Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Glossier CEO Discusses Beauty Industry, Career Path

Glossier CEO Kyle Leahy (CAS ’05) spoke with students about her vision for Glossier, her experience working in the beauty industry and her path from Georgetown University to her current role. 

The McDonough School of Business hosted the Feb. 3 event in collaboration with the Georgetown Retail and Luxury Association (GRLA), a student-run organization committed to educating students about the retail industry and connecting them with professional opportunities in luxury and retail. The event focused on Leahy’s long-term expectations for Glossier, a community-driven beauty brand built around connecting emotionally with its consumers, and her experience as a student at Georgetown. 

Leahy said she spent her undergraduate years studying both humanities and STEM. 

“I was an English and mathematics major, though that was probably a sign that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,” Leahy told The Hoya. “But it was also the start of a thread that’s been throughout my career, which is balancing the arts and sciences.”

As an undergraduate student, Leahy had an interest in consulting, but began feeling an urge to balance both her artistic and analytical sides by working in a more creative industry. This desire brought her to Harvard Business School, and later, Nike.

“Nike really opened my eyes to the power of consumer brands,” Leahy said. “Seeing a transcendent brand that has dominated its industry on such an emotional and resonant level yet continues to develop new products and marketing strategies was just eye-opening to me.”

This focus on brand power led her to join Glossier as chief commercial officer before moving up to CEO. 

“I genuinely believe that in 2030, Glossier will be the next household name of beauty, and when we look forward decades, Glossier will have served a transformational role in the beauty industry,” Leahy said. “We are built on the belief that someone’s story is the most powerful way to create human connection. We tell these stories to give a voice to people who use our products.”

Glossier | Glossier CEO Kyle Leahy (CAS ’05) spoke at a Feb. 3 event about how her time at Georgetown led her to the beauty industry and her expectations for Glossier in the future.

Leahy said the current beauty industry is built to make people believe they must look a certain way. Glossier’s goal is instead to create an environment where everyone is comfortable with how they look, according to Leahy.

“Beauty, ultimately, is a feeling, and Glossier taps into that in such a resonant, emotional way,” Leahy said. “You can be part of a community, be part of something bigger than yourself, in the way that you’re experiencing with our brand. What excites us the most is that as a brand, we are on a mission to change how the world sees beauty.”

Glossier’s motto, “Skin First. Makeup Second,” represents the company’s fundamental ethos to make everyone feel like the best version of themselves, according to Leahy.

Another thing that sets Glossier apart is the curation of its retail stories to their respective locations, something Leahy said is important for bringing a company’s brand to life within a specific community.

“We’re continuing to lean into our retail experience because it’s the place where we can bring our brand and the community aspect to life,” Leahy said. “Each of our stores is designed with the lens of ‘how do we inspire the Glossier brand but localize it to where we are?’”

Leahy said that in the next five years, she believes Glossier will not only be a leader in the beauty industry but also a major player in changing the industry’s values.  

“When we look out into the future, I believe this will be the next household name of beauty that will really serve all aspects of different consumers around the world,” Leahy said. “I hope that we can be a leader in terms of changing the paradigm of how the beauty industry is perceived. I think instead of being a feeling about a superficial way you should look, it’s about how we make people feel.”

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    brightsidebeauty.comFeb 10, 2023 at 4:41 am

    This is an inspiring article about Kyle Leahy’s journey to becoming CEO of Glossier. It’s amazing how she has been able to make Glossier stand out from other beauty brands with her focus on community and emotional connection. I’m curious to see where Glossier will be in the next five years – what do you think it will look like?