Glossier is temporarily closing all its retail locations as the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread across the US.
In a letter to customers on Friday, founder and CEO Emily Weiss wrote about the “difficult decision” to close its stores in New York, London, and Atlanta in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Glossier will also delay the opening of its Arizona store, which was slated for Wednesday.
“This is a tough call for many reasons,” Weiss wrote. “In our New York City flagship alone, 2,000 people gather daily from around the world, often lining up down the block to connect with Glossier and with one another.”
Weiss wrote that all Glossier employees will be compensated for lost shifts during the temporary two-week closure. Here is what she had to say:
To our customers and community locally and globally:
We’ve made the difficult decision to close all our current permanent and temporary retail locations (New York, Los Angeles, London, and Atlanta) for at least the next two weeks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We will also delay the opening of Glossier Arizona, which was scheduled for next Wednesday. This is obviously a fluid situation, so we’ll be monitoring and adjusting our plans and timeline accordingly.
This is a tough call for many reasons. In our New York City flagship alone, 2,000 people gather daily from around the world, often lining up down the block to connect with Glossier and with one another. Our amazing offline editors are not just employees—they are the living embodiment of our brand and ethos, and hosts of sorts. So we’ll be compensating them for their scheduled time throughout our planned two weeks of closure. From a company perspective, by closing our stores, we’ll sacrifice some near-term business goals, but we’re prepared to put public health ahead of our bottom line.
In the Atlantic’s March 10th piece, “Cancel Everything,” on the importance of social distancing during this pandemic, Yascha Mounk wrote, “…anyone in a position of power or authority, instead of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, should ask people to stay away from public places, cancel big gatherings, and restrict most forms of nonessential travel.”
As a first-time CEO running a 5-year-old startup through its first global crisis, I read that Atlantic piece from bed last night with a heavy heart (“social distancing” is basically the opposite of our mission), and reconsidered my original position of “let’s follow, not lead” on the retail front. If stores start closing, we’ll quickly follow suit. If foot traffic drops, we’ll close. Then I thought: Wait a minute, we are leaders in retail, in so many ways. Our permanent and temporary offline experiences are more of a daily community event than a traditional store. Why wouldn’t we lead here? This quickly became an easy, albeit painful, decision. Together with our community, we will always strive to create less harm and more good in the world.
So, what now? How can we all stay together and stay connected during this frightening and highly uncertain time? Can we still find ways to bring joy to people’s lives, at a time when it’s needed more than ever? Here’s what we have in mind so far:
Join us on social: Our @glossier team wakes up every day excited to keep the conversation going on Instagram and Twitter. Whether we’re giving voice through beauty or finding other ways to stay positive through this difficult time, we’re looking forward to connecting. DM us! Talk to us and others in the comments section. I’ll meet you there.
Our incredible online editors, the gTEAM, are standing by to bring that personal touch to your shopping experience on Glossier.com. Our HQ team, now 250 people, has been working hard since 2014 to create the ultimate beauty e-commerce experience.
Several years ago, we piloted a FaceTime program where anyone could schedule a 10-minute, “genius bar”-like session to talk Glossier and products. Whether it’s this or something like it, we’re going to try to use this moment to spin up new, creative ways to foster community and connection and make magic happen. Stay tuned!
To everyone reading: We’re not alarmists, we’re realists. While this may not be the right decision for every company, it’s the one where we feel we can make an impact. To fellow business owners, remember your core values during this time—this is when they matter most. To our customers and community, remember the power of adaptability. Stay present, be responsible, and try to lean into warmth and openness when you want to close off and pull down the shades. This is a time for us to remember our humanity.
Love from (virtual) Glossier HQ,