Indie beauty was everywhere at 2019 CEW Product Demo

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

photo via CEW on Instagram
photo via CEW on Instagram
Voting closes Thursday night. And it’s a tough call for the Beauty Awards this year: the room of indie beauty brands attracted quite a crowd, while elsewhere on the show floor startups and founder-led brands competed with legacy brands and multinational beauty makers for awards in product-specific category, sustainability excellence, and more.

Every year in the run up to its annual Beauty Awards, Cosmetic Executive Women hosts an event colloquially referred to in the industry as Demo Day.  It’s a must-attend event for beauty industry insiders and brand leaders alike, in part for the gift tote filled with full-sized samples that attendees receive. But it’s so much more than that.

The CEW Product Demo event is the​ place to see and try the latest and most innovative beauty products on the market as well as the ​place to network and rub elbows with decision makers and allies intently combing the isles for the best of the best in beauty. This year’s 25th anniversary event attracted 800 product entries from 400 brands and a crowd of some 3,000 attendees.

Intentionally indie

“Many of [those 400 brands are] indie brands,” ​noted CEW president Carlotta Jacobson, in her remarks at a pre-show reception for media, influencers, CEW leaders, and select brand leaders. “In fact,​” she points out, “years ago we created a separate category for the indie products because we felt they had to have an even playing field with the big companies.”

And Jacobson took time to note that indie brands are driving growth in beauty’s booming new category: wellness—especially when it comes to ingestibles. In this year’s new wellness section at the product demo event, Cosmetics Design spoke with a slew of beauty supplement brands, including NeoCell, Living Proof, Hum, Naturopathica, Goop, Avon’s Espira, and Aethern.

Numerous other wellness ventures were on hand to educate and offer complementary services to attendees. A State of Energy, the crystals and gemstones brand founded by Jennifer Walsh, was there blending up customized crystal mixes based on guest's individual readings.

And Calm City, a mobile meditation business, was talking with attendees about its traveling tranquility bus that welcomes strangers and organized groups alike to come aboard and sit together in a moment of calm or motivation.

Terribly trendy

Jacobson highlighted 3 ingredient trends in her remarks, pointing out that “we’re seeing a lot of cannabis, charcoal, and vegan products.” ​And she emphasized the momentum that’s building for the wellness category, saying, “The wellness category is really dominated by indies and is going to make a big difference [in the industry] and that’s just starting to happen now.” ​(Read more about cannabis beauty here on Cosmetics Design.​)

Cosmetics Design saw a number of subtler trends on the show floor at this year’s CEW Product Demo event: topical and ingestible products promising skin plumping benefits; marine-derived ingredients; as well as prebiotic, probiotic, and otherwise microbiome-friendly beauty products.

The winners of CEW’s 2019 Beauty Awards will be celebrated May 17th at the Beauty Awards Luncheon at the New York Hilton Midtown. For more info, click here​.



Deanna Utroske, 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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