CIBS luncheon lecture clarifies the foundation, function, and future of the indie beauty movement

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (KCHANDE)
© Getty Images \ (KCHANDE)

Related tags Indie beauty CIBS trends event

Wednesday in New York City, the Cosmetic Industry Buyers and Suppliers organization hosted a luncheon event focused on all things indie beauty. And, Jillian Wright, co-founder of the Indie Beauty Media Group, gave the keynote lecture.

CIBS is long-standing professional organization serving the networking needs of industry professionals working with ingredient suppliers, packaging companies, branding agencies, big beauty manufacturers, the list goes on…

The organization, currently boasts over 500 members and hosts about 10 events each year, ranging from social golfing outings to parties to more formal luncheon / meeting events. At this week’s luncheon, board member nominations were announced (and will be finalized at an upcoming meeting) and new members were announced and welcomed to the organization as well. 

The event was sponsored by GCI and that publication’s editor Jeb Gleason-Allured gave a brief talk on what he saw at this year’s IBE New York event. But the highlight of the event was a presentation from Jillian Wright, co-founder of the Indie Beauty Media Group (IBMG)—the startup company responsible for Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) events around the world, the BeautyX Summit educational conferences, the new Uplink Live suppliers’ tradeshows, as well as for the content site Beauty Independent (available in both an English and a German edition).

Wright’s work, and that of the entire IBMG team, has become almost synonymous with today’s global indie beauty movement.

What made the indie beauty movement possible?

At the start of her presentation, Wright spoke about 4 macrotrends that coincide with the rise of the current indie beauty movement: the shift from mass media to targeted media, the rise of specialty and small batch manufacturers, retail’s transition from the department store model to more niche channels, and consumers’ attention moving away from mass brands and toward indies. “What was once a product business is now a people business,” ​says Wright, emphasizing the importance of brand founders in today’s beauty marketplace.

And these trends themselves are still evolving. “Manufacturers large and small are coming up with programs to work with indie,” ​noted Wright.

New retailers like the Detox Market and Credo have changed where consumers go to buy beauty. And as Wright mentioned in her remarks Wednesday, Beauty Heroes, a clean beauty discovery service,​ just opened a first brick-and-mortar retail location last month in Navato, California.

She also pointed out that the IBMG’s partnership with Neiman Marcus began as “a 3-month popup is now a 2-year partnership.”

What is the indie beauty movement about?

“Indie is about ownership not about worth,” ​says Wright, explaining that for the IBMG to consider a brand independent, it must be at least 50% founder owned.

And in the indie movement, “brands have become faces,” ​says Wright, again pointing to the important role that entrepreneurs and brand leaders play in the success of an indie business. “Most indie brands have no infrastructure…. but the existing solutions for beauty businesses still cater to large corporations. Indie Beauty Media Group seeks to change that.”

We support the people behind the brands,” ​explains Wright, going on to outline what she calls “the universe of opportunities”​ that IBMG offers beauty entrepreneurs: Indie Beauty Expo events, BeautyX Summits, etc.

What future industry trends are indie brands advancing?

Wright talked through new brand launches and a number of trends she’s seeing right now and highlighted IBE-exhibiting brands that are leading and defining those trends.

She singled out brands like Baubo, Dame, and kegelbell in the ‘sexual wellness’ space and pointed to Tracie Martyn, Viliv, Absolution, and Verso as ‘super luxe skincare’ brands. For the CBD trend, Wright put Mask, terra/form, and Beboe on the screen. And she called attention to Bootsy, Cria, and Nutrafol in the ‘hormone health’ category.

Wright spoke about the enhanced self-care trend, about sustainability, and mission-driven indie brands. And she talked about brands like Blume, tbh kids, and Higher Education that are targeting the Gen Z consumer. Read more about these emerging Gen Z personal care brands here on

Learn more about the current indie beauty movement and IBMG 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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