Glossier, a millennial beauty brand that shot to instant success since its creation in 2014, has not missed the far-flung corners of Morningside Heights. Aside from the widespread popularity that the “skin first, makeup second” company has garnered among Columbia students, there is also a small but substantial number of students who have gone from loyal customers to direct representatives and showroom editors for the beauty line.
Jadie Stilwell, BC ’20, and Jamie Grimstad, CC ’19, are two of the 500 members in the brand’s representative program. (Glossier did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
“Think of a Glossier rep as a sort of freelance content creator for the brand,” Grimstad said. “As a rep, I am really given free reign to create visuals, post on Instagram, and promote new products as frequently or as little as I want.”
An art history major experienced in freelance content creation and consulting for brands, Grimstad was asked by Glossier to come on board as part of their “no-marketing marketing” strategy that, under founder Emily Weiss, helped distinguish the brand’s vision from that of other mainstream beauty brands.
As a Glossier representative, Commission is based on sales using the rep’s discount link, usually provided on Instagram profiles. Still, Columbia Glossier reps said the company doesn’t enforce any quotas on them.
“It’s very dependent on how dedicated and comfortable the rep is,” Stilwell said.
Jamie Grimstad’s Glossier rep page.
As Glossier has grown, it has become ubiquitous for its millennial pink color scheme and for the “cool girl” image that the brand promotes on social media (girls with clear, glowing skin yet minimal makeup, who look effortlessly flawless). It would, then, seem to follow that the brand’s reps must also embody this archetypal “Glossier girl.”
With 24,700 followers on Instagram, Grimstad would appear to fit this mold—her posts are curated, flawless, and unmistakably Glossier, and she’s been an avid follower of the brand since its launch.
But in speaking with the reps, it’s clear that, rather than being forced into an archetype, being a Glossier rep just requires a huge passion for the brand and a level of comfort in one’s own skin.
“There is certainly a perceived level of commitment to being confident and comfortable [in] one’s own skin that Glossier promotes,” Stilwell admitted. Compared to Grimstad, her Instagram followers stand at around 1,200, and she is not involved with any other brand.
“I think Barnard women have always had a leg up on that mindset,” Stilwell said. “There’s really no intelligent comparison between a beauty company and an academic institution that can be easily made in a few sentences, but I will say this: You’re never surrounded by so many women that you are at once obsessed with, afraid of, and wholly inspired by as you are in a Barnard seminar or a Glossier showroom.”
An almost-exclusive user of Glossier products, Stilwell sent the brand an email after her friends told her she either needed to “shut up” about it or get paid for the advertising.
“I definitely get asked skin care questions a lot more often,” said Stilwell, who first became a rep this past June. “And I’m crowding my suite’s shower and bathroom cabinet with Glossier products.”
And then there are the students at Columbia who work as showroom editors for the Glossier showroom, located on Soho’s Lafayette Street. The first was Emily Leona Rose, GS ’20, followed by others like Meghan Takahashi, GS ’19, Eryn Ammons, CC ’18, and Evan de Lara, CC ’19.
As showroom editors, their job is not unlike that of sales assistants. One distinct difference, however, is that Glossier has shaped the editor’s role around the idea that they are the customer’s best friend.
“You are a friend that gives the best advice on how, when, and why to use Glossier products,” the job application states. But such descriptions are what help foster the brand’s ultimate goal of cultivating a strong overall offline customer experience, according to showroom editors.
De Lara, a showroom editor, started working for the brand this past summer and is continuing in the job part-time this semester. Though juggling between school and her job at Glossier can be difficult, the experience has been wholly positive for de Lara.
“I think this job is different for me because the girls I work with are my good friends, and I really enjoy being around them, so it always feels like I’m going to hang out,” de Lara said.
Will the students continue to work with Glossier in the future? For all three girls, the answer is a resounding yes.
“It has been great to almost foster a mini Glossier community around campus—something that I plan on continuing to do in my next two years as a student here,” Grimstad said.