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    Coffee with a Journalist: Emma Sandler, Glossy

    On today’s episode of Coffee with a Journalist, we sit down with Emma Sandler, senior beauty and wellness reporter for Glossy. For those that don’t know, Glossy is ​​a publication from Digiday Media that covers how technology is modernizing the fashion and luxury industries. At Glossy, Emma covers the shifts in power between legacy companies like L’Oreal USA and indie brands like Glossier or Huda Beauty.

    During the episode, Emma gives us a quick overview of Glossy’s coverage, her 3 types of story pillars, what she’s learned from quarantine, and lots more.

    Click below to listen to the full conversation and read below for highlights from the interview:

    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    Her Work Inbox 

    [00:03:26] BB: ...And what is your inbox like?

    [00:03:43] ES: My inbox at the moment, because I am a perpetually inbox zero person, I currently have seven unread messages. But my inbox has roughly 8400 emails in it. I save emails that I feel are relevant so I can better find and search them later. So in terms of the unread emails I have, most of which are irrelevant to me, I'll be honest, I have a pitch about eyewear. I have something about the actress January Jones. I have a product launch for a manicure top coat that will give you a map. I have something launching on Amazon. I have a holiday gift set. And then I have something from the cosmetics beauty group called CEW Beauty. 

    [00:04:39] BB: Now, these are all the pitches that you're looking at? Clarify.

    [00:04:43] ES: Some of them are pitches to the new product, potentially the January Jones thing, the gift set. But like I said, most of these are relevant to me because of what Glossy covers.


    Her Thoughts on Pitches



    [00:04:57] BB: Yes, gotcha. Are there quite a few irrelevant pitches you get?

    [00:05:02] ES: Oh, absolutely. But I will also say that depending on the product that's being pitched to me, it might not be worth this story in and of itself. But if I end up seeing a lot of that similar product coming through, or maybe it's a new category for a brand, or it's a new approach to a category that a brand is doing, then I will save it, and I will wait for the other shoe to drop and see if a trend comes through.

    “It's definitely the subject line when it has something that has an eye-catching phrase like launching X or exclusive Y.”

    [00:06:39] BB: Very true. What then, Emma, gets your biggest attention for a pitch? Is it the subject line? Or do you open every single email? Or is it the shortness? The brevity of the pitch? Is it new, distinct, interesting, on point? They spell your name right. I don't know. What would you say?

    My favorite sources always have distinct viewpoints. Something refreshing. Something that is unique to their position.”

    [00:06:57] ES: It's definitely the subject line when it has something that has an eye-catching phrase like launching X or exclusive Y. Or even if it's from someone I know and it says, “Hey, what are your thoughts on this?” That's something where I'm like, “Okay, maybe I should actually look at this.” If it is something like the January Jones swears by Allies of Skin for a glowing complexion. I don't care. No offense to January Jones.


    How She Writes Stories

    [00:05:31] BB: Okay. It's common, we've heard on the show, that journalists do what you're describing of kind of, “Okay, I'm keeping stuff coming along. I haven't deleted it, but I haven't responded.” And then you get a few other pitches that are in that same genre, maybe in the month or the week, and you go, “Wait a second, I think this is now a thing. It's a trend. It's a piece.” So it sounds like you do that too.

    “I think there's three main ways that I end up getting my stories.”

     [00:05:53] ES: Yes, yes, absolutely. I have done my fair share of trend stories, but it's always about understanding if this trend that's happening signifies something larger. Three brands out with a matte nail polish doesn't really appeal or make sense for me. But maybe it is why is everyone suddenly caring about – I'm trying to think of a good example, and I can't at the moment.

    [00:06:19] BB: Yeah, but that's okay. Like, why everyone is looking for matte maybe? Or the yellow as we talked about for, if it's a Gen Z things, it’s like is yellow the new everything.

    [00:06:27] ES: Right. Right. That’s really good example. Maybe it's something where I started to notice a packaging trend. Everyone turned to sustainability in the last year. So that was something that's certainly covered over time.

    “​​So Glossy is a digital business publication focused on beauty and fashion. The way we approach our publication and our stories is to ask ourselves, “What is the shift in power taking place within the industry?”

    [00:07:30] BB: ...The various stories you cover for the industry, how do you get the inspiration for the story, if you do?

    [00:07:57] ES: Oh, that's an excellent question. I think there's three main ways that I end up getting my stories. There is the traditional pitch. I've built, over almost four years at Glossy, a decent network of executive publicists, venture capitalists, other people in finance, who come to me and understand what I'm looking for. Then there's also times when a person, usually a publicist, says, “Oh, hey, this brand is doing this, or this brand is launching that.” And I say, “Okay, I don't really care that they're doing this one thing. But this brand actually interests me, or this is part of the trend I'm seeing. What else can we explore here?”

    And then the other probably third pillar of stories I find is really from just paying attention, and really being curious about what's going on in the industry from either a product trend that I'm seeing, or a strategy trend that I've seen from companies or from investments.

    [00:09:00] BB: And are you just like walking around, walking the streets of Soho? Are you scrolling through Instagram? Are you look at a Tik – Like where does that then come to you? Just curious.

    [00:09:13] ES: Also a good question. I'm probably not walking around Soho as much as I was pre-pandemic. I will say that I read a lot. I read Glossy’s competing publications. But I also read more than just what's going on in the beauty world. I also read about what's happening in technology. What's happening in venture capital and private equity in the public markets? I'm reading just general business news. I love Bloomberg. I love Fast Company. Sometimes they have things that straddle more of a cultural story than just a straightforward business story.






    As a senior beauty and wellness reporter, Emma has spent the last 4 years building relationships with all sorts of sources. Whether they’re in her network yet or not, she has a 3-pillar system for how she approaches stories which you can reference above.

    For more great 1:1 conversations with journalists from top-tier outlets, subscribe to the Coffee with a Journalist podcast newsletter to get the latest episode drops and exclusive video content. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for other updates on our newest PR tips, tools, and best practices.

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