Outdoor Voices and Glossier are cleaning up by making fashion inclusive – TechCrunch
The foundersÂ of Glossier and Outdoor Voices, Emily Weiss and Tyler Haney, respectively, spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York today about how theyâre taking a bite out ofÂ the massive beauty and apparel industries. Key to both startupsâ success? A digital-first, and friendly, approach toÂ everything from salesÂ to product development.
On Glossierâs part, appealing to millennialsÂ meant launching the brand on an Instagram account in 2014, not with a formal website orÂ e-commerce app. As the company grows its brand and product assortment, that alsoÂ means taking in thousands of customer and follower recommendations beforeÂ developingÂ new cosmetics or skin careÂ items.
When it comes to marketing, Weiss said that GlossierÂ has overturned some fashion standards. âEven though I come from a fashion editorial background, at Glossier Iâm just a girl sharing her opinions about this product or that one. We hire people who are just sharing what they know and like. There is nobody in a showroom telling you what you have to use or do for your skin,â the CEOÂ said.
She also pointed out that Glossierâs social accounts feature customers who talk or write about their full beauty routine, including products that arenât made by Glossier. âTraditional beauty companiesÂ had been reluctant to acknowledge that customers shop across different brands.
Glossier also keeps its catalog pared down, withÂ about 20 products available at a time, each meant to be âmodern essentials that are universally flattering.â Thatâs a split from the overwhelming number of products consumers see in a mainstream store or site like Sephora or Ulta.
Outdoor VoicesÂ similarly keeps its catalog pared down to certain âKitsâ with items recommended for different activities. The company also reverses course for marketing its athletic wear. Tyler Haney said she views her brand as âa best friendâ to people who enjoy movement for recreation and not for competition.
Outdoor VoicesÂ encouragesÂ customers to gather at their stores, and joinÂ communityÂ running clubs or low-keyÂ dog-walking clubs.Â âItâs about being human not super human,â Haney said. âWe want people to think of us as a hiking buddy who brought the snacks.â
Both brands are expanding their brick-and-mortar operations in the U.S. and manufacturing operations around the world to meet increasing consumer demand for their products.
Glossier is on the brink of international expansion to Canada, this summer, and the U.K. to establish a European beachhead office after that, Weiss said. And Outdoor Voices is going to open shops in Los Angeles and San Francisco next, Haney revealed. âWeâre unlocking the west coast.â
The startups have both raised fundingÂ from institutional venture firms, and share an investor in Forerunner Venturesâ Kirsten Green. TechCrunchâs Katie Roof asked the CEOs what helped them convinceÂ male-dominated venture firms to invest in companies mostly serving women, also run by women.
Haney said, âWe took investors on a walk around the block toÂ spark a bond and create a conversation.â The gimmick helped demonstrate her passion and fresh point of view about active wear and fitness,Â that for a huge number of potential customers, itâs not about crossing a finish line first but just having fun and feeling good.
Weiss said, âBeauty isÂ not traditionally a VC kind of business. But itâs a quarter-of-a-trillion dollar market globally, and ripe for disruption. The data speaks for itself. . .Â But you also wouldnât believe how excited people get when you put a bag of products on the table, men and women.â
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