When we asked Emily Weiss about her favorite place in New York, we have to admit we were a little surprised by her response: the Glossier offices (designed by Brad Sherman of B. Sherman Workshop). More specifically, she named the product room, where the brand’s beloved creations, like Balm Dotcom and Boy Brow, are conceived and tested to perfection. But then you step inside the airy, loft-like space, complete with white painted brick walls, communal lounging areas, and giant mood boards, and suddenly it all makes sense.
The atmosphere is every bit as cool and inviting as the brand itself. To learn more, we sat down with Weiss in the Naomi Campbell room (more on that in a few) to talk design inspiration, what it takes to be a great leader, and her other NYC staples. Scroll below for a peek at the offices and our exclusive interview.
MYDOMAINE: We were initially surprised when you told us your favorite place in all of NYC is the Glossier office, but we totally get it now. The space is beautiful! What were you hoping to achieve aesthetically here.
EMILY WEISS: We’re a really mood board–driven company. The original Glossier really was born from this mood board in my apartment of images that I’ve been collecting for years. Every time we come up with a new product we create a whole world around that product. We create a mood board at the very inception of when we’re starting to work on a product to really think about who is the girl, what are the different textures, and this world, is it about water in Iceland, or is it about a beach in Tulum?
And so, we’re always making mood boards. We like to be a really collaborative company and we’re very visually driven and we love photography. We are born out of an editorial site, Into The Gloss, and everyone here gets inspired by building creative spaces that are very out in the open. So that’s why we have a whole wall that’s just pull up a stool and tuck in and work on everything from packaging design to layout design for our ad campaigns to even shoots that we do down here. We have a great communal space here with sofas, so everyone can come hang out.
The thinking behind the design of this area is making as many creative spaces as possible in a company.
MD: We couldn’t help but notice the room we’re in is named Naomi Campbell. Can you tell us the story behind that?
EW: Yes! All of the conference rooms are not only named after a powerful woman who inspires us, but also have their own Google calendar so we can reserve them. It’s great, because you’ll say, “I’ll meet you in Beyoncé at 2pm.” We have Kate Moss, Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, and Madonna.
MD: Glossier now occupies three floors in the building. Do you find it challenging having a multilevel office?
EW: We jog up and down the second and third floors all day long, so some meetings are down here, some are upstairs. I don’t love to sit at my desk, and I don’t believe sitting at your desk means you are working harder. I like to tell people to get up, move around, go sit at a sofa with someone, go out for a walk if you want to have a meeting.
MD: Can you tell us about any new products you are working on?
EW: We’re a really new company, we launched in October 2014 with the Phase 1 Set, so 2015 for us was really just about ironing out who we are and what we stand for. I think we’ve always been pretty clear on those things, but as we’ve grown so quickly as a company to 30 plus people, it’s been really important for us to solidify our foundation, which is appropriate given that we’re creating foundational, core-essential products for women. We have an incredible holiday product we just launched now, the Mask Duo Set ($38), and I don’t usually play favorites, but this is my favorite thing we’ve ever made.
It’s just so cool to open, and as a gift I can’t even imagine how excited someone would be to open that. It just puts a smile on your face. Next year, we have so many products coming out. We have an incredible product development team and I’ve been using these products and working on them with our team for a year, so to know that they are just around the corner is really exciting.
MD: What made you want to do a gift set for the holidays?
EW: A few things: one, the two face masks that we make, which are called the Mega Greens Galaxy Mask ($22) and the Moisturizing Moon Mask ($22), we launched in February and they flew off the virtual shelves and hundreds of people have now reordered the same mask. Knowing that people already love these masks, we were just thinking how much fun it would be to make individual use sizes that are great to just hand to a friend or pop in a travel bag if you’re going away for the weekend. It was really inspired as well by getting a chocolate box.
Initially, I was inspired by Russell Stover chocolate.
MD: You’re an inspiration to so many young women out there. Who have been some of your biggest mentors?
EW: It’s interesting, I have several mentors who I’m close to, and then I consider a ton of different entrepreneurs mentors who are doing interesting things in related spaces. I love what Neil Blumenthal and the guys at Warby Parker are doing. Jeff Raider at Harry’s—I think what Harry’s is doing is really interesting. I’m constantly inspired and blown away by Sophia Amoruso at Nasty Gal. And then personally, I’ve been really lucky to have a great mentor and friend in Eva Chen for six years.
MD: What is your number one career tip?
EW: First of all, you could ask me this tomorrow and I would say something else. So my number one career tip today is wait to send an email, which is counterintuitive, because the other piece of advice I just heard is only read email when you can respond, because otherwise you have to read it twice. I need to take that advice, because I read emails and don’t respond for like a week. I’m terrible at email. That being said, if you have a potentially loaded email that you need to send or something that is emotionally charged, just wait like six hours or overnight, save it in your drafts, and then re-read it and see if you still feel the same way.
MD: Great advice!EW: Think of how immediate we all are. We are immediately refreshing Instagram; we’re immediately liking things. And think about how many mistakes you make on Instagram—like “liking” that person’s image but you didn’t mean to. I think we are so trigger happy that it’s important to have a little bit of patience and reflection.
MD: What do you think defines an excellent leader?
EW: Being able to be extremely macro and extremely micro simultaneously. You are the one, as a leader, who needs to be thinking of what you need to be doing in the future while working with your team to do what you need to do in the present. What goes with that too is being able to prioritize very well, being able to intuitively understand what is important, and having the strength to acknowledge and the discipline to say what is not immediately important. In terms of leadership, what I just said is important to do, because it ends up protecting your team.
You can send people off on a wild goose chase if you’re not focused. You need focus as a leader in order for your team to do their best work.
MD: Can you tell us about some of your other favorite NYC spots?
For the best coffee or tea in town: My two favorite places to go get a bite and a coffee are Chalait and Dimes. [Chalait] is a place in the West Village that specializes in matcha and it reminds me a lot of Venice Beach. It’s very L.A., actually. It’s a great place to meet friends or go for brunch and saddle up to the bar and get like an avocado toast. I love Dimes in the East Village. It’s owned by this amazing woman named Sabrina De Sousa who just has the most incredible taste. Dimes is the inspiration for half of this office—it’s so cool.
For some retail therapy: I just moved into a new apartment, so I’ve been decorating that and going to a lot of websites. I love this girl who sells rugs called Frances Loom. She’s based in Venice Beach and ships rugs anywhere, but every Thursday morning at 8 a.m. she uploads a new batch of rugs that she has curated and gotten in. They are very reasonably priced. I like shopping online for furniture right now.
For a delicious meal: For fancy, like super-fancy and special occasion, Shuko. It was just rated Zagot’s number one rated restaurant in New York City. And for just like drinks and to hang out, I’ll go to Soho House, the Bowery Hotel, or Sant Ambroeus on Lafeyette Street.
For some me time: My high-end answer is the Shibui Spa in the Greenwich Hotel. It’s very Japanese, and they do an amazing soak and massage and they also have an indoor pool downstairs. For a more reasonable option, I’m a big fan of Ten Over Ten. They do a great manicure pedicure and have several locations. Or even Iris Nails, which is on University Place. They do such a great job for a nail chain.
For an off-site meeting: We just had one and it was freaking amazing! The new Standard East Village built this amazing meeting room called The Perch, and it has a built-in back patio and all sound and equipment plus great food and catering, and we had a meeting with our 10 executives here at Glossier there, and they were incredibly accommodating and it was a very inspiring space.