I think not.
I was really excited when I saw a text from Morgan, the Creator-in-Chief of Black Girls Who Blog, inviting me and Tyler, the third member of our present-state NYC girl gang (affectionately dubbed "The MET" by yours truly), to the Glossier Flagship. I had already stopped by the new Glossier location twice since it's opening. In the first instance, I went solely because I wanted to see the new digs; in the second instance, I offered to stop by with a co-worker and fellow Glossier patron, as evidenced by the fact that I'm wearing actual work clothes here:
Both visits left me with increased awe and decreased funds (looking at you, Boy Brow), a common theme of my visits to the physical Glossier store. This event, however, was a one-of-a-kind experience all its own, unlike my usual in-and-out approach to Glossier trips for a few reasons:
1) Live a little, try a skin tint.
Skin tint product testing was one of the main attractions for the event. Glossier recently upped the ante on its collection. Their original five-shade roster for both their skin tint and their concealer was recently updated to include 12 shades across the skin spectrum. Before I get into my expression of gratitude for the skin tint and concealer I was so kindly gifted as an attendee, let me briefly walk through my Glossier experience as a habitual "Late Majority" customer.
For those who are unfamiliar with the five categories of technology/innovation adoption, the phases are as follows: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. No, beauty products are not technology, you didn't read that wrong. I just personally believe that this particular marketing methodology is fit for purpose. You see, innovators are those that lead the trend. They see a product's success long before it hits the main stream, and in most cases, they're responsible for championing the benefits of that product to the broader consumer base. Early adopters are the wing-people of sorts. Adopting a product early means that you're among the first group of customers to test or own it. Early majority folks are the first mainstream adopters, the type to hear a hit jam once it hits the radio and not when the artist is still operating underground. And so on, and so forth, with the other categories.
I'll step off of my faux-professor soapbox for the time being (if you're interested in learning more about the topic, check out the book "Diffusion of Innovations" by Everett M. Rodgers). My point is that as a Late Majority customer, I usually adopt products long after my broader friend group and/or the influencers and bomb bloggers I follow, have fallen in love with (and maybe even moved on from) them. I was the same way with the skin tint. "Why invest in a skin tint when I don't wear foundation regularly and I don't even utilize the light-weight alternative I own, BB cream, consistently?" Well, because skin tint, I now realize, is different. Not only are the shades offered at this point a great match for my complexion, but they're also ideal for the stick-and-move makeup applier. I like the lightness of the formula, I like the size of the container, and I like that I can apply it with a brush or with my fingers in under 3 minutes flat. With this new product in my arsenal, I can see myself enjoying greater flexibility with my beauty lewk of the day for work or for weekends: no more bare face or beat face with no in-between.
2) All the black girl magic all up in the place.
Let's play a game. "Never Have I Ever" seen that many beautiful, brown girl bloggers, family members, friends, and supporters in a space like the Glossier flagship. This is not to say that Glossier doesn't have a diverse customer base. I'd argue the opposite: the company puts in work when it comes to serving all of the colors of the skin hue rainbow in their marketing campaigns, in their employee ranks, and generally speaking, in the customers that frequent their stores and buy their products.
But this was something different. Throughout the event, from the entrance to the ending, I spoke to, and/or witnessed from afar, so many amazing black women united by the brand that is #BGWB. Morgan and Mama Pitts. Friends I've gained in this big, rich town. Bloggers and brand builders that I've come to follow and admire - the boss woman behind one of my favorite platforms, @wedreaminhd, three of the four ladies of @thefourtress, the charismatic queen behind the amazing new body confidence podcast, @tntwithnd ("The Naked Truth with Nicole Dei"), and so many more women I know to be game changers in their own right. Digital community in the age of connection is powerful, but bringing online networks offline and into real, tangible spaces is such an important component of community-building.
I was inspired being surrounded by these amazing content creators and humble, humorous ladies. It was a call of action of sorts. My blog is certainly still in the fledgling stages, and as a result of my own personal and professional schedules, it can be difficult to maintain on a consistent basis. It's nice to be reminded that blogging is work, but the work is fulfilling when it's rooted in your passions. As I captured my own pictures during the event - some of the scenery and some of me and my girls - I caught myself smiling knowingly at the sight of the other attendees engaged and enjoying, but also doing some content capturing and memory making of their own. Blogging, giving the world what you think it needs and/or what you know you want to give to it: it's work, but it's worth it.
3) Exclusive mamis, make some noise.
To be honest, it was really exciting to be offered the opportunity to occupy the space on our own. I've been to plenty of private events for work, be they happy hours in private rooms of popular bars or closed-audience museum exhibit viewings, but those are generally less intimate and less intentional comparatively. In hosting us, Glossier sent a message to us and to our followers and to others witnessing our experience second-hand: your support, your dollars, and your presence matter to us as a company. Though I don't work in fashion or luxury retail, I've seen and heard a number of anecdotes from friends and colleagues that do describing the fact that so many luxury brands were not designed with "us" in mind, were never meant to adorn our limbs, decorate our homes, or live in our beauty bags. Glossier makes it clear through their partnerships and their marketing that exclusion is not the gas that drives the well-oiled machine that is their fast-growing beauty brand, inclusion is.
In the same way that Rihanna's extensive shade offerings lit a fire under the rest of the beauty industry, when companies like Glossier open their doors and cater their experiences to groups like ours, they also send a message to their industry peers. I have no doubt that Black Girls Who Blog will continue to open doors to spaces and experiences that have not previously considered the benefits of garnering the brand loyalty of black women who are intentional in the brands they patronize and advocate for.
Could this event have been just as successful had it been open to the general public without space and time set aside specifically for us to find our perfect skin tint shade, connect with other women with similar experiences and aims, and learn from makeup artist, Fatimot Isadare? I don't think so. I think there was both novelty and personalization in this approach. And more importantly, I appreciated feeling catered to specifically with every single aspect of the event, right down to the playlist that spilled black classics both new and old from the speakers, a list curated by Morgan herself.
I say all this to say: thank you to Glossier for your hospitality and your warmth and thank you to Morgan by way of Black Girls Who Blog for your vision and for your dedication to bringing black women together. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be reminded that I can, and should, wear my blogging hat with the same amount of pride and commitment that I wear my consulting and extracurricular hats. A black girl who blogs, both online and off. That's me.