As if there was any doubt, indie beauty brands are the future of the industry — a point driven home by Cosmetic Executive Women’s Newsmaker Forum at the Harmonie Club Wednesday night.

Vennette Ho, managing director at Financo, gave a keynote address discussing how to identify growth opportunities in the beauty market and how indies are filling that space. She also reviewed the large number of now-mainstream brands, such as MAC Cosmetics, Essie and Kiehl’s, that were snapped up in the last frenzied round of indie-brand buying.

Speaking of frenzied, Ho noted that in the 2014 and 2015 time frame, more than 40 beauty mergers and acquisitions took place, from the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.’s purchases of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Le Labo, Glamglow and Rodin Olio Lusso to Unilever’s recent purchases of Dermalogica and Kate Somerville to L’Oréal’s snapping up of Carol’s Daughter; NYX Cosmetics; Sayuki Custom Cosmetics; Brazil’s Niely Cosméticos; maker of Chinese facial masks Magic Holdings International Ltd.; Decléor and Carita.

Of the deals closed, 90 percent of them were related to indie brands, said Ho — and 73 percent of transactions involved acquisitions of indie brands generating under $58 million in wholesale revenue yearly.

After Ho spoke, Jill Scalamandre, senior vice president of the Philosophy brand and chief marketing officer for Coty Prestige Skincare at Coty Inc. and CEW chairwoman, moderated a panel comprised of Jenny Frankel, founder and president of Nudestix; Dr. Roshini Raj, a gastroenterologist and founder of Tula Beauty, and Sabrina Tan, founder of Skin Inc. Skin Supplement Bar comprised the panel.

Each panelist shared how she built her brand, explaining how they found points of difference and white space in the industry — Frankel in simple, portable cosmetics in crayon form, along with her secret weapons of social media, her teenage daughters; Raj, in probiotics, and Tan in customizable skin care.

The panel marked the first time Frankel, Raj and Tan have spoken at a CEW event, said Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW. “These women stand out among the crowd because of their passion and creativity in launching new beauty brands,” Jacobson said.