Glossier is a strong believer in simple, direct communication. The company’s accessible and approachable marketing style has earned it a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking consumer brands.
That focus on communication is part of their company culture as well. Writing culture is what allowed the company to leverage and grow its core business while also scaling to support an increasingly broad set of beauty and skincare customers.
As Glossier’s Principal Site Reliability Engineer Aaron Suggs explains, improving the company’s writing culture has gone hand-in-hand with maturing Glossier’s engineering and product delivery strategy: “It’s difficult to have one without the other.”
The product development process always starts with writing. In the early stages, products are launched with a PRFAQ (Press Release and Frequently Asked Questions, a practice that originated within Amazon)—a document that lays out the future press release for this product, highlighting the major features and problems being solved. This centers the work on a customer-focused vision, instead of starting off bogged down in details.
“Things like assumptions, risks, potential challenges on the horizon, and the size of the opportunity we’re pursuing become much clearer through writing.”
From there, the engineering team documents what needs to be built and by when, outlining the departments and deliverables that will support the product launch. Business and product requirements help bring a sharper focus and better informed design decisions. “Writing at every step along the way facilitates healthy discussion about how realistic our assumptions and approach are,” says Aaron.
Glossier’s writing culture, built into each step of the product development process, helps facilitate rigorous, clear thinking. “Things like assumptions, risks, potential challenges on the horizon, and the size of the opportunity we’re pursuing become much clearer through writing,” Aaron says. “It turns each unknown into something concrete.”