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Indie Beauty Expo Expands Programming, Launches Content Platform

IBE is headed to London in 2018.

The Indie Beauty Expo is growing into more than just a trade show.

The business, which launched in 2015 with a one-day expo, has expanded to multiple cities with a set of new offerings — including a full day of indie beauty education and its own publication. IBE’s geographic expansion — which now includes shows in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas — will continue in 2018 with London in October.

The Indie Beauty Expo’s third New York show will be held Aug. 22-24 with 225 brands in the skin, hair, nail, fragrance, tool, ingestible and lifestyle categories exhibiting. IBE estimates that 750 buyers, 600 members of the press or influencers and about 2,200 consumers will attend the show.

Day One is focused on education. Called Connect Indie, programming includes educational classes and panels that are meant to highlight the things indie beauty entrepreneurs need to know. For the first time, IBE is expanding its class offering into levels — 100, 200 or 300 — where entrepreneurs can learn different skills.

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“We realized that while they all have a lot of passion, the experience, knowledge and know-how of the beauty industry, the channels or [knowledge of] how to be a business person was highly variable,” said Nader Naeymi-Rad, cofounder of IBE. “There was a real need to help these people learn quickly and learn things they can apply immediately to their business. When you’re at a show and sitting at an exhibition space you can’t go to a class because that’s exactly when the buyer from Ulta’s going to show up — that’s just Murphy’s Law.”

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Classes are aimed at giving beauty executives an idea of how things like the beauty buying and retail landscape work, as well as insights into valuation and the investing world.

“On the retail side, we have a retail landscape course to help people understand what are the different segments in the buyer community,” Naeymi-Rad said. “Because for a lot of brands who are new, they’re like, ‘oh, a buyer from Rue La La came to see me.’ Well, Rue La La is a very different type of organization than Ritz Carlton Spa, which is very different than Ulta, which is very different from QVC.” IBE will provide a deep dive on the home shopping channels, plus a 300-level class on the anatomy of a wholesale contract in New York, he noted. There will also be investor and capital classes. 

IBE’s expanded educational offering comes at the same time as its new publication — Beauty Independent.

“[Indie beauty entrepreneurs] want education — they want actionable knowledge,” Naeymi-Rad said. “Large trend stories are interesting, but they may not survive another year to see that trend come to fruition. They want to know today how do I run a Shopify campaign to improve my sales by 30 percent so I can pay my suppliers.”

Beauty Independent will also cover topics like price establishment, relevant technologies and indie beauty companies. The publication will also link to outside news sources, and was developed for mobile consumption, Naeymi-Rad said.

In addition to its content and expanded trade show presence, IBE is also working with retailers who are looking to indie-up their beauty departments, Naeymi-Rad noted.

The IBE team — both at events and between them — connects beauty buyers with brands, a part of the operation the business may consider growing. “If somebody’s exhibiting at IBE and a retailer is interested in them, we make the connection immediately,” said Naeymi-Rad.