Since the Indie Beauty Expo first opened in New York City in 2015, the event has been a hybrid of a tradeshow (where brands can connect with media and retail buyers) and a consumer discovery show.
But the indie beauty landscape has changed dramatically over the years (in part because of the advocacy and programing that the Indie Beauty Media Group has undertaken). Longstanding industry tradeshows, like Cosmoprof, in-cosmetics global, and the NYSCC Suppliers’ Day all now make space for independent cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance brands at their events. And niche and direct-to-consumer brands developed by multinationals and biotech firms are competing with indies.
The IBMG’s new show, Uplink Live, has been developed to help entrepreneurs and brand innovators navigate the supply side of the industry and, in turn, help keep the indie movement competitive. “Indie brands rely heavily on outsourced solution providers, but, lacking a procurement function, the task of finding the right vendor is daunting and often a major impediment to their growth,” says Nader Naeymi-Rad, co-founder of the IBMG, in a media release about the new show.
“At the same time,” believes Naeymi-Rad, “solution providers clearly view indie brands as a significant growth opportunity, but lack access to a focused channel to meet and present their capabilities to right indie decision-makers.” Now with Uplink Live, an extension of their online Uplink service, IBMG intends to fill this market gap and be the go-to event where suppliers and service providers connect with indie brand leaders and aspiring founders.
The Uplink service already boasts a roster of well over 500 solution providers, across 6 functions: manufacturing; PR and influencers; strategy, marketing, and branding; logistics, distribution, and sales; business operations; and tech.
Every time the Indie Beauty Expo opens, it’s bigger and better than the last. BeautyX, the educational event for entrepreneurs often runs for 2 days ahead of the 2-day IBE show in the same city, and now Uplink Live will run concurrently with select IBE events. The idea is that brand leaders will attend either one or the other: growing the next phase of their business at Uplink Live or showing media and buyers what they have to offer at IBE.
But as Uplink Live opens, Shop Indie closes. (Shop Indie was a half-day session where the IBE show floor was open to consumers interested in indie beauty and curious to discover new brands.) “We want to keep IBE as a two-day event for as long as possible. But with all the growth and the launch of Uplink Live, we realized we had to make trade-offs,” Jillian Wright, co-founder of IBE tells the press.
“With most of our B2C activities now happening with our growing roster of retail partners, such as Neiman Marcus, Feelunique and Douglas,” she explains “we now can confidently say that we are bringing the message of independent beauty to consumers 365 days a year, and doing so in a more impactful way than that of a 2-day event.”
The first Uplink Live event is set to take place this August 21 and 22 in conjunction with IBE NY; both events will be held at Pier 94 in New York City.
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.