What is Indie Beauty? | SMH Branding

When I first started buying make up, the reasoning was quite simple: A blemish needed some covering up or my lips were too pale. If I needed a product, I would go to the department or drug store, both of which would carry the usual big name, trusted brands like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal.

Nowadays, buying make-up is a whole ordeal that involves multiple rounds of YouTube-review-consulting and Instagram-stalking to narrow down your choices from the endless number of specialty brands popping up everywhere.

Beauty is becoming more personal than ever before–big brands are conceding market share, brands that cater to diversity are growth engines for conglomerates.

The landscape of the beauty industry has shifted in large part because of the emergence of millennial and Gen-Z buyers whose preferences have helped smaller brands carve into the market share of longstanding beauty corporations. These generations don’t just want a good product. They want to feel that the product enhances their lifestyle, and that they are better people by using the product. 

What is an indie beauty brand? 

It is simply a business that is independently owned, as in, it does not receive any corporately-backed funding to keep it going and its startup funds come from the shop owner.

Wouldn’t that mean all independently owned businesses are “indie”? Not quite. Indie beauty is really about so much more...

Health Conscious 

This lifestyle of health and sustaina­bility philosophy raised consumer awareness of the need for sustaina­bility, environmental and social responsi­bility. Along with that the growing natural and wellness movements used the internet to research information and educate consumers about ingredients and animal testing protocols.

Direct to Consumer

While some of them over their lifetimes can be found in offline retailers such as Sephora, Ulta and Target, the majority of these brands start out as Direct To Consumer (DTC), thereby accelerating their own growth with faster access to their customers and the elimination of retail costs.

Not only has the direct-to-consumer path made the cost of entry for a small business owner affordable, it has also been a way for those players to quickly respond to trends, benefits and key ingredients that consumers want in their products. It is for this reason that the internet has helped to birth so many new indie brands.

Social Media

Social media is many indie brands’ sole marketing channel. This is in part because indie brands have small budgets — running social media accounts is a cost-efficient way to reach potential customers.

Social media is the primary communication method for Gen Z and millennials. This younger consumer has been the focus of social media-based marketing efforts by many indie and traditional brands. Instagram, YouTube and Twitter are inexpensive channels for brand’s to communicate and educate consumers using influencers and bloggers.

Clean Ingredients

Indie brands focus on a combination of organic, clean, and vegan ingredients and personalized service with unit customization of products. Founders of these niche indie beauty brands are filling in voids they witnessed first-hand, both as customers and ex-beauty professionals.

Do you need our help?

At SMH Branding, we excel at growing incredible indie beauty brands, from idea to launch, across every product type. With deep consumer and industry insight, we build smart media and business strategies that help brands thrive. Reach out and shine with us today. Take our masterclass for a step by step guide to build your own beauty brand. 

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