Riding a wave of interest in emerging beauty brands, Indie Beauty Expo is expanding by adding a Los Angeles edition, lengthening the duration of its shows and increasing the number of exhibitors.
The first Indie Beauty Expo in Los Angeles — and second overall after the event kicked off with a sold-out New York trade show Aug. 27 last year — will be held May 4 and 5 at the Shrine Auditorium’s expo hall. The subsequent New York show will take place Aug. 24 and 25 at The Waterfront.
“In 2016, we are really doubling down on everything,” said Nader Naeymi-Rad, cofounder of Indie Beauty Expo and chief executive officer of luxury fashion company Vesture. “We are doing twice the number of shows. L.A. is a critical market. Not only is it a large market, but it has a huge radius of influencers up and down the West Coast.”
Future shows will be substantially bigger than Indie Beauty Expo’s 80-brand inaugural edition. An estimated 160 brands will participate in each event and, overall, 200 to 230 brands are expected to participate across both events. Early registration began in December for brands on the waiting list for the previous show and brands that had displayed before and, already, 60 have signed up to be involved this year.
Skin care is the largest category represented at Indie Beauty Expo, but color cosmetics, nail and hair-care brands have strong presences as well. To be considered indie, brands must be 50 percent independently owned by the people operating them. Among those taking part in upcoming shows are Violets are Blue, Très Pure, Pristine Beauty, Oxalis, Odacité, Marie Veronique, Mahalo Care, London Brush Co., Kopari Beauty, Java Skincare, Emmaus and Circ-Cell.
“Based on our research, there are well north of 1,000 indie brands in North America. Every time we research, we find more. We are barely scratching the surface. There is so much pent-up demand,” said Naeymi-Rad. “We believe that 160 brands per show is enough to draw all the right buyers, press and consumers.”
Although the exact hours of the shows are still being finalized, they will likely span from the afternoon to the evening on the initial day and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the final day. There will be dedicated time periods for press, buyers and consumers to attend.
In August, Indie Beauty Expo drew more than 300 consumers, 100 members of the press and 200 buyers from retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Target, Barneys New York, Nordstrom, Shen Beauty and Birchbox. Brands pay on average slightly less than $5,000 to get in front of those attendees.
Indie Beauty Expo cofounder Jillian Wright, founder of the Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Spa and a namesake skin-care brand, conceived of the expo because no existing trade show presented her products the way she envisioned.
“I didn’t want my brand to be put in a pavilion or off to the side,” she said. “I wanted my brand to be front and center. We put so much of our identity into our products, and it is really important to have this platform that is fully independent beauty.”