The Indie Expansion: IBE Adds Another Market

The Indie Beauty Expo, a unique trade show for independent beauty, wellness and lifestyle brands, was born in New York City the summer of 2015. By the following Spring a sibling arrived in the form of Los Angeles. And now, IBE proudly welcomes a third to the family, Dallas.

As IBE grew, so expanded the platform and an additional day was added to the three-day event devoted solely to education and thought leadership. The decision was made because indie entrepreneurs, in addition to wanting access to buyers, press and consumers, also crave a community.

No one knows what a small business person goes through better than a fellow small business person. CONNECT INDIE was created to serve that purpose as well as provide a valuable learning opportunity to help brands achieve their business objectives and grow. It’s also a way to honor and recognize these individuals as leaders, innovators and industry pioneers.

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Jillian Wright leads a panel with fellow business owners

“IBE’s mission is not only to elevate indie brands in the marketplace, but to bring brains together in a highly creative and collaborative community,” explained co-founder Jillian Wright, also an indie brand owner who conceptualized the idea after feeling isolated and unwelcome in the larger expo market.

IBE co-founder, Nader Naeymi-Rad, echoes those sentiments, “We don’t want to just be a trade show in the conventional sense, where we provide mostly space and furniture. We are invested in the success of our exhibiting brands and deeply care, from the moment they put their trust in us and sign up, to the feedback we hear afterwards. Nothing makes us prouder than brand success stories, which I can now say after five shows is substantial.”

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Indie entrepreneurs learn how to scale their business

The Dallas Demo

IBE is still a relatively young company, so why add Dallas? The answer is strategic. Dallas is a top-ten retail market with one of the highest percentage of per-capita spending/income. Other markets were considered — and haven’t been ruled out in the future — but Dallas made sense as the next logical step in IBE’s business model.

Just like all firsts, there is a learning curve. It’s a different landscape requiring another set of navigation tools, but for its first foray into the Dallas market IBE exceeded expectations and definitely intends to return.

“Just like our indie brands, we took a risk on Dallas, but we were delighted with how receptive Texas was to what we are building,” said Wright, who is already envisioning a possible charity partnership next year.

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As for the venue and expo itself, which took place May 9-11th at the Joule Hotel for CONNECT INDIE, and sixty five hundred for SHOP and TRADE INDIE, IBE continues to deliver on it’s art-gallery aesthetic and experiential surprises, like LED cotton candy, alcohol infused ice cream (Frost 321), flower crowns (Branching Out Events) and larger-than-life photo ops. The open bar and coffee (High Brew) flowed throughout the event keeping spirits high and minds alert as indie entrepreneurs worked hard and had fun in the process.

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Having fun with flower crowns

There were over 70 exhibiting brands from around the country, including 14 Texas-based brands and a handful of international: Monte Carlo, Australia, Jordan, Korea, Dominican Republic and the UK. They represented a large cross section of the indie beauty industry and brought diversity, flavor, and new perspective.

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The next expo is August 22-24th in IBE’s birthplace, NYC, and boy has this baby grown! “We have a few exciting additions to the roster, including an expanded education track. We also have some big news, which we’re saving for IBE’s birthday. So come and be the first to find out,” hinted Naeymi-Rad.

So if you’re an indie brand in the beauty, wellness and lifestyle category that is seeking community while growing your business, the Indie Beauty Expo welcomes you to join the family.

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