Last Thursday in New York City, the best beauty brands you haven’t heard of yet came together at the first ever Indie Beauty Expo, “A day devoted to independent beauty brands and the people who love them.” The Indie Beauty Expo (iBE) ™ had The Altman Building bathed in violet light and overflowing with stunning florals as the day-long, interactive event gave press, buyers, consumers and other industry professionals an opportunity to experience, connect with and buy from the best independent beauty and wellness brands.
iBE kicked off with a press breakfast. Exhibiting brands had the opportunity to present their stories (you can’t find an indie beauty brand that doesn’t have an inspiring backstory full of wonder and whimsy) to the national beauty media. This was followed by the trade portion of the expo where industry professionals (like me!) got to meet, learn about and experience dozens of beauty and wellness brands. It was great to meet IRL people I have emailed with, interacted with on social, etc. In the evening, the event opened to the public with discounted shopping, more panel discussions and the opportunity to connect directly with brands. For indie beauty-obsessed consumers, this was basically the equivalent of a 10-year-old girl getting to spend an intimate evening with Taylor Swift and her cats.
There were panel discussions throughout the day addressing topics like Natural Beauty Explosion: Pioneers Talk Trends, Myths, Facts, Hot Ingredients and More, which was led by Well+Good co-founder Melisse Gelula and included a panel of industry pioneers like Gina Carney, founder of RGB Cosmetics and indie beauty queen, Tata Harper.
iBE was co-founded by Nader Naeymi-Rad, entrepreneur and CEO of Vesture, and celebrity aesthetician/beauty entrepreneur, Jillian Wright. As a spa owner, Jillian is always looking for new and notable beauty products to offer her customers. Additionally, as creator of her own eponymous skin care line, she felt a need to bring together media, buyers, retailers and indie beauty loving consumers for an exclusive, curated event that showcases and promotes independent beauty and wellness brands. Thus, the Indie Beauty Expo was born.
It’s All About Curated Indie Beauty
“There was an unmet need,” Wright told Charlotte’s Book earlier this summer. “Broadly speaking, up until now there were two kinds of beauty shows.” These two types of beauty shows are the multi-day professional trade shows with 1000+ vendors, and the afternoon mini-expos with a dozen or so independent brands. Until iBE, nothing existed in between those two extremes. “So iBE fills the gap,” Jillian explained.
Filling the Gap
Fills the gap, indeed. The packed event was a rousing success, and the impressive numbers show just how unmet the need for this type of event was: There were 80 exhibitors (initially, they were hoping for 40!), 100+ press (including Allure, Elle, InStyle, and W), 200+ buyers (including Barneys, Goop, Saks, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Target and Whole Foods), 300+ other industry professionals and 300+ consumers. This wasn’t just a bunch of us New Yorkers, either. Attendees flew in from Miami, South Carolina, Spain and even Tokyo. Ripples of the event’s success can still be felt online as well: A week later, attendees and exhibitors are still Instagramming pictures of the event (and their sizable product sample haul) with the custom hashtag, #weareindiebeauty.
Wright was, understandably, thrilled “I thought the expo was going to be epic, but it turned into electric. The happiness and positive energy in the air made it a very special environment to be in.” I wholeheartedly concur.
Creativity, Camaraderie and Collaboration
I feel truly lucky to have been in attendance at this event. As a female entrepreneur, I was moved and inspired by all the girl bosses in the building! Leave it to the ladies to populate an event brimming with creativity, camaraderie and collaboration. Missed this year? Fret not. iBE 2016 is already being planned…for NYC and LA. Go to the Indie Beauty Expo website now and sign up for news and updates.
Need an Indie Beauty Fix RN?
My personal highlights and favorite finds from iBE 2015: Every sample I received (and I received A LOT) were stellar! Since traditional skin care gets a lot of press attention, I chose to highlight some unique, (mostly) non-skincare items in my roundup, below.
LuliTonix Black Magic. After chatting extensively with several brands upstairs, I headed to the lower level (where iBE’s cafe was located) quite parched. I made a beeline for LuliTonix and asked for a cold, refreshing drink. Naturally, they handed me the quintessential summer refresher, lemonade. Did I mention it was pitch black charcoal lemonade? This lemon “detox and purification elixir”, made with activated charcoal, tastes like subversive summer…not too sweet but just sweet enough. It was refreshing, zesty and energizing. Activated Charcoal (one of my favorite skin care ingredients) is a detoxing debutante, so I was glad to get into some old Black Magic.
Juara Enzyme Scrub. Juara’s Coffee Scrub is one of my all-time favorite, all-star products that I will buy forever. It was with much excitement and anticipation, then, that I sampled their new face scrub. This gentle yet powerful scrub combines botanical enzymes and physical exfoliants to rid skin of impurities while improving texture and tone. It exfoliates, cleanses and refines while minimizing the look of pores to reveal a smoother, more radiant complexion. I had to shout it out because the results were striking after just one use! My skin looked younger and more luminous in minutes. Once again, it’s Juara scrubs FTW!
Rituel de Fille. This whole line got me more excited about makeup then I’ve been in a long time. Trying these products felt like the first time I opened my Nars Last Dance Palette – a watershed moment in my beauty junkie journey. Rituel de Fille’s packaging is stunning, but their products are spectacular. With rich, saturated hues for eyes (which comes in a chic little hexagon and is called Eye Soot – brilliant), cheeks and lips in dreamy, creamy formulations, this is the makeup Stevie Nicks would wear if she were a Limelight club kid…and that’s as high a compliment as I could possibly pay to a makeup line. Expect big things from this indie brand.
Kypris Body Elixir: Inflorescence. I love me some body oil. It’s probably the beauty product I own the most varieties of. Since Kypris’s Clearing Serum was the only organic beauty product to make a real difference with my breakouts, I could not wait to get Inflorescenced. First, I fell in love with the forest green glass bottle. Then, I fell in love with the intoxicating Neroli scent, one of my favorite essential oils. Now, I’m in love with the results. Inflorescence is a rich, aromatherapeutic body oil containing clinically proven actives (Sweet Iris Stem Cells & Vitamin C Ester) typically reserved for facial care and 12 of the most potent and nourishing botanical oils, including Sunflower, Moringa, Prickly Pear and Tamanu seed oils. This multi-active oil gets to WORK from day one. It soothes dryness, softens, tones, enhances elasticity and luminosity, provides an antioxidant boost to SPF, diminishes the appearance of sun-overexposure and inspires collagen production. I apply it to damp skin immediately after I shower, as it allows me to spread it more easily…which will stop me from blowing through the whole bottle by Labor Day!
Sprayology Body Balance homeopathic oral spray. I’ve shared about struggling with Adrenal Fatigue before; and if you are a sufferer yourself, you know it can manifest in myriad ways. When I was introduced to Sprayology and their Body Balance spray immediately upon entering iBE, I was jazzed. Body Balance was designed to address symptoms of adrenal exhaustion including: dizziness, fatigue and weakness, mental exhaustion, skin dryness and lost sense of well being. I’m trying my best not to use up the one month supply bottle within one week, but no promises.
By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack