Editor’s Spotlight

What is indie beauty anyway?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (Wavebreakmedia)
© Getty Images / (Wavebreakmedia)

Related tags Indie beauty profile

Recently, brands featured on the Indie Beauty Profile column have been asked to define or explain their thinking on what makes a cosmetics, personal care, or fragrance brand independent. Here, Cosmetics Design has complied a selection of the replies in an effort to more fully understand the meaning of the movement.

Indie beauty brands come in all shapes and sizes; exist in every category; sell in markets all around the world; and still, there is something intangible about the startups, niche brands, makers’ projects, founder-led businesses, and entrepreneurial ventures that are indie beauty.

Here, 7 brand leaders making products and progress tell us what ‘indie beauty’ means to them.

Founder owned

“To me a beauty brand is independent if the company is owned and operated by the founder as the key stakeholder. I also believe that the founder’s beliefs and values need to be a part of the DNA of the company.” ​– Mary Futher, Founder and Product Developer, kaia naturals

“To me an indie beauty brand is unique and independently funded by the founder.” ​– Lena Kanise Østergaard Jensen, Founder and CEO, LENAJAPON USA

Passion matters

“To me, what defines an indie beauty brand is not only that it’s independently owned and operated but that there is passion, purpose and true authenticity behind the company, brand and products.” ​– Lindsay Knaak-Stuart, Founder and CEO, Meant

“An indie beauty brand is independently owned and operated and is doing something ‘unconventional’– whether it’s clean ingredients, a new category, a different spin on something existing, or a disruptive way of reaching their consumer. I’ve always been involved in indie beauty because I like the creativity, less red tape, personal approach, and appreciate passionate founders.” ​– Therese Clark, Founder and CEO, Lady Suite

“To me, an indie beauty brand is an identity that goes beyond simply being independently owned and operated.  It encompasses a passion, lifestyle, and ideals that consumers can relate to and feel part of. Indie beauty brands have a uniqueness that appeals to the individual instead of the masses.”​ – Alison Crumblehulme, Founder and President, Veriphy Skincare Inc.

Beyond corporate

“To me a beauty brand is independent if their heart and soul is scattered through the brand. I like bootstrapped brands that try to challenge the big guys.” ​– Andrew Grella, Founder, Formen Inc.

“I’ve never considered the exact definitely of an indie beauty brand. I would define mine as one, seeing as it is independently owned and operated. We manufacture our own products and make our own novel ingredients.

“If I think about indie music it just means you’re under a label that isn’t a corporate giant, or you don’t even have a label signed at all. The same applies to beauty, so I would consider a brand indie if they are not under the control of a large corporation with several other beauty brands.” ​– Kenna Whitnell, Founder and CEO, Altilis Beauty



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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