Glossier's Return to Physical Retail

a display in a room

As the beauty category continues to evolve and grow outside of its typical bounds controlled by retailers such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty, as well as mass merchants and drugstores, brands that were once deemed “challenger” brands have become household names. And while cosmetics and personal care have particularly seen growth online, brands and retailers are also increasingly tapping into in-store experiences, both permanent and temporary, to connect with new shoppers.

A brand once considered a "challenger," is Glossier. In 2021, the digital native brand made its re-entry into the physical retail space with the opening of three new and permanent stores in Los Angeles, Seattle (exterior pictured) and London, after shuttering all its physical stores in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The aesthetically pleasing brand leverages an immersive design and what it calls a “people-centric approach” to beauty discovery at its stores, which includes minimal merchandising, illuminated lighting and shelving in a spacious and industrial-style environment that incorporates its signature light pink hues throughout. Table displays, both encased and open, merchandise the brand’s cosmetics, skincare and brand merchandise, while four-sided, try-on centers offer illuminated mirrors and sinks to apply and reapply various products. 

With each varying slightly, most stores share oversized signage, large props, pillars, seating areas and plenty of unique, funky mirrors designed by the beauty brand’s in-house team. Glossier’s Los Angeles location, however, is L-shaped with massive letters spelling out the brand name on the storefront. The store stretches along Melrose Avenue and West Knoll Drive in West Hollywood, just a few blocks from Glossier’s former L.A. store that closed the year prior. 

A can’t-miss element of the Seattle store includes a unique, forest-inspired boulder art installment outfitted in fake moss, mushrooms, flowers and butterflies.