Editor’s Spotlight

2019 Goals: Building on the wisdom of indie beauty brand founders

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (Marekuliasz)
© Getty Images / (Marekuliasz)
The Indie Beauty Profile column is moving…to Fridays! But before going ahead with that, Cosmetics Design is looking back over a selection of the business advice that featured cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance brand leaders have shared over the past year.

Running for just shy of 2 years now, the Indie Beauty Profile column features a different independent beauty brand leader each week. Individually, each profile gives insight into the featured founder’s ideas and business strategies; and collectively the column functions as a roster of brand innovations, a compendium of the people and products that are the core of independent beauty movement.

Each entrepreneur featured is asked to share advice with fellow or would-be beauty brand leaders. The replies (which, if read hastily, may seem at times trite or cliché) are full of nuance and say a lot about the purpose, the passion, and the potential behind the brand.

Be Bold

“Don’t be afraid to pursue your passions in life and don’t let fear or your environment deter you. I was once a black girl living in Brooklyn that decided to [take] one step forward to pursue my dream of becoming a scientist and eventually an entrepreneur. If I can do it, so can you.” ​- Dr. Isfahan Chambers Harris, Alodia Hair Care

“If you want to start something new, make sure you have an unwavering passion for what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Be incredibly convicted about your ‘why’ or else nobody else will be.” ​- Monica Watson, Berlin Skin

Trust Yourself

“Do not take no for an answer. Listen to your gut and stay on track​.” - Rose-Marie Swift, RMS Beauty

“Always know your brand positioning and stick with it. It was crucial for us to fully define our brand prior to the official launch of Ellie Bianca. We always reference our brand guide to stay on track with our goals and maintain consistency. There is a lot of noise when developing a new business, knowing your company position and values really grounds you. Trust the process.” ​- Evelyne Nyairo, Ellie Bianca

Engage Customers

“Love the customer and continue to touch them. I try to take customer service calls daily or reach out by way of social media, to stay on the pulse. Listening to the customer is the only way to compete and innovate in such a crowded space.”​ - Lori Machiorlette, Worth Beauty

“There is no magic formula. It’s a lot of trials until you figure out what works for you. Keep learning from your customer, adjusting and adapting. There is no overnight success.” ​- Ikram Elharti, Sahara Rose

Be Different

“There are a ton of beauty start-ups popping up daily. The ones with staying power are those that offer a superior product and address an underserved customer. In my experience, focusing on how a product solves a need in a target customer’s life is what makes an indie brand stand out. This was our own vision from the start as ‘OLIKA’ means differently in Swedish.”​ - Jessica Postiglione, OLIKA

Recruit Allies

“Build your brand and community – don’t forget to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs, it takes a village. I am so grateful for my boss babe friends who have had the answers, connections and belief in me and Honest Hazel when I needed it most.”​ - Catherine Scott, Honest Hazel

“Spend the time doing the initial analysis to really know who you are as a brand and your brand DNA. Define your vision and mission, and how those apply to your products, and how those plans apply to your brand story. Taking the time to think long-term instead of hopping on a trend will help you plan for what your brand will be in the next five to ten years. Also, find a really good partner.”​ - Kellie Chen, Fytt 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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