The Indie Beauty Expo returned to Los Angeles January 17th-19th with the endorsement of a lifetime. Beauty veteran and indie brand pioneer, Bobbi Brown, headlined the first day.
The exciting part? Bobbi offered to be a part of this exciting event. If you’re wondering why an accomplished entrepreneur would have any interest in a show dedicated to small indie brands, she summed it up in a word: Inspiration.
“Indie anything is cool and, right now, most people want something that they just discovered or something new or something different. … So, I just think that small, cool, creative companies are where it’s at.” – Bobbi Brown
Day One, dubbed “Connect Indie,” was dedicated to the brands. From 9am – 5pm they were invited to attend a full day of educational presentations and panels focusing on key areas of business success. Think of it as a crash course in the beauty industry.
This took place at the LA Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and concluded with a 45 minute conversation with Bobbi Brown, led by Rachel Marlowe, West Coast Editor of Vogue. Afterwards, the discussion opened for questions in the standing-room-only packed house of beauty entrepreneurs.
Rounding out the day the space was transformed as quickly as a sheet mask into a welcome reception, where brands could meet, network and enjoy complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Day Two takes us to the expo at the California Market Center where over 100 brands exhibited. The 40,000 square foot room was swathed in the signature IBE white, green and purple palette hues, with a massive 30 foot installation of flowers, tropical greenery and neon purple greeting you upon entry. Another wall housed an equally impressive “We (heart) LA” green installation giving the space more of an art gallery feel than the typical staid expo hall.
Strategically laid out, the room never felt too crowded, even though over 600 people attended. Attention to detail was carefully taken, right down to a dedicated lounge where exhibitors could take a break and relax with massages by A Magic Touch and lunch provided by Lemonade. Keeping things environmentally friendly RETHINK water was the official IBE thirst quencher.
The press had exclusive access from 3-5pm. The event was then open to the general public for “Shop Indie” from 5-9pm, where beauty consumers had fun discovering products, sipping cocktails, snacking on cotton candy, making flower crowns, and listening to beats by DJ Colette.
They could also attend panel discussions with popular digital influencers like Amanda Jo, the Organic Bunny, and successful brand owners, like Amanda Chantal Bacon from Moon Juice, May Lindstrom, Tanja Gruber, Josh Rosebrook, Shiva Rose and Jeannie Jarnot, just to name a few.
Remember the game musical chairs when you were a kid? QVC and Beauty IQ host, Keri Parker, led a round of “musical makeovers” with a few lucky attendees plucked from the floor. Different rules, same spirit, and when you have Tonya Crooks from the BrowGal among one of the talented artists there’s no such thing as being out.
The final day, dubbed “Trade Indie,” was all about business. From 10am-5pm beauty professionals, buyers and trade took to the floor to meet brands and forge relationships. This is why IBE added the first day, to help brands prepare for this crucial moment in the B2B process.
There were also panel discussions throughout the day covering new and emerging trends in the industry, including the rise of the ingestible market and the impact indie brands are having on the spa industry. Julie Keller of American Spa magazine led the latter discussion with panelists from some of the world’s most renowned spas offering invaluable insight into this growing and sought-after market.
Wish you’d been there? You can watch portions of the Indie Beauty Expo on the IBE TV YouTube channel and Facebook page. Or, you can attend the next one in Dallas taking place May 9-11th, 2017.