It's been a sad 24 hours for Girl Bosses everywhere: Emily Weiss has stepped down as Glossier's CEO.
Don't fret — she isn't leaving the company outright. Weiss, who founded Glossier in 2014, will sit on its board as executive chairwoman. Kyle Leahy, Glossier's chief commercial officer, replaces Weiss effective immediately.
"With this CEO evolution, I’ll be able to focus more of my time as I did in the earlier days — supporting our brilliant leaders of creative, brand, product and retail, as they take our customer experience innovation to new heights," Weiss wrote in a blog post.
Weiss was central to building the Glossier empire — a business that, at launch, offered an exciting alternative to heavy-handed, maximalist makeup best worn by the Kardashians. Given the executive's hand in shaping the brand's cool-girl, low-maintenance yet aspirational ethos, her departure marks a momentous moment in makeup history.
Despite Glossier's grip on culture circa 2016 to 2019, the brand began losing cachet amid industry-wide conversations on racism and inequality in beauty. In the summer of 2020, a collective of former Glossier employees came forward with allegations of racial discrimination and inhumane work conditions.
Combined with the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, the preponderance of competing "no-makeup makeup" brands, and Glossier's reticence to expand internationally, the allegations dealt a major blow to the company.
In August 2020, it permanently shuttered all of its brick-and-mortar stores. And in January 2022, the company laid off nearly a third of its corporate employees.
With Leahy at the helm, Glossier will stray from its direct-to-consumer model and expand distribution through wholesale partners. (Hopefully Sephora and Ulta?) The company will also re-open its stores — New York City flagship included — in addition to building new locations.
Judging from Glossier's latest campaign starring Olivia Rodrigo, its very first celebrity face, the company will also take a renewed approach to marketing.
Social media is buzzing with speculation regarding why, exactly, Weiss stepped down and what the future of Glossier looks like.
"When the direct-to-consumer model began to wane, [Emily Weiss] decided she wanted to build a digital community around beauty... a social platform like Facebook," TikToker @prettycritical said in a post reacting to the news.
"She went on to hire a bunch of people from Facebook and other big tech companies... then came the layoffs. All of these folks that had been working on this project that never came to fruition had to go because it was clearly not going to become a profitable endeavor."
As Business Insider summed up: Weiss' tech dreams derailed the company.
Others had a different take: "I think people are going to misinterpret this story and look at it as 'Emily Weiss got all this bad press'... and she's stepping down because she's bad at her job... I actually think that couldn't be further from the truth," @holisticism weighed in.
"This is a very typical move. It's very normal for people to go from being CEO to stepping down to executive chairperson."
@celebritymemoirbookclub predicted Weiss' next move. "If I have learned anything about the overall trajectory of the typical Girl Boss, this means a book is coming," she proclaimed.
With or without a memoir, Glossier's next chapter is sure to be a good read.