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Natural Beauty and Wellness Meet at Indie Beauty Expo

A total of 70 independent brands showed in Dallas.

DALLAS — Green beauty was on the radar of Neiman Marcus and other luxury stores shopping Indie Beauty Expo’s inaugural show in Dallas last week.

IBE, which also presents conventional products, showcased 70 independent brands Thursday at Sixty Five Hundred, an event space near Dallas Love Field airport. A majority of them were by women entrepreneurs.

“We’re interested in this movement toward natural beauty and wellness,” said Kelly St. John, Neiman’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager for beauty in stores and online.

She plans to test the category in June at Neiman’s at NorthPark Center here and the Shops at Willow Bend in nearby Plano. The displays will connect to ath-leisure apparel instead of cosmetics.

“We want to experiment with it in our backyard to learn,” St. John said. “I’ve been getting a big education on it. It’s like learning a whole new category of business, and it’s exciting.”

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She plans to roll out natural beauty areas in stores this fall plus highlight green cosmetics and treatments on the web site.

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St. John was intrigued by several resources at IBE, including: Antonym, Hollywood, Fla., natural and organic cosmetics; Beneath Your Mask, Houston, botanical and mineral skin and hair treatments; Olverum, London, therapeutic botanical bath oil, and Element, Charleston, S.C., hypoallergenic and soot-free fragrant soy candles with wooden wicks.

Breaking with tradition, St. John noted, “Maybe we’ll just have the hero product instead of the whole line.”

The only natural beauty brands that Neiman’s carries are Tata Harper and Hum nutritional supplements.

More than 100 buyers from Nordstrom, Forty Five Ten, Target, Dillard’s, Rue21, Ulta, Credo, Cap Beauty and Free People shopped the expo, according to IBE cofounder Jillian Wright.

“Now that we know Dallas has welcomed IBE, we’ll probably get a bigger space next year,” she said.

Key trends included products for sensitive skin, customizable facial serums, natural cosmetics in a diverse range of skin tones, pain-relieving oils and creams tailored to women, and the continuing popularity of Korean masks, she noted.

A number of the vendors launched their brands at the show.

Among them was Lisa Cohorn, who previously worked in product development at Estée Lauder and Mary Kay. She displayed a patented, natural exfoliant for sensitive skin based on the oil from cotton buds. Called Camille Coton, the brand’s “oil float” technology uses no emulsifiers, beads or acids, she explained.

Cohorn, who grew up on a cotton farm in West Texas and lives in Dallas, said she concocted the exfoliant and a soothing serum for her own rosacea-plagued skin.

“I began playing around with stuff my mom and grandmother had done and honestly, I stumbled upon it,” she said.

Another debut was the namesake treatment line by veteran product developer Colleen Rothschild.

“We’re only online, and now I think it’s time to take it to the next level,” said Rothschild, who is based in Dallas. “We sell in 38 countries — Dubai, Europe, Russia — all by word of mouth.”

Introduced less than three years ago via social media, Colleen Rothschild’s hero products are Radiant Cleansing Balm and Sheer Renewal Cream moisturizer.

Milk + Honey, a spa, and natural bath and body company that sells to Whole Foods, was also new to trade shows. Founder Alissa Bayer said her bestseller “by far” is an aluminum-free cream deodorant made of coconut oil, shea butter and essential oils. She plans to test a skin-care line this summer in her five Texas spas.

In addition, Bloom Mineral Beauty, Chesapeake, Va., launched face and body treatments made in Jordan with Dead Sea mud and minerals.

IBE also offered an optional day of business tutorials for vendors and a party for media, influencers and customers.

“It’s a good chance to be exposed to consumers, press and buyers instead of just a regular trade event,” observed four-time IBE exhibitor Kristen O’Connell, who manufactures her Florapy Beauty masks in South Korea. “We can directly tie press features and buyers to this, so we know it works.”