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May Lindstrom on Why Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better

The surging interest in Indie beauty has caused some brands to explode, but supersonic growth is not every founder’s goal.

The surging interest in Indie beauty has caused some brands to explode, but supersonic growth is not every founder’s goal. May Lindstrom made a strategic decision not to push her namesake skin-care brand into store after store chasing sales. Over the last several months, she’s cut the brand’s distribution network roughly 30 percent to 60 to 70 retailers, including Shen Beauty, The Detox Market, CAP Beauty and Follain. “Without having a single sales person, marketing or public relations, we were growing month-over-month at an insane amount. That was unsustainable if I want to keep doing things by hand with a small team,” says Lindstrom, whose products are manufactured at the brand’s 12-person office in Los Angeles’ Chinatown neighborhood. “If we become big, it doesn’t
make me different than anyone else. It becomes just a factory, and I don’t want to run a factory.”

Lindstrom figures her brand’s workforce can rise to 30 without blowing up the existing business model. “I’d still be able to know every person and their families, and take care of them,” she says. “I can’t service 10,000 or 20,000 accounts or even 1,000. I can probably service about 100 and do it the way I want to.” Lindstrom’s restrained approach to her brand’s retail presence is echoed in her approach to product development. She didn’t add to its nine-item assortment last year and hasn’t so far this year. She faults unrelenting launch schedules for flooding the market with mediocre merchandise. “Outside of a couple of pieces, the collection is quite complete,” she says. “Every single piece serves a purpose.”

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