Little Brands, Big Future

Next month, the Indie Beauty Expo returns to where it all began: New York City. The show will be held August 21 and 22 at Pier 94.

Now a national and international event, IBE co-founder Jillian Wright is excited about the continued interest in and innovation showcased by the indie beauty sector. “I love meeting the brand founders because they are so inspiring,” she told Happi.  “A website or brand deck can only tell part of the story. When you meet the creative minds face to face, there’s nothing that compares. Many of them are traveling from all over the world with the dream to do one thing: to grow.”

According to Wright, these smaller and startup brands come to “form partnerships or strengthen current ones with those who will help them scale.”

“After 14 shows, (this will be our 5th anniversary show in NY!) that energy is still very much alive and electric. My goal is to meet every single brand, but in New York, with 200-plus brands, I have my work cut out for me,” Wright said.

But is there room for everyone or is there a bubble ahead for indie beauty?

“Absolutely not,” insisted Wright. “It is certainly a more crowded lane than ever before, but it is really pushing innovation and differentiation. Competition is healthy. More and more consumers want to expand and invest in their beauty and wellness routines, and more than ever consumers have different needs; for example, a skin care line that also treats eczema, a desire to use organic and free-from formulas, or they just want a wide variety of shades and pigments. Beauty will never go out of fashion.  It’s like saying the art world is going to burst one day.”

As IBE marks its fifth anniversary in New York City, organizers have added a new element—Uplink Live, an offshoot of its online UpLink directory which is a vetted directory of industry providers. Several companies have signed on for the showcase in New York, said Wright, who also noted that there IBE will also feature educational presentations and private tours throughout both days.

According to Wright, with the countless service providers available to the world of beauty, it is time consuming and frustrating to weed through to find the right ones that especially want to work with indie beauty entrepreneurs. According to Wright, there are opportunities to form relationships.

“All the time I think about how, in a few years, some of these brand meetings will result in the next 100 million dollar brand,” she said.

Read the entire article here, to see what advice Jillian Wright has to offer to indie startups.

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