Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
At the Grammys in January, Glossier teased a new product that it would be launching. And the brand didn’t just use any random cool person to advertise this fact — they used freaking Beyoncé.
On the Instagram post announcing it, which featured a picture of the superstar demurely looking down with shimmery eyelids exposed, Glossier wrote, “Beyoncé wears ___ in ___ (coming soon)✨ ” along with other pre-existing Glossier products, and credited her long-time make-up artist Sir John. Tonight, we now know that product is Lidstar, which, according to a press release, will also debut on the eyes of Allison Janney, Greta Gerwig, Tiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Rosie Huntington Whiteley.
Lidstar is a shimmer cream eye shadow formulation, applied with a doe foot applicator out of a tube that looks the ones your sample goes into when your doctor draws blood to check your iron levels or whatever. According to Glossier’s Instagram, it will be available tomorrow in six shades. It will cost $18, or two for $30.
And the sales machine has officially been activated. While Glossier has long been considered the brand of cool girls who don’t wear much makeup, with a loyal following thanks to Into the Gloss readers, there’s actually a multi-pronged and pretty sophisticated sales strategy at work.
This launch comes on the heels of news that Glossier just closed a $52 million funding round, prompting WWD to wonder last week if an IPO was next for the brand. An expert quoted in the piece noted that the brand “seems to rely on a lot of advertising,” with a Glossier rep responding that it gets “20 percent of its traffic from advertising, and the remaining 80 percent ‘comes from owned, earned, and peer to peer referral.’”
Here’s exactly what that looks like: Most of the makeup artists who work with all of the actresses dutifully Instagrammed flat lay pictures Glossier products. Yes, the actresses they work with are all very cool and very Glossier, but those artists were likely paid to use it and announce they were using it. It’s very mainstream, old school red carpet product placement that happens frequently at awards shows with many beauty brands. Mentions of the product will surely find their way into “Get the Look” product breakdowns. Last year Glossier launched its Cloud Paint blush the very same way.
While two colorful makeup products debuting on a red carpet nods to the old way of doing things, there’s also the Glossier hive, which was also set into motion. Remember, the brand works with hundreds of reps (if not more now), who have their own sites from which to sell and recommend Glossier products, and who earn commissions from sales. The rep system seems to have grown out of earlier deals with bloggers and friend-referral programs.
On Twitter tonight, one person posted (In a tweet that’s now been deleted): “since new glossier is dropping tomorrow, tonight is a good time to put your referral code on a bunch of coupon code websites, FYI.” When the eye shadow launches tomorrow morning, reps will be hyping it to their followings, maybe even using pictures of Greta Gerwig to show how glowing you, too, can look. Her makeup artist Jenn Streicher posted, “Greta the great! I am rooting for you so hard. And how beautiful does she look tonight?? Thank you @glossier for all your support today. And that new LidStar is soooo good!! #oscars2018#ladybird #gretathegreat#workingwithglossier”
Repeat until IPO.
Updated 3/5/2018 at 12:02 am with prices.