If you want to observe how devoted the beauty community is, all you need to do is head to the newly opened Glossier flagship store on Lafayette Street in New York’s hip SoHo district.
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In case you’ve never heard of the brand, Glossier is a textbook example of a success story. Founded in 2014 as an online direct-to-customer company, it quickly took the world of beauty by storm. If you were a fan of The Hills back in the day, you might remember Emily, the intern working alongside Lauren at Teen Vogue. Well, she’s the mastermind behind this powerhouse.
Interestingly enough, when she initially pitched her business idea to 12 venture capital companies, she received a negative response from 11 of them. Since then, she has gone through four rounds of funding, raising a whopping $100 million. Currently valued at $1.2 billion, Glossier has become a cult beauty and skincare brand worldwide. With the recent opening of its permanent stores in LA and NYC, the company decided to venture into the unknown – the world of offline.
Do you have to queue outside the Glossier store in New York?
In hindsight, I wish I had done some research before visiting the Glossier flagship, as I had little to no idea what to expect. As I was about to find out, queuing outside the store is an inherent part of the Glossier experience. First thing I saw as we turned the corner was a massive line of girls excitedly chatting with each other and checking their phones. “Surely, that can’t be the line just to enter the store…”, I mumbled under my breath. Except it was, and it kept growing by the minute.
For a moment there, I was conflicted about whether I should stick it out or give up and go get some coffee instead. Ultimately, the curiosity to see and swatch the products I’ve been eyeing up on their website won. My boyfriend agreed to wait for me in Kaigo Coffee Room across the street (he swears it’s one of the best, if not the best coffee he’s ever had, so here’s a pro tip if your S.O. needs to kill some time while you shop), and I promptly got in line hoping it would move smoothly…
With rope barriers and security guards outside, it felt a little like we were waiting for the most anticipated launch of the season. The fact that you can’t see what’s inside the store from the street only adds to the secrecy and helps build up the excitement. 30 minutes later, they finally invited me inside. I ascended up a grand red-carpeted staircase and made my way to the second floor of the penthouse ready for a unique shopping experience.
Inside the flagship
And a unique shopping experience it most certainly was… As I soon came to discover, everything inside the Glossier flagship is very on-brand, from the soft pink plaster wall to the ribbed cylindrical podiums on which they display their products. Glossier employees donned in pastel pink boiler suit uniforms roam around the room clutching their iPads, ready to answer any questions you might have.
What immediately caught my eye was the amount of people chilling on a red sofa placed on the far side of the room. I wasn’t sure if they were waiting for something or simply making the most of their shopping experience. Either way, I find it impressive how the brand manages to captivate its customers.
I started making my way around the room, stopping at nearly every table to swatch and play around with the products. Many of them feature the same items, which definitely comes in handy if too many people are huddled around one station or the samples have run out. The platforms are ribbed to fit the cosmetics on display, and unlike any other store I’ve ever visited, the Glossier flagship has no boxed products on show.
Can you try any of their products in store?
Yes, there is a separate showroom space with a sink area where you can try Glossier skincare, as well as a room dedicated to their famed product – Boy Brow*. I wish I’d had enough time to inspect both (those life-size Boy Brow sculptures look really cool), but seeing as my visit already took much longer than expected, the main room had to suffice for now. Again, unlike in many other stores, there were no employees hovering over me or intruding, which allowed me to take my time and look around in peace.
Once I’d made my decision, I started looking around for hints on how to place my order. As it turned out, all you have to do is flag down one of the associates and let them know what you would like to buy.
Does Glossier NYC take cash?
Much to my disappointment, shopping at Glossier is a cashless experience. I had a lot of spending money left and I was ready to drop some dollar before flying back home, so finding out I had to use my card was less than ideal.
I was worried it would take long to process my order, but the entire experience was as seamless as can be. The associate took my personal details and entered my order into her iPad, I swiped my card… et voilà! I ended up getting fewer products than I intended to, but at least it gives me yet another reason to come back to New York!
Once I placed my order, they asked me to wait for my goods by the pick-up counter, which was one of the coolest concepts I’ve encountered. I lined up next to the other girls excitedly watching pink plastic bags descend down a conveyor belt from some kind of magic factory upstairs. After 5 minutes, they called my name. I received my Glossier goods in their signature pink bubble wrap ziplock bag with free stickers inside, which is an Instagrammer’s dream. At first glance it might not seem like a very environmentally-friendly option, but I will definitely get a lot of use out of the bag during my future travels.
Is Glossier worth the hype?
Overall, would I recommend visiting the Glossier flagship? Yes. Even if you’re not into the actual products, it is worth visiting just for the atmosphere and unique retail experience, although you need to brace yourself for the frustratingly long lines.
Would I go back? Again, the answer is yes. As convenient as online shopping is, there’s nothing quite like being able to test out the products or get colour matched in store. However, I’ve learned my lesson. In the future, I will definitely devote a larger chunk of time to my visit and come prepared with my card. I have already made a list of products to try (Stretch Concealer*, Boy Brow* and Mask Duo* – I’m looking at you).
If you got this far and are contemplating making a purchase after reading about my shopping experience, you’re in for a treat. You can get up to 10% off your first Glossier order*!
Have you ever tried Glossier? What do you think about this unique shopping concept? If you had $50 to spend inside their flagship store, what would your top choices be? Also, if you would like me to review my Glossier collection on the blog, drop a comment down below!
I was wondering what time of day you went…we are heading there tomorrow and can’t find anywhere what time they open the doors!
I went in the afternoon! I think they closed down their NYC flagship when the pandemic started 🙁 I saw on their website they’re planning to open a store in Brooklyn later this year, though!
Wondering if they still do a cashless payment or do they finally accept cash. I’ve tried Glossier before and loved it, but it’s always a gift from someone. I haven’t actually bought from the store itself.
That’s a good question! With so many stores now encouraging cashless payment because of Covid, I doubt they started accepting cash. They definitely should though, as a lot of people simply prefer to use cash. Do you have any specific products in mind that you’d like to try?
I am so so jealous. It looks o amazing in here and the decor looks amazing
I know right – everything looked so Instagrammable!
wow definitely a skincare dream place! and great to know there is a cafe next by so that boyfriend or friends don’t get bored XD
Cate ღ 35mm in Style
Yes, I wonder how many of their visitors are friends or partners of Glossier fans xx
I’m one of the few people who has still not tried any Glossier products, but there are so many I want to pick up! I think if I visited the flagship store I’d do a lot of damage to my credit card. The whole design and aesthetic of the shop is amazing, and I love the sound of the ordering and collecting process! If I ever make it to NYC, the Glossier store will have to be on my list of things to do!
I feel you – I had to seriously stop myself from buying more products! The good thing about living in the UK is the fact that you can place your order online, but I honestly hope you will make it to NYC soon – I am so in love with the city and cannot recommend visiting enough!
I’ve never tried anything from Glossier myself and I don’t think I personally would have queued for that long to go into a shop (a ride at Disneyland maybe!) but clearly it was worth it! It’s a very Instagrammable place. It looks so clean and fresh and I love how they’ve displayed the products too – with no boxed products on show. That’s very different but I like it. Great post! x
Thank you very much for commenting! They don’t currently ship to my country so it was my only chance of getting their products, but I’m so glad I waited! xx
I’ve literally never tried a Glossier product in my life and feel like I’m massively missing out! Sounds like they need a store 100 times the size, like Sephora!
You should definitely try some of their products! To be honest, I kind of like the element of exclusivity because it’s not very common these days!
The store looks absolutely stunning if I’m honest, I’m not sure if I’d have stuck out the wait I probably would have gone for coffee instead! But I do love that they had lots of every item on the tables, it makes it so much easier in a busy place if you can go to the station and still find what you’re looking for! Thanks for sharing x
Kayleigh Zara ❄️✨ http://www.kayleighzaraa.com
I’m just glad the weather was good, it would’ve been so much harder to wait in the heat! And I agree, it’s such a clever idea xx
This just makes me want to visit Glossier more! I made my first order with them last month and have loved everything I bought. I haven’t stopped using balm dot com!
Same here, the coconut one is my absolute fave!
This would be a must if I ever went back to New York, sounds worth it for the shopping experience alone. Would love to see a review of what you got!
You should definitely add it to your list! And thank you very much for your comment, I will make sure to post a review! xx
oh this would definitely be a must for me if I go back to NYC. absolute interior goals!!! x
Couldn’t agree more!
I’ve never tried Glossier, but I might have to put it on the list of things to do and see when I finally make my way to America again! It sounds like such a luxury shopping experience, I’d probably have to visit for that alone. The ribbed tops with the products on are a very clever idea too, I’ve never seen anything displayed like that before.
Ahhh I’m gutted I didn’t go now whilst I was in New York after reading your post – the store looks amazing! It’s a shame they don’t take cash though 🙁
You should definitely go next time you’re in New York, Kate! And it really is a shame – I understand it helps speed up the entire process, but I feel like I have more control over how much I spend when I use cash!
It’s definitely worth visiting for the experience alone, although I would highly recommend you to try some of their products, Bella! xx