Month over month, there's one question we hear more than anything else across all of our channels, from the ITG comment section to our Glossier g.TEAM email (even over on Instagram): "When will Glossier start shipping internationally?" We hear you loud and clear, so let's get into it! The answer isn't so much complicated as it is long. Shipping internationally requires a lot of moving parts, and we want to make sure we get all of those parts right before we jump in feet first. A brief look at what it takes:
Find Your Host Family
Also known as a "Responsible Party." This is the company that makes sure whatever product we ship overseas meets all formulation and packaging regulations. The rules are different country by country, so brands looking to go abroad need extra assistance to make sure everything is done on the up and up. Think of the RP as a hybrid between a chemist and a lawyer—they'll compile all of our information about our formula, ingredients, packaging material, and product claims (this takes about four to six weeks), after which they'll review and approve (another three weeks); then, if they want to do their own round of product testing, they will (on top of our 12-week round of testing that checks the product in its final packaging to make sure everything's safe). This is our due diligence to make sure everything we make meets all of the ingredient regulations and packaging requirements abroad—plus the RP serves as a foreign touchpoint should any issues come up. So it's important that we took the time to find the right foreign allies—and we're happy to note that we have done this.
Say It Again In French
If a brand starts shipping to new countries, they need to include each product's statement of identity (the SOI for the Balm Dotcom is "universal skin salve"), instructions, and ingredients on the packaging in every. single. language. of the countries we'd like to ship to. To use the Balm Dotcom as an example again, that's a pretty small tube. This is why many companies will print all the additional languages on a leaflet that comes inside the product box. That solves the problem of having all the languages represented (and legible), but it also means that new packaging must be created, which has its own set of implications—how can we create something low-waste? What projects do we put on hold so that the packaging team can create these new pieces? And who is our French/German/Russian/Italian/Korean copywriter?
The Customer Is Always Awake
We're always working on creating the most seamless screen-to-door experience, which gets especially complicated when your door is in another country. No one wants to order something in mid-August and receive it in October. Plus, what happens when a customer who speaks another language has a question? Well, this actually has happened before, and our earth angel of a customer service representative, Emily Mullaney, found a way to translate our mask instructions in German—but this obviously is not scalable. In the interest of customers getting timely responses in their own language, we have to figure out an efficient way of addressing customer service on a global scale—and keep it all up to Glossier standards (which means responding to customers within 12 hours of their first email).
So where do we stand on the issue now? At this point, we're still very much in the international shipping weeds. But as we continue to work on it, we're happy to say that we have a very exciting collaboration coming up that should tide international fans over in the meantime.
On that note—tell us where you are that you can't get Glossier. Better yet, share a photo! We'd love to see where you live and hopefully get some Glossier to live with you there soon.
Photographed by Tom Newton.
For more Glossier behind the scenes, see Tom's take on shooting the #nofilterjustglossier mini campaign.