Cherlyn Russo, Creative Lead of Art Direction
A lot goes on in the Creative Lab at Glossier HQ. It’s where we gather as a team to concept campaigns, build moodboards, and design every sticker, product package, and offline experience that reaches our community. Much of our creativity comes from the simple act of being together—collaborating, being in conversation, sharing inspiration. We’re a social team, in many ways a family, and we thrive off that camaraderie, so to completely pivot to working from home in the wake of COVID-19 felt like a jolt. Suddenly we were without our space, our materials, our colleagues, and required to navigate “business as usual” in an unusual time.
So when the Zoom meeting came through to talk about the upcoming Hand Cream launch, we knew we had to start from scratch and throw out our earlier ideas because of the nature of the product. It’s for hands. Hands that touch, hold, carry, caress. All the things we were being told to avoid.
Hand Cream is a product that has long been requested by our community and that, similar to Balm Dotcom, inspires sharing and connection. Hands by their very nature are a symbol of connection; so in order to deliver on our concept, we would have to make space for a new process. This required a level of agility and planning that pushed us out of our comfort zone in a newly remote world.
There was no option to go on set to work with a full production team and we had to question how a campaign would look if it was made fully from home. We wanted to make things we didn't think were possible with the constraints we were under: high-quality photos and videos, a custom augmented reality Instagram filter. From there, we started thinking about what kind of stories felt right for the moment, who inspired us, and what we could do to bring joy and comfort to our community.
We began reaching out to friends, family, collaborators, and artists who we admire, asking them to create content centered on how they’re finding comfort and taking care of themselves and others during this time. We worked collaboratively with everyone, but ultimately gave each individual the creative freedom to make what they wanted. The approach felt somewhat of a gamble for the campaign (especially with no back up plan), but it also felt right and we knew it would be critical in order to create something truly authentic. The hope was that no matter how varied the content—in aesthetic or perspective—there would be a common thread of shared experience that brought it all together.
What we received was honest and pure. Our friend Walda Laurenceua, an acupuncturist, demonstrated a breathing exercise to manage stress; Artist Christine Sun Kim shared a moment with her daughter and taught us how to say Glossier in ASL; Hannah and Marian Cheng, the sisters behind Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings, shared how they were providing meals for healthcare workers; photographer Diane Russo filmed intimate moments of her days at home and how her hands kept busy with gardening and cooking; Mitch Ryan, a photographer and videographer we’ve partnered with for years, shared a voicemail from his mom. Mitch’s message was personal, intimate and familiar and we decided to make a montage film that paid homage to everyone’s experiences using the audio from the voicemail as the narration.
People-first storytelling has been core to Glossier since Day 1, but something about this campaign feels especially personal and powerful. The beauty is that somehow, in the face of so much unexpected circumstance, we were able to create one of our most quintessentially Glossier campaigns to date. It was honest and intimate and put our community front and center. We couldn’t be prouder of the outcome, or more grateful to our talented and thoughtful collaborators for helping us make Hand Cream a little more Glossier.