Adventures in Beauty: My Experience at the Indie Beauty Expo
I recently attended the Indie Beauty Expo in LA. And in so many ways, it was nothing like I imagined. The IBE’s mission is “to provide a platform to recognize, showcase and celebrate independent beauty, wellness and lifestyle brands.” And they definitely did that, and more. It’s important to recognize the impact and influence the indie beauty community has on the entire beauty industry. In article on Beautyheroes.com called, “Why We’re Craving Indie Beauty” we learn that while indie beauty makes up a small portion fo the $43 billion beauty industry, indie brands grow at an exponentially faster pace; with larger industry growth at less than 3% per annum, while indie brands’ growth is closer to 20% per annum. iBE co-founder Jillian Wright states, “Indie beauty brands have the freedom and tenacity to push the limits to bring multi-faceted sustainability and efficacious skincare to the market in a new way.” And as someone who works for such a company I can say she’s spot on. ;-)
Some highlights from the iBE:
1. The Founders Panel
The show kicked off with panel talks, and I found this one in particular especially inspiring. Each member of the panel (Elliot Entis from Lift Lab, Ashley Prange from Au Naturale, and Sabrina Tan from Skin, Inc.) was so generous in sharing from their experience and providing insight and advice to up-and-comers on how to achieve success.
2. Bobbi Brown
Yes, that’s right, makeup trailblazer Bobbi Brown was in the house! Of course she had a million and one amazing things to say, but what struck me more than that was how so many of the women in the audience stood up to say that they had worked for Bobbi early in their careers and because of the impact and encouragement she had given them, they were now running their own businesses. So inspiring!
3. The Famous Flower Wall
The IBE could teach a class at Harvard on branding and creating an aesthetic. Their flower wall has quickly become their signature piece. Not only is it a great landmark within the show and provides amazing photo opportunities, but it adds a beautiful vibrancy to the space.
4. Free Lunch and Massage
Seriously. SERIOUSLY. If you’ve ever worked a trade show you are well aware of the grind it can be. But the iBE know how to treat a lady! They had a vendor-only lounge where you could take a quiet break and lounge on a comfy sofa, have a coffee or tea, a delicious lunch, and a 15 minute chair massage. Oh, and it’s all perks for being a vendor. Total game changer.
5. This Woman
Meet Carole Sabas, Editor-at-Large for Vogue Paris. She stopped by our booth to say hi and let us know how much she loves what we’re doing. You can tell from the lock-jawed smile on my face that I was happy to meet her.
6. The LA Hotel Downtown
Since this hotel hosted the panel talks for the show, we got to stay here. And it made the list of highlights because more often than not in work and in life you do not get to stay in such a lovely hotel.
7. Our nomination for Best Cleanser
We were soooo excited for this for so long, and even though we didn’t end up winning, it didn’t even dampen our excitement from being nominated. Big shout out to Edible Beauty who did win the title of Best Cleanser! Congrats! You had some tough competition! ;-)
8. Our Unusual Name
We were overwhelmed by the amount of people told us that they were dying to meet us and see what we’re about because they loved the name “Mother Dirt.” Woohoo and thank goodness because our backdrop fell into a shipping black hole and ended up in Tennessee instead of LA and to put it lightly (aside from our last minute poster we had printed) our booth had a minimalist look to it. Nice to know that we were still able to grab people’s attention despite it all.
9. The Other Guys
Checking out the other vendors is always a huge part of the fun at working trade shows, but this one in particular. From fancy licorice mint toothpaste to sparkling probiotic drinks, glitter lipstick and on-the-spot eyebrow waxing, each booth was more interesting than the next!
10. The Feeling of Community
It’s a real shot in the arm to spend a few days with people who are doing amazing things on the same scale as you. There was a shared excitement as we met one another, and learned about what the different companies do, and it piques your curiosity to learn and do more. And the iBE sets such a wonderful vibe from the get-go that it’s easy to feel like instant friends with everyone. Quite honestly, even with the massages, this was the thing that has left me feeling like a million bucks after attending iBE.