How the Teen Vogue 'super intern' on The Hills became the CEO of a billion-dollar beauty company

  • Emily Weiss is the CEO of Glossier, an online beauty company that has found success in selling makeup directly to customers through Instagram, where it has more than 2.1 million followers.
  • In March, the company raised an additional $US100 million in a funding r ound that valued the company at $US1.2 billion.
  • Weiss, who started out as a Teen Vogue intern and briefly appeared in US TV show The Hills, launched the company in 2014, off the back of a successful blog that she launched in 2010.

Emily Weiss is the brains behind social media’s favourite beauty brand, Glossier.

Weiss, who started out as an intern at Teen Vogue and even made an appearance in the US TV show, The Hills, alongside Lauren Conrad in 2007, has built up a billion-dollar business in five short years.

She started the company in 2014 after running a well-known blog, Into The Gloss, for four years and is often credited for turning traditional beauty retail on its head by cracking the code for selling makeup directly to consumers through Instagram, where the brand has more than 2.1 million followers.

Here’s how she built up the company from scratch:

Weiss moved to New York at 18 to study at New York University, majoring in studio art. It was at this point that she made her first foray into the fashion and beauty realm by taking up a three-day-a-week internship at Teen Vogue during her studies.

Source: Fashionista

It was during this time that Weiss was featured in the US TV show The Hills, where she worked alongside Lauren Conrad at Teen Vogue.

MTVLauren Conrad.

She was referred to as the “Super Intern” at Teen Vogue in the series.

After graduating in 2007, Weiss worked briefly for W magazine before moving to Vogue, where she worked as a fashion assistant.

Getty/Patrick McMullanWeiss at an event in New York in September 2007.

Source: Fashionista

While working as a fashion assistant, Weiss set up her beauty blog, Into The Gloss, spotting a gap in the market for beauty product coverage.

Getty/Patrick McMullan

“I was surrounded by so much magic … All these models and makeup [artists],” she said in an interview with Fashionista in 2015.

“That was the inspiration for Into the Gloss, wanting to know more about these women who were so cool and interesting for all these different reasons.”

Weiss would candidly interview celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Karlie Kloss about their beauty regimens.

Getty/Patrick McMullan

Source: Business Insider

The blog quickly gained a following among beauty enthusiasts who commented on posts to share their experiences with various products and make suggestions to other readers.

Instagram/Into The Gloss

Source: Business Insider

Weiss decided to leave her job to focus on the blog full-time. She asked Nick Axelrod, a friend who had also worked in publishing, to become the editorial director.

Getty/Jennifer GraylockWeiss is photographed with Axelrod (right) in New York in 2013.

Source: Business of Fashion

Weiss re-launched the website and upped the number of posts; overnight traffic to the site tripled.

Getty/Charles EshelmanWeiss in 2012.

Source: Business of Fashion

Product feedback on the blog laid the foundation for what was to come. Weiss was now armed with a wealth of information to create products that were directly tied to what readers wanted.

Getty/Lars Niki

In 2013, the company raised $US2 million in venture capital funding. At the time, Weiss said the funding would be put toward eight to 10 new hires across editorial, tech, and design.

A year later, Glossier was born.


Weiss teased the new brand on Instagram about four weeks before launch. Within the first week of selling the new products, she had more than 18,000 followers.

Getty/Paul Morigi

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Instagram influencers and celebrities spread the message, posting photos of themselves in Glossier swag. Glossier launched with four products: a facial mist, moisturizer, skin tint, and balm. These products were intended to give off a “no-makeup” look.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Source: Karlie Kloss Instagram

A month after launching, Glossier raised an additional $US8.4 million in venture capital funding.

A key part of Glossier’s success has been Weiss’ commitment to its brand identity.


“Brand is really, really important. It’s kind of everything,” she told Business Insider in 2016.

Glossier has always been known for its signature pink hue, playful marketing voice, and images of diverse women with minimal makeup.

But the most defining part of its business model is its customer feedback system.

GlossierThe customer feedback section is listed below each product on the site.

The product team depends on the user community and feedback to innovate and iterate.

Between 2016 and 2018, the company raised $US76 million in two rounds of funding and opened two stores: a showroom in New York (which transitioned into a permanent flagship store) and a store in Los Angeles.

Business Insider/Jessica TylerGlossier’s flagship store in New York.

Source: Crunchbase

Read more:
Glossier, the wildly popular startup that’s raised $US86 million in its mission to revolutionise makeup and skin-care, just opened its first flagship store. Here’s what it’s like to shop there.

The company told Business Insider that it surpassed $US100 million in annual revenue in 2018, doubling its 2017 numbers. It also acquired a million new customers that year.

Business Insider/Jessica TylerGlossier’s flagship store in New York.

In 2018, the brand sold one Boy Brow every 32 seconds, it said.

In March 2019, Glossier launched a new colour makeup brand, Glossier Play, which was two years in the making.


Two weeks later, the company was valued at $US1.2 billion after receiving $US100 million in funding.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Markets Insider

It plans to open five pop-up locations in 2019.


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