – not only through its choice of SoHo as a location, but also through the NYC-specific aspects highlighted throughout the store and multiple amenities offered, such as a wet bar for testing skincare products. With these details, Glossier gives their customers an opportunity to recognize aspects of their everyday lives and needs at the store (for example, the subway platform bench and MTA-style mosaics) and feel at-home and free to play and experiment with various products.

Subtle re-branding

Whereas the previous Glossier storefront and original New York flagship featured a definitively “Millennial Pink” aesthetic, the new interior puts a more sophisticated spin on its aesthetic, featuring red accents among a muted taupe and white palette. This is because in the brand’s decade of existence, its once-millennial customer base has grown older alongside it. Through its subtle updating of colors, Glossier has managed to cater to its evolved demographic of loyal target customers while still remaining true to its core brand themes.

Generating shared energy

In their brick-and-mortar design, Glossier intentionally prioritizes an immersive experience of shopping, which in turn creates a feeling of community inside the store, among staff and shoppers alike. Store designers also encourage buzz surrounding the store’s opening through strategically placed opportunities for user-generated content within the store (such as selfies in the iconic “You Look Good” mirrors) and other unexpected items in line with Glossier’s subway theme, like Glossier branded METRO cards in five nearby MTA stations, large-scale subway ads, and store and corporate employees handing out pink roses to subway riders at the Spring Street station.

Octo Outlook

It was raining the day we visited Glossier’s new SoHo store, but this didn’t stop people from lining up for hours, eager to get a glimpse of the latest Glossier offerings. Once inside, however, the queue seemed worth it. Glossier has always been a brand that values the customer experience, and the new store design is no different. Cosmetics and skincare items are innovatively presented on tables like works of art, and disposable brushes and endless mirrors are provided for testing different products (and taking selfies). In-store experts are also available to offer advice and information about their various balms, creams, and makeup. The result is a sense of joy and discovery that is rare to find in a shopping experience.

In a world where so much of our lives are spent online, it's heartening to see a brand that values the importance of physical space and the human connection that comes with it. The opening of the new Glossier shop in SoHo is a reminder that sometimes, the best things in life are worth waiting for – even if it means standing in the rain for a little while.

There’s only one thing left to say, which is: Bravo, Glossier! Check out some of the store's features below.

Still unsure how to make the most of your brand positioning? Get in touch with our team today!


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