Every Customer's an Influencer: Glossier and Outdoor Voices | Disrupt NY 2017 | Summary and Q&A

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May 15, 2017
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Every Customer's an Influencer: Glossier and Outdoor Voices | Disrupt NY 2017

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Summary

In this video, the founders and CEOs of Outdoor Voices and Glossier discuss how they have been able to create successful brands in competitive industries. They both focus on crafting brands that are feminine yet down-to-earth and have developed loyal followings. They have utilized various strategies, such as sponsoring activities and using social media, to build their brands. Both companies target women primarily but also have men's clothing. They value quality at an affordable price and have been able to raise venture capital despite being in male-dominated industries. They have faced challenges such as forecasting demand and scaling their brands while maintaining their unique voice. They have received acquisition offers but are currently focused on building their brands and have no plans to go public.

Questions & Answers

Q: How have the founders been able to craft an image for their brands that have developed loyal followings?

They both focus on creating brands that celebrate their respective industries (activewear and beauty) in a way that is not intimidating or competitive. Outdoor Voices wanted to approach activity with moderation, ease, humor, and delight, rather than focusing on performance and competition. Glossier wanted to create a beauty brand that celebrates real life and personal style and empowers women to be their own beauty experts.

Q: How did Glossier utilize their blog to build a following?

Glossier's founder, with an editorial background, created a modern beauty brand that would celebrate beauty in real life. They launched Glossier on Instagram before having a website or a brand. They built the brand in real time through the @glossier Instagram account, which gained a lot of attention and created a fan base before the official launch. They have since seen significant growth on Instagram and have used it to mimic and lead the witness in terms of women sharing their beauty routines.

Q: How has Outdoor Voices used offline events and sponsorships to spread the word about their brand?

Outdoor Voices is a digital first company but they focus on driving engagement offline and then amplifying through social and digital channels. They have sponsored recreational activities that align with their brand's values and have focused on locations and events where their target audience can be found. They have seen success with this strategy and have been able to amplify their brand through platforms like Instagram.

Q: How has Glossier used Instagram to advance their brand?

Beauty is a popular category on social media, particularly on YouTube. Glossier launched on Instagram before they had a website or a brand. They focused on building their brand on Instagram and by the time they officially launched, they had a fan base that was excited about the brand. To date, they have seen significant growth in terms of new followers on Instagram and have a high engagement rate. They have found success in mimicking and leading the witness, encouraging women to share their beauty routines and showcasing the fact that customers shop across different beauty brands.

Q: How would the founders define their target demographics for their brands?

Glossier's target demographic is not defined by a specific age group, although they have a large millennial following. Their brand is for any woman who aspires to be proud of who she is every day and values beauty as an element of personal style. Outdoor Voices sees activity as a just and shapeless, so their target demographic is anyone who taps into the recreational mindset and engages in activities for the joy and feeling of well-being rather than competition.

Q: How have celebrities played a role in expanding the businesses of both glossier and Outdoor Voices?

Both Glossier and Outdoor Voices have had celebrities support their brands. Lena Dunham and Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, are fans of their respective brands. These celebrities have helped attract attention to the brands, and in some cases, have become investors. By having celebrities associated with their brands, both Glossier and Outdoor Voices have been able to expand their reach and gain credibility within their industries.

Q: How have Glossier and Outdoor Voices been able to build quality products at an affordable price?

Outdoor Voices focuses on creating products that prioritize comfort and movement, which guides their product development framework. They have created curated collections of essentials that can be mixed and matched for various activities. They work with best-in-class partners in places like China to ensure they are able to produce high-quality products. Glossier takes a product-by-product approach and works with vendors and manufacturers who have the capabilities and expertise to create the best products in each category. They take into consideration the sourcing of materials and manufacturing processes to ensure quality.

Q: Have Glossier and Outdoor Voices faced any obstacles while running their businesses?

Glossier faced challenges with forecasting demand, as they had a high number of people on waitlists for certain products and initially had supply issues. They have since hired supply chain experts to improve forecasting. Outdoor Voices has faced challenges in scaling their brand while maintaining their unique voice. They have focused on hiring people who align with their brand values and have implemented systems and processes to preserve their brand identity.

Q: Have Glossier and Outdoor Voices received any acquisition offers?

Both Glossier and Outdoor Voices have received acquisition offers, but they did not disclose further details. However, neither company is currently interested in pursuing acquisitions as they are focused on building their brands and serving their customers.

Q: Are there any plans for Glossier and Outdoor Voices to expand internationally?

Glossier's next markets for expansion are Canada and the UK. They are building their brand as a lifestyle brand and aim to have multiple touchpoints throughout the day with their customers. Outdoor Voices is focused on becoming the next great activewear brand and aims to be the next Nike. They have plans to expand to the west coast of the US, specifically LA and SF, and continue to grow their product offerings.

Takeaways

Both Glossier and Outdoor Voices have been able to create successful brands in competitive industries by focusing on unique aspects and catering to their target audience. They have utilized social media, offline events, and sponsorships to build their brand and engage their customers. Both companies value quality and affordability, and have been able to raise venture capital despite being in male-dominated industries. They have faced challenges in scaling their brands while maintaining their unique voice, but are focused on building their brands and have no immediate plans for acquisitions or going public. They both have plans for international expansion and continue to innovate and meet the needs of their customers.

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