The blueprint for indie beauty success

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

The blueprint for indie beauty success

Related tags Independent beauty brands Skin care brands Skin

Cosmetic Executive Women, a global industry professional organization, brought together CEOs from 3 top independent cosmetic and skin care brands for its recent newsmaker forum event in New York City, and each has a distinctive business plan worth exploring.

Independent beauty brands are the new news makers, according to Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW. This is particularly true when it comes to mergers and acquisitions as well as on the innovations front.

Vennette Ho, managing director of Financo, a boutique investment bank specializing in M&A advisory services for the retail sector confirms that, ​the beauty M&A market is driven by indie brands.” Large strategics need to fill the gap between the industry’s expected annual 3.4% growth and Wall Street standards, she explains. And they do this by growth through acquisition. 

Before innovation disrupts the status quo or Unilever acquires Dermalogica, there’s work to be done by the founders of indie brands. To get started, new brands need “an idea, an iPhone, and Instagram,” ​quipped Ho during her keynote at the CEW Newsmaker forum. 

It’s imperative to know which media platform your key consumers are listening to and to meet them there, in their language, on their terms, with product that suits their lifestyle. That’s the lesson Nudestix exemplifies.

The cosmetics company for the mobile age was born digital, just one year ago, and is flourishing on social media.

Nudestix posts to showcase the personality of the people behind the brand but also for internal communications and partner trainings too. Team members at Sephora, Nudestix main global partner, as well as the brand’s own employees keep up with product launches, application how-to’s, and more via Twitter, according to Jenny Frankel, founder and CEO.

The company is busy beyond Twitter, sharing on Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Google+ and more. It’s this all-in social strategy that lets Nudestix speak directly with today’s on-the-go millennial women.

“Standalone shops are the best way to showcase a brand,”​ says Sabrina Tan, founder and CEO of Skin Inc. ( She points to the Apple computer retail stores as the exemplar of successful branding.

The signature Skin Inc. product is a custom serum, in personalized packaging, that streamlines skin care. These state-of-the-art serums are supported by Japanese encapsulation technology.

Flagship stores in Singapore, Barcelona, Madrid and several other urban centers globally are doing the tough work of branding. And, Tan reports that over half of first-time Skin Inc. Skin Supplement Bar shoppers become repeat consumers.  

Probiotic science is still relatively new. “The live bacteria cultures popular as supplements in the wellness industry are becoming more commonplace in topical personal care products,” ​observesCosmetics Design​. 

Nonetheless, cutting-edge brands like Tula need a far-reaching platform for consumer education. Roshini Raj, the gastroenterologist and medical correspondent who founded the healthy living products company, chose QVC.

With spots on the respected television shopping network, Raj is teaching consumers about the “connection between good bacteria and the skin,” ​she said at the CEW event.

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