A collective of former Glossier retail employees, known at the company as “editors,” is calling out management for racism and an approach that they say “cultivated a commitment to customer satisfaction that undermined workers’ wellbeing.”
In a series of Instagram posts from the collective “Outta The Gloss,” the group of unnamed employees from Glossier’s Flagship store describe instances of racism experienced by editors of color working in the store, including being touched by customers or disparaged as “illegals” by a woman who was repeatedly allowed to enter the store. They write that HR was a “dead-end resource” and were often told to simply “take a few minutes” after these incidents. The editors, who say they are majority LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC, also say they had to work in a showroom with non-functioning air conditioning during the summer, once worked alongside construction in the space, and that the company violated occupation limits in its glamorous New York City penthouse space.
In addition to pay discrepancies and an inability to move up to management positions, Outta The Gloss says that after editors of color raised concerns about the unflattering undertones of complexion products for darker skin tones, those who critiqued them received negative performance reviews. The group also outlined a very specific list of demands for the company including public accountability among executives, anti-racism training for management, a new performance review system, and better in-store security.
The letter comes nearly a week after Glossier laid off all of their retail employees after deciding not to reopen its three stores for the remainder of 2020 and potentially longer. The letter from Outta The Gloss, created and drafted before the layoffs, punctures the delicate, utopian image constructed by Glossier and CEO and founder Emily Weiss. Glossier’s in-store experience was integral to the brand’s success, where helpful, fresh-faced employees in pink boiler suits guide customers through the company’s highly Instagrammable stores.
In response to the letter, Weiss posted a blog to the company’s website writing that employees came forward with many of these complaints in mid-June. Weiss writes that she then shared a plan in July to include on-site HR representatives at stores, bias training for managers, and redesigned performance reviews, with no timeline for as to when these new policies would be implemented. “In a response to Weiss’s post Outta The Gloss wrote that the email was “performative and insufficient when it was received in July and its emptiness prompted the letter we published.” Weiss’s plans never would be put into action considering roughly a month later she laid off every retail employee.