Indie Beauty: Where ideas, inspiration, innovation, and investments happen in the cosmetics and personal care industry today (part 1 of 2)

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Indie Beauty: Where ideas, inspiration, innovation, and investments happen in the cosmetics and personal care industry today (part 1 of 2)
The rise of independent brands has been called everything from a competition to a revolution and by several monikers much better or worse (depending on the perspective). Here, Cosmetics Design examines all things indie—what’s winning, what signifies, where to find it, and more.

This publication’s Beauty Industry Awards, given out for the first time in April at the in-cosmetics global event in London, included an Indie Brands category; and it was by far the most compelling category of the competition. Regional BIA indie brand winners comprised Certified Organic Vegan Lipsticks from INIKA Organic in Australia for the Asia Pacific region; Curlsmith Curl Defining Styling Souffle from Recipe Products in the UK for the European region; and Youth Revealed Anti-Aging Skin Care Masks from Nannette de Gaspé Beauté out of Canada for the Americas region.

Nannette de Gaspé Beauté won the global Indie Beauty Brand award this year for its collection of Youth Revealed Anti-Aging Skin Care Masks. The bio-mimetic technology behind the active delivery mechanism of these infusers (as they are commonly known) is second to none. And in this video interview, Nannette de Gaspé Beaubien talks with Cosmetics Design​ about not only the brand’s award-winning products but also what indie beauty means to her as well as the brand’s latest launch.

The reach of Nannette de Gaspé Beauté goes well beyond recent supply-side industry recognition. Just last week David Olsen, CEO of the luxury retail boutique Cos Bar gave a shout out to Nannette de Gaspé Beauté from the stage at a CEW event​ for being the​ company with beauty products that have made him say “wow.”

In fact, right now at the New York City location of Cos Bar, Nannette de Gaspe's latest product launches are currently featured in one of the shop’s two windows and the full product line occupies a full display section of the store.


Indie beauty is good at telling stories: ingredient stories, founder stories, cause-marketing stories, stories of whitespace in the personal care or beauty market; the list goes on. Today, narratives that resonate with consumers equate directly to the currency in which beauty is transacted.

This is especially true because consumers now readily acknowledge trusting someone they personally identify with more than they trust someone in authority. For over 15 years, Edelman has been conducting annual research on consumer trust,” as Cosmetics Design reported​ earlier in 2017. “And for the first time, this year’s data shows that consumers trust ‘someone like me’ to tell the truth about an organization or company more than they trust the organization’s or company’s own leadership.”

Words and facts matter more than ever. So much so that ingredient suppliers are now developing marketing narratives that connect the ingredient intermediaries and ingredient supply chains to the literal source, to the workers, to the processes, and through to the products. This was all too evident at the 2017 in-cosmetics global event in April. And it’s happening so that contract manufacturers and big beauty has a ready-made truth to show the modern, discerning consumer that will be honest, compelling, and ethical.  


To keep up with the diversity of brands, ingredient and founder stories, and innovations coming out of indie today, the Indie Beauty Profile column​, which runs every Monday here on Cosmetics Design, is a good place to start. (To suggest a brand be considered for inclusion in the Indie Beauty Profile, email​.)

The Indie Beauty Expo, an event that crosses trade and consumer sectors, and that so far hosts events in New York City; Los Angeles, California; and Dallas, Texas​, is also a safe bet. It’s especially a good place to find brands dedicated to green, clean, or natural beauty. And the brands exhibiting at IBE tend to exemplify what indie can do differently (some might say ‘better’) than big beauty.

Retail shelves are increasingly a smart place to look for the latest in indie beauty as stores as distinctive as Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, New York, as mainstream as Target and Whole Foods, and as cult as Credo and Anthropologie curate a selection of personal care and beauty that elevates and preferences indie brands.

Read part 2 of Indie Beauty: Where ideas, inspiration, innovation, and investments happen in the cosmetics and personal care industry today.

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