Sep 12 • 41M

🎧 The Glossier Saga: Author Chat with Marisa Meltzer on Her New Book, Glossy

A millennial pink deep dive with insights on beauty, business, privilege, and the girl boss motif.

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No brand epitomizes millennial makeup or the #girlboss era quite like Glossier. The rise of their distinctly branded, “cool girl” products like Boy Brow—alongside charismatic founder Emily Weiss—was a stand-out cultural moment of the late 2010s. I still have a well-loved tube of Cloud Paint in my makeup bag, but it’s clear that the brand has changed. Weiss stepped down as CEO in 2022, and the market is crowded with new, aesthetically on-point beauty brands. But what sparked this shift?

Journalist Marisa Meltzer explores this question in her juicy new book Glossy: Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss's Glossier. It’s the result of countless interviews with Weiss and other industry insiders, with insights on beauty, business, privilege, and the girl boss motif. In this special audio post, she discusses with Alisha what it was like going deep on Weiss and Glossier. Read on for some highlights from the conversation, and listen to it all at the top of the post.–Aliza

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On choosing to write a book about Glossier

“I originally wanted to write a book broadly about the beauty industry. I was fascinated by its rise as a business power that wasn't getting as much credit, because, of course, it's targeted to women and often involved companies run by women. At that same rise of the beauty industry, there were things like the girl boss movement, change in aesthetics, rise of DTC (direct to consumer) business. All these things were happening culturally, aesthetically, financially—and beauty was at the center of it.

I always knew I wanted to talk about Glossier because I had written about them a lot and they were the most notable company of that era. And once I started writing and reporting, I realized that Glossier was the story. What we really want out of books is to feel like we're reading a tight narrative. You can lose attention, you lose track of characters, and this was a story that had a 10 or 15 year timeline from Emily Weiss founding Into The Gloss—the blog that later becomes the brand Glossier—to her eventually stepping down last year. It was a way to look at this company, but also look at this era.”

On interviewing Emily Weiss in the era of #girlboss take downs…

“My last book, This Is Big, is about Weight Watchers, but it's also about my issues with my own body and dieting. So I've certainly put myself out there, which I don't think is a prerequisite for writing about people, but it's something. And then I also just think that Glossier is a really significant company—they raised a ton of money, they are worth a ton of money, and they really did change the beauty industry.

My job as a journalist is telling compelling stories, and I've always been interested in stories of women in business. It's my life's work. So this is a story that I wanna tell and you can be uncomfortable about it happening, but sometimes you also have to look beyond maybe your own discomfort that someone is writing about your life and think this is a really important story to tell and hopefully this is the right person to do it, which I felt that I was. The short answer is that I took my job really seriously and, without wanting to sacrifice any fun, I tried to weigh that responsibility. Every day.”

Thank you, Marisa!