Meet the Mother-Daughter Team Behind GLU Girls Like You
A marketing boss joins her child to launch a beauty line.
All Jann Parish ever wanted to do was work in fashion. After graduating from college in Texas and gaining some basic experience with Texas Instruments, she went to New York where she climbed the marketing ladder, eventually landing big gigs at brands such as L’Oreal, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfinger.
She had soared to such heights that in 2017 she got the job of chief marketing officer at Victoria’s Secret. That’s what brought her, her husband Ryan and two children to Central Ohio. That job didn’t last long, though, and in 2018 she joined the former Green Growth Brands, which focused on CBD products. Two years later, COVID-19 put the retail world into a spin. Green Growth Brands closed, and Parish was out of work.
There were others at home to keep her busy, though. She was joined by daughter Lila, who is in middle school and son, Ethan, who is 10.
Conversations with Lila over the last few years had already germinated a whole new brand: GLU Girls Like You. The mom and her daughter dreamt of creating a beauty brand with a kindness hook for tweeners, right at the time that girls need it.
“While it’s totally awkward and sometimes cringe-worthy—growing up can also be a lot of fun, especially when you’re surrounded by the girls like you,” according to the company’s website. A portion of online purchases are contributed to girl-oriented charities.
Tell us about the light-bulb moment between you and Lila when your business was conceived.
Lila and I dreamt up GLU about two years ago when riding home from school one day. She was sharing with me that their school was about to do the “body talk” in the classroom. She had remarked that it felt weird that her fourth-grade teacher was going to be the one to explain this to her. Clear light-bulb moment. We spent the following year or so thinking about—and sometimes ignoring—GLU’s possibilities as other parts of life took over. It wasn’t until COVID hit when we were watching our 12,000th episode of Friends that Lila looked at me and said: “I think it’s time to start GLU.”
What big lessons from your past experiences in retail have you used this year?
I’ve had the good fortune to work at companies that approached retail in very different ways. My time at Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger was about brand building and driving marketing for brands in transition. Victoria’s Secret was about analyzing results and moving at lightning speed. Those experiences combined have centered our approach on listening very closely to our audience, using them as our guide and taking brave steps on behalf of our new brand.
What do you hope Lila has learned from this experience?
I feel so very fortunate that Lila has the appetite to focus on building GLU. It’s hard work! Especially as a child with so many interests. I am most hopeful that she sees that putting in the effort, no matter how challenging, is how you reap the rewards.
What have you learned from Lila?
I love that Lila knows when she’s done enough for the day. It’s an incredibly poignant role reversal when your digitally native child looks at you and says, “You need to put your phone away.”
Some of the largest local retailers have had challenges with supply chains during the pandemic. Did this affect how GLU products are manufactured?
That retail training really kicked in on this one. It was clear that COVID-19 was going to disrupt manufacturing overseas. With that in mind, all of our personal care products, nail care today and skincare (which launched) in May, are manufactured in the U.S. for many reasons, a big one being that I wanted to keep supply chain stateside to offer some flexibility. And we use a Columbus-based company, Moby Dick Logistics, to manage shipping and fulfillment. That’s been such a relief. We can inspect, monitor and work together with just a text and a quick car ride.