This is what an independent beauty brand looks like

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

This is what an independent beauty brand looks like

Related tags Indie beauty profile Brand Trademark Cosmetics Founder and ceo

Since early this year, Cosmetics Design has been publishing the Indie Beauty Profile column weekly, showcasing the inspiring work of cosmetics and personal care entrepreneurs and their innovative brands. Now after nearly 30 installments, we pause to reflect on what these founders, startups, and standalone brands have shared.

Indie beauty is by no means a singular designation, new and long-standing cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance brands operating without conventional corporate oversight exist in every category and at every level of the market place. Brand leaders and founders come from every walk of life, from beauty, finance, medicine, biotech, sports, media, etc. They are every age, every color, every gender. Right now, indie beauty looks a lot like humanity at large.

The 29 brands profiled thus far on however do have something in common, they are each led by dedicated individuals intent on turning their ideas, innovations, and passion into a sustainable business.

How to

Each Indie Beauty Profile includes a bit of advice that the featured brand leader wants to share with their peers. Many offer up something motivational and encourage their fellow brand leaders to trust their own knowledge and plans for the brand.

Cynthia Besteman, CEO Violets Are Blue​, was the first indie beauty leader to be featured in the Monday column now known as the Indie Beauty Profile. Besteman had this advice to share: “Follow your heart and stay true to your brand philosophy even when the going gets tough. There are so many ways to cut corners and people will tell you to do it for cost savings, but you need to keep the integrity intact and not go for the easy bottom line.”

This sort of advice can seem overly simple, but it’s really about differentiation is a very crowded, very competitive industry. Just last month on the Indie Beauty Profile, Donna Pohlad, founder and CEO of the at-home hair color brand dpHUE​ had one word of advice for other founders, “Focus.”

“It’s so easy to get distracted chasing opportunities that may not fit your mission,” ​she says, “and you end up taking your eye off what’s really important to your business.  Stick to who you are!” ​says Pohlad.

Practical guidance is always welcome too. Rachel Roff, founder of Urban Skin Rx​, suggests that new or aspiring beauty brand founders “get a book or hire a consultant to train you in the laws and requirements from the FDA regarding formulas, labeling, and marketing.”

And, in beauty it goes without saying that a quality product is paramount. In the advice he shared, Rick Sliter, CEO of acne care brand BioClarity​, expressed a sentiment that holds true for biotech innovators, traditionalists, and natural brand advocates alike “Everything begins with a great product and great ingredients.”


Indie beauty has captured not only the attention of entrepreneurs, consumers and retailers, but also the notice of multinational personal care corporations, specialty chemical makers, and contract manufacturers.

As such it’s become a newsworthy topic here on Cosmetics Design beyond the Indie Beauty Profile. Notable brands making news lately include the color cosmetics brand Sahi Cosmetics​, soap maker Senteurs D’Orient​, and the recently rebranded Starlet Satin​.

For some time now Indie beauty has influenced the way multinationals market their brands​. The indie movement has expanded the conversation around industry regulations​. This year, ingredient makers like DSM began partnering with indie beauty brands​ in earnest. And the successful Indie Beauty Expo​ announced plans to take the show global in 2018.

If you lead or know of an independent beauty brand that should be featured on the Indie Beauty Profile, email Cosmetics Design senior correspondent Deanna Utroske for consideration at qrnaan.hgebfxr@jeoz.pbz​.

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