The beauty industry is in a period of transition, and Jillian Wright, cofounder of Indie Beauty Media Group (IBMG), is leading the charge. A trained aesthetician, Wright owned an eponymous spa and skincare line for years, but she struggled to scale her business — and found little in the way of resources.
“I was let down and frustrated,” says Wright. “I needed a place to meet the right people, but it didn’t exist. All I needed was that one retailer to believe in me.”
In 2014, Wright was walking across Madison Avenue to her spa when her a-ha moment hit — and she realized she could be the change.
“I simply stopped and said, ‘I’m going to create my own expo … Indie Beauty Expo.’”
And so, she did. One year later, she held the inaugural Indie Beauty Expo in New York, bringing to life her vision of a “one-stop shop,” where consumers, press, and retailers could experience a curated assortment of indie brands.
IBMG has been on the fast track ever since, adding shows in Los Angeles, London, and yes, Dallas. Drawn to Dallas' burgeoning cultural scene and beauty base — it's growing into a hub for beauty and skin care — vendors voted Dallas over Miami and Chicago.
"It's a hidden gem and had major legs to stand on its own as a major culture hub," says Wright. "On top of that, the people are so nice."
Next month, Wright and a bevy of indie brands will take over event venue Sixty Five Hundred for two days. On May 9, ticket-holding beauty junkies from the public will have access to Shop Indie, where they'll be able to interact with founders and shop to their hearts' content. Trade Indie kicks off the following day, May 10, catering to buyers, investors, and members of the press.
What to expect? Brands such as Cotarde, Mila D’Optiz, Emma Hardie and Vital Proteins, to name a few of Wright’s favorites. They must be 50 percent independently owned and operated by their founders or their founders’ counterparts. Essentially, niche and under-the-radar brands that are anything but mass market.
For newbies, the experience can be a bit overwhelming. Wright suggests first-timers bring friends, divide and conquer, and remember to have fun, thinking of it as the ultimate beauty party.
"We've set out to create an ecosystem for indie brands and the people who love and support them," says Wright. "Independent beauty is the fastest growing sector in the beauty industry with no intention of slowing down. I think people feel better about spending their money on brands they connect with. They like to know where their dollars are going and to support brand that are entrepreneurial."
Shop Indie will take place at 6500 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas on Wednesday, May 9 from 5-9 pm. Tickets can be purchased here for $30 (general admission) or $99 (VIP). Learn more at indiebeautyexpo.com.