CEW honors standout beauty brands at Indie 65 event and publishes sales data that brings a new kind of transparency to the indie beauty movement

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

CEW Indie 65 award photo via Ann Petrosian of Dose of Colors on Instagram
CEW Indie 65 award photo via Ann Petrosian of Dose of Colors on Instagram

Related tags Indie beauty Cew Sales Entrepreneurship Awards

At Tuesday evening’s awards ceremony in New York City, CEW brought together a who’s who of indie beauty brand leaders for celebration and networking. The event simultaneously marked the launched of the organization’s first-of-its-kind report on the size and scale of those 65 independent beauty brands.

Cosmetic Executive Women is itself celebrating 65 years as a professional organization in the industry. And this is where the ‘65’ in the CEW Indie 65 comes from.

“The beauty business has evolved dramatically since we were founded 65 years ago. But one of the most significant changes is the dominance of independent brands,” ​Carlotta Jacobson, remarked as she opened the CEW Indie 65 event yesterday evening at the BCG offices at Hudson Yards.

Indeed, indie beauty brands account for 15% of the CEW membership today (that’s up from 6% just 3 years ago). And the organization is evolving to serve these members alongside its core membership of legacy industry insiders.

As Jacobson noted, “The Female Founder Awards, Indie Beauty Awards, and the [CEW] Advisory Council of industry experts,” ​are among the initiatives that the professional organization has launched in recent years to welcome indie brands.

“Our latest initiative is the Indie 65 Report,”​ added Jacobson, explaining that the report comprises “profiles of independent players from $1m [in sales] to $1bn. The companies,”​ she says, “were selected by an advisory council, CEW members, and key industry stakeholders.”

Financial transparency

Privately held companies of every size tend to guard financial data (sales, revenue, etc.) carefully; and indie beauty brands are no exception to the rule. Certainly, many of the brands featured on the Indie Beauty Profile column opt not to disclose sales figures.

At the same time, the indie beauty movement prides itself on bringing transparency to the greater cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance industry—transparency in ingredient labeling, supply chain realities, and production practices among other things.

What the CEW Indie 65 Report has done is bold and important. The report not only celebrates the achievements of the included brands but it also it makes the sales numbers behind the brands public (or rather available to CEW members).

The inaugural CEW Indie 65

Here is a selection of the brands honored at Tuesday’s CEW Indie 65 event:

With sales under $5m, brands like LOLI Beauty​, Saint Jane, and Sara Happ​ made the list. Brand with sales between $5m and $10m include Kjaer Weis, Mented Cosmetics, and Urban Skin Rx​.

With sales from $10m to $20m, Dermaflash​, Dr. Barbara Stum, and Summer Fridays were honored. Brands including Brigeo, Farsáli, Invisibobble, and RMS Beauty​ made the list with sales between $20m and $50m.

Between $50m and $100m in sales Amika, Coola, and Tata Harper made the CEW Indie 65 this year. In the $100m to $150 range, Beautyblender, Drunk Elephant​, and Glossier were listed. Josie Maran was included with sales between $150m and $200m; Beautycounter for sales between $300m and $350m; Huda Beauty for sales in the $550m - $1bn range; and Rodan + Fields was the single indie beauty brand recognized with sales over $1bn.

The full report will be online soon at cew.org/beauty-news​.



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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