By  on May 9, 2014

The music was pumping, the Champagne was flowing and the energy level at Tao Downtown was going up, up, up as the revelers chatted and laughed and mingled with one another. No matter that it was 10 a.m. on a frigid March morning and most of the people there had only just met: When you gather about 30 of beauty’s most innovative entrepreneurs into one room, their reason for being there—to be photographed for a WWD Beauty Inc cover story—quickly becomes superfluous, replaced by an unquenchable desire to meet each other and talk business.

This group of trailblazers—be they product marketers, digital technorati or pioneers in the services sector (or a combination of all three)—is bringing that same sense of vitality to the industry overall, ushering in a new era of talent and ideas that has the power to be as transformational as the original indie movement back in the Nineties. As Rachel Brown reports in “Electric Companies,” this is a group resolutely focused on what’s next. “Everything we do needs to be from the future,” said Carisa Janes, the founder of Hourglass Cosmetics, who will be speaking at our upcoming WWD Beauty CEO Summit in Palm Beach, Fla., along with six other rising stars.

While brands such as Hourglass are finding an avid audience in both consumers and retailers, their appeal is much wider. As you’ll read in “Let’s Make a Deal,” the mergers and acquisition scene is heating up again in beauty. Buyers, however, seem to outnumber attractive targets, with $50 million in wholesale sales the sweet spot for most deals. While most of the brands at Tao that morning aren’t there—yet—if their zeal is any indication, I’ve no doubt it will be sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.

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