After struggling to launch her own brand as a successful aesthetician, Jillian Wright realized there was still a lack of support in the beauty industry for niche indie brands that needed to bridge the gap between consumers, retailers, and the press. With a whole lot of research and the help of a former client, Nader Naeymi-Rad, who believed in her as a business partner, Wright took it upon herself to do exactly that by starting the Indie Beauty Expo.
The expo, which rotated between New York City and Los Angeles in its first two years, has grown to feature 130 brands from the 80 it featured in New York at its 2015 launch – and will be expanding to a third city, Dallas, in 2017.
Wright told Yahoo Beauty that obviously the brands need to be indie to be involved, and “indie means 50 percent owned and operated by the founder.” She followed up that clarification by saying, “Indie beauty is definitely not a trend, it’s a category that is growing, it’s here to stay – there is a lot of innovation and a lot of science.”
And while there are clearly countless brands to choose from, Wright told us she looks for brands that have beautiful websites and that are ready for serious business. “The brand has to invest in themselves in order for people to invest in them. We look for brands that are at that level that could scale. Brands that are sold at a farmers’ market wouldn’t do well here, they can’t have handmade labels – they have to be able to scale,” Wright stated.
We asked for her input on the top indie brands to look out for while browsing the expo, and she steered us in the right direction. Plus, here are a few that simply wowed us as well.