After many difficult months in the beauty retail business, Glossier, a billion-dollar beauty start up business, announced on 7th August 2020 that the company would be letting go of their retail employees in all three locations, New York, Los Angeles and London. Employees of all three branches have been on furlough since June as a result of the global pandemic.
Emily Weiss, Brand Founder and CEO outlined that the employees being made redundant from Glossier will receive 12 weeks of severance, health care coverage through October 2020 and wellness and mental health services needed through this difficult transition.
However, CEO Emily Weiss is openly apologizing for allegations of anti-Black, transphobia, ableism and retaliation that many retail workers of Glossier have come forward to share. In a letter published on August 13th collectively written by a number of Glossier retail employees, it highlights that the layoffs are the least of the brands concerns compared to the reputation of the internal culture of Anti-Black attitudes, transphobia, ableism and retaliation.
As CNN reports Emily Weiss apologizes and says it has been made clear that the workplace “failed to ensure that all voices are heard, and protected, within our internal community”. Throughout the weekend beginning 15th August 2020, the Instagram account collectively named Outta The Gloss founded by employees that have had difficult experiences working for the brand, gained 5.2K followers. On the platform, retail employees expanded on their experiences and poor treatment especially those from the black community.
As Nylon reports the letter said: “If this democratization is only achieved by perniciously silencing Black and Brown editors and without treating marginalized staff equitably – have they democratized beauty at all, or is it more of the same?”. This letter decided to call out the brands celebration of values of inclusion and diversity, after poor treatment of their own employees.
The letter explains in depth many situations where Glossier retail employees, known as Offline Editors, did not feel supported by HR. The incidents included the management team allowing a customer to repeatedly shop in the store even though they referred to the Latinx retail assistants as “illegals”, a customer grabbing a Black assistants face to “show off” her complexion to a friend and managers repeatedly confusing assistants of color names. In all of these incidents the retail assistants shared there was “little recourse — not even reassurance of our safety”. To add to this, the account highlights the brands product diversity stating that the popular Skin Tint only has five shades.
Emily Weiss wrote in an Instagram post “We’re so sorry that we didn’t create a workplace in which our retail employees felt supported in the most critical ways,” she continued “I am sorry we let you down.”
The collective account Outta the Gloss outlined some of the demands for the brand ranging from immediate actions to long term changes. The former retail assistants have requested for the brand to take accountability for their actions on social media as well as asking for structural changes for example anti-racism training, HR that are solely focused on retail workers and improved performance evaluations.
Outta The Gloss shared on Instagram “Glossier is in a unique position to work with former retail employees who truly want to see it be better” suggesting that they are open to helping the business improve for future employees. Emily Weiss has responded to Outta the Gloss explaining that the brand is quickly working to investigate the concerns highlighted. The business has put together a plan to build a better work environment based on feedback and recommendations throughout the situation.
The founders’ statement in order to address the retail assistants’ experience of Anti-Black culture and transphobia was seen as insufficient amongst the former employees of Glossier. As CNN reports “We thank Glossier for their apology and acknowledgment of our demands,” they continue “However, their work is not yet done — this is only their first step. Expect a full response from us soon”. As an increasing number of employees are stepping forward to share their experiences, the Outta the Gloss page has been sharing them on their highlights. As Nylon reports the page has said: “We will continue fighting for the rights of future Glossier employees and anti-racist reform until our demands are answered and are eager to receive an adequate response”.
Earlier this month, Glossier shared a public statement to its significant number of followers on Instagram addressing the allegations made via Outta the Gloss, acknowledging the brands failure to provide an inclusive working environment for its employees. The post explained an apology by saying “pain and discomfort these former colleagues experienced while working to build a brand they believed in so deeply upon arrival”. It said former retail workers “invite dialogue with anyone who has additional feedback and ideas to help move us towards our shared vision”.