In October, the retailer teamed with the Indie Beauty Expo to launch ShopTheExpo, an event held at Neiman Marcus’ NorthPark Center location in Dallas that showcased 15 indie beauty brands found at the Indie Beauty Expo. Now, the retailer is bringing the initiative to its Fashion Island location in Newport Beach, Calif., with 18 brands.
“[ShopTheExpo] offers a really great shop that is carefully curated with some of the brands we feel are in the new horizon of beauty today,” said Jennifer Robinson, divisional merchandise manager at Neiman Marcus. “The expo allows us to bring many of the founders to market and it’s a great way to engage our customers with some of these brands’ creators.”
Neiman Marcus first approached the Indie Beauty Expo last August after seeing the large number of indie and natural brands across all beauty categories at the expo in New York. The founders and brand stories stood out to the retailer and gave them the idea to launch ShopTheExpo to give these brands the platform to share their vision.
“Consumer preferences are shifting in favor of smaller brands,” said Nader Naeymi-Rad, cofounder of the Indie Beauty Expo. “That’s going to happen with or without us, so the question is how do we help indie brands get the most out of this movement and leverage it to their advantage. Our hope is that through programs like this we can help indie brands extract more value from this movement and position themselves for accelerated growth.”
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The ShopTheExpo at Fashion Island will be similar to the one held at the NorthPark Center location. Brand founders will be on site to do demos and educate customers on their brands. The brands include Eleni & Chris, La Sirène, Pistache Skincare, RealHer Cosmetics, Meant, Absorb Beauty, Circcell, Josephine Cosmetics, Le Prunier, Swiss Smile, Beneath Your Mask and Ranavat Botanics, which span skin care, hair care, makeup and ingestibles. The products will be available at the Fashion Island store and online.
“Increasingly in beauty as in fashion I think merchant teams are realizing that the old way of doing business, which is these long buying cycles is no longer the only way to do it,” Naeymi-Rad continued on what the partnership brings to Neiman Marcus. “They need to be supplemented with a much faster buying process.”
The expansion of Neiman Marcus’ collaboration with the Indie Beauty Expo shows the growing trend of traditional department stores trying to diversify their beauty departments with indie or natural brands to attract a different type of customer. For example, Bloomingdale’s introduced Glowhaus, its Millennial-targeting assortment of niche brands, and Saks Fifth Avenue revamped its beauty floor at its flagship location with new digital fixtures and an open floor plan.
Neiman Marcus has plans to continue hosting these ShopTheExpo events at its other locations across the country and working with more indie brands.
“Indie brands are interesting and they have a story,” Naeymi-Rad said. “They have the natural advantage of being able to get people online or in-store to take a look at what’s new and why it’s different.”