Transforming the Beauty Media – an interview with Beauty Independent

2017-12 Beauty Independent

Rachel Brown is the Editor for Beauty Independent, a digital publication dedicated to pioneering entrepreneurs in the indie beauty businesses. Since the publication’s launch in 2017, we’ve been featured twice too – check out Skincare shoppers are increasingly saying no thank you to synthetic ingredients and How to navigate the public relations process

We’re excited about Beauty Independent as this is the first publication we’ve seen that really caters for indie brands. We interviewed Rachel to learn more about Beauty Independent’s mission and find out where Rachel thinks the indie beauty movement is going.

Hi Rachel, what are you trying to achieve with Beauty Independent that the mainstream media has failed to do?

Rachel Brown Beauty Independent 2In March of this year, Indie Beauty Expo co-founder Nader Naeymi-Rad reached out to me to discuss his idea for creating a publication dedicated to indie beauty. He was frustrated that the trade publications covering the beauty industry didn’t provide indie beauty brands and retailers the attention and information they warranted.

I wholeheartedly agreed and, in August, Beauty Independent launched with a focus on the indie beauty segment. While other publications definitely cover indie beauty, especially since we launched, we are entirely committed to writing about beauty entrepreneurs and elements of the beauty business that are important to them.

At another publication, I might be chasing down news about L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and Unilever, but, at Beauty Independent, I’m much more interested in Agent Nateur, Osmia Organics, FAR Botanicals, Vera Mona, Vintner’s Daughter and The Honey Pot. I’m intent on listening to and responding to the needs of emerging beauty brand founders and retailers.

How does Beauty Independent tie into the Indie Beauty Expo?

Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) is Beauty Independent’s parent company. IBE has been incredibly generous in its support of Beauty Independent. Without IBE, we would not have been able to launch or produce content on a daily basis. We haven’t received a single dollar in advertising, and we are able to operate due to IBE’s financial backing.

Eventually, I would love for Beauty Independent to be self-sufficient and, like all indie beauty enterprises, the publication has to figure out ways to generate revenue.

When it comes to articles, Beauty Independent covers the entire indie beauty landscape. While we do write about many brands that have participated in IBE because they’re rising stars on the indie beauty scene, we are by no means limited to brands that have exhibited or will exhibit at the trade show.

Read our @beautyindie_ interview to learn how they are transforming the #indiebeauty media Click To Tweet

Do you think indie beauty is going mainstream?

The answer to this question really depends on your definition of mainstream. Certainly, indie beauty is bigger than it’s ever been. A large segment of beauty shoppers has bought or will buy products from indie brands. So, if your definition of mainstream is penetration of people’s bathrooms and handbags, then indie beauty might be moving in the mainstream direction.

However, there’s an outsider spirit and a willingness to challenge convention on the parts of many of indie beauty brand founders antithetical to traditional corporate beauty structures. Those qualities aren’t mainstream qualities, and I hope founders keep them rather than adopt mainstream mentalities.

Beauty Independent splits its articles into Profiles, News and Knowledge – what do these mean and how do they cater for indie beauty brands?

Before the launch of Beauty Independent, I anticipated the publication would concentrate on news about indie beauty brands breaking into retailers, receiving investment, running ad campaigns, putting out products, etc., the sort of stuff I had been writing about for years as a trade journalist.

Then, I spoke to more than 100 indie beauty founders and merchants about what content would be helpful to them. They were keenly interested in hearing from others like them and being educated about facets of the beauty business that generally are covered only superficially.

So, we totally changed Beauty Independent’s approach to content to deliver educational pieces and in-depth profiles as well as news stories. Our Knowledge section incorporates those educational pieces, which include No Stupid Question articles asking beauty entrepreneurs questions relevant to their businesses, Expert Dialogue discussions with authorities on a given topic, and Core Concepts explainers on specific aspects of the beauty industry.

Our Profiles section features extensive Q&A pieces on beauty brand founders, retailers and impactful personalities. The News category is where we place the more standard news stories. Of course, you won’t find our news stories in most publications because of our intense focus on indie beauty brands oftentimes ignored elsewhere.

What have been your most interesting interviews to date?

I have been very fortunate in my life, more fortunate than I deserve. I truly enjoy and admire listening to and covering the stories of beauty brand founders who have traveled down tougher roads than I have and bring unique perspectives as well as unique beauty products to the world.

Examples of Beauty Independent stories showcasing such founders include ones on From Molly With Love, FAR Botanicals and Vera Mona. Although I’m not always successful in this endeavor, I’m always striving to cover the underdogs in the beauty industry that deserve more exposure than they usually get.

What do you think are the key trends in indie beauty at the moment?

There are so many trends and remarkable developments in indie beauty! I’m very curious to see how interested the consumer will become in where beauty ingredients come from and the complex supply chain that carries them into stores.

I’m fascinated by the impact of Amazon on the retail environment and how physical indie beauty stores such as Content Beauty & Wellbeing, Credo, Follain, Aillea and The Detox Market retain customers as retail sales continue to shift online.

Millennials, of course, are shaping the beauty market of tomorrow with their inclusivity proclivity, attachment to cellphones and dismissal of traditional beauty norms. As a member of Gen X, I may be loath to admit this truism, but the beauty industry is improving to meet their demands. I wonder if ageism is going to be the next sore subject that the beauty industry tackles. Caroline Hirons wrote a compelling takedown of beauty brands’ attitudes toward age.

As I head into my Forties, I don’t see myself reflected much in beauty imagery, and I wonder if beauty brands will wake up to that fact as older Millennials turn Forty. The merging of wellness and beauty affords indie beauty brands tremendous opportunities to address areas they’ve only brushed the surface of in the past like pain management, gut health, sleep and menstruation.

I could prattle on and on about all the exciting things happening in indie beauty. I will make this suggestion instead: Just call me if you want to chat about trends. I would love to hear your thoughts.


Thank you to Rachel for sharing her story with us! Make sure you follow Beauty Independent at the following links:



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Lorraine Dallmeier

Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.


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