Career Code: How Emily Weiss Turned a Brand Into a Beauty Movement
In honour of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s new book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career (£12), we’re running an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honour of the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the beauty industry.
I’ll never forget my first interaction with Emily Weiss. I had been an avid (sometimes, obsessive) reader of Into the Gloss, the beauty-dedicated website she launched in 2010, since its inception. When the first rumblings of her new brand, Glossier, hit the internet, I wrote a review of their Phase 1 set (£55). It’s a few, well-curated offerings that are gentle on the skin but effective. After the piece went live, Weiss penned a personal email—she was grateful for the review but what struck me the most was how pleased she was that the intentions behind the brand were palpable. That’s when I knew Weiss was all about doing things differently.
Authenticity is a word often thrown around in our line of work, but it’s an ethos that has been with Glossier from the beginning. In an effort to make products that live with you, Weiss has researched, listened, and created a brand that is fun, easy, and personal. It’s not about perfection, though Glossier’s Mega Greens Galaxy Pack (£15) is pretty close, but more about celebrating real girls in real life. From the wildly engaged community that Weiss looks to for advice along the way to the kitschy stickers included in every order, Glossier is making big-time waves in the beauty industry and breathing fresh air into our minds and medicine cabinets.
So, in order to understand some of the genius that comes along with creating your own cool-girl brand, killing it in the workplace, and turning a passion into a successful career, we caught up with Weiss over email. She talked about the qualities she looks for when hiring, how to get ahead, and, of course, glowing, dewy skin. Keep scrolling for some truly great insight from Emily Weiss herself.
“I’m the Founder and CEO of Glossier. What that title means changes from day to day, but I essentially work with the areas of the business that need my support and input most. One day that could be approving selects from a new campaign, the next I could be working closely with our COO discussing plans for our next fundraise. But aside from that day to day, my role is really to picture the future for Glossier and make sure the team is on track to get us there.”
“I look for hunger—a drive to prove something. Whether that’s to yourself, your mom, your second-grade teacher. I like to uncover what motivates people and make sure that’s in line with what motivates people here—encouraging women to take ownership of their beauty routines and be the authors of their own lives. I’ve never worked anywhere where the team is as passionate about the product as they are here. I also appreciate a no-BS attitude, but you have to be a nice person. A good person.”
“Travel. Usually when I’m feeling out of it, I just need to get outside of my comfort zone—to explore someplace that operates and relates to the world in a different way. It’s incredibly inspiring, for me, simply to have a conversation and learn about someone else, somewhere else, in real life, not on the internet. Everything comes back to people, and human emotion. Everyone’s just doing their best.”
“Be honest. Obviously every situation is different, and so there’s no one-size-fits-all, but I always respect when people help their employer understand their motivation for leaving, and how, if at all, the company could improve. It takes a compassionate, generous attitude to do that, which is a great trait to cultivate, if you can.”
“@basicbitchfoundation because it’s really funny and we shouldn’t take life too seriously. @jenatkinhair because her life is cray in a good way. My niece’s private account because staying close to family keeps me grounded. @lilyrose_depp to find out what’s cool with kids these days. @brrch_floral, who we work with a lot on floral design.”
Want more career advice? Allure's editor in chief, Michelle Lee, has so many great tips.