The much anticipated, first ever Indie Beauty Expo was last week and it was probably the biggest green beauty event to hit New York City since A Night For Green Beauty 2 years ago. Of course, I had to attend and I was honored to not only be attending as a blogger and beauty aficionado, but also representing the editorial team from Thoughtfully Magazine along with our beauty editor, Rebecca Casciano.
It was a full day of learning, connecting with my favorite brand founders, testing out products, discovering new brands, and schmoozing with friends and industry leaders all within a beautiful and monumental Manhattan venue, The Altman Building. IBE’s founder, Jillian Wright and her wonderful team exceeded everyone’s expectations by putting together a seriously fab event for all to enjoy and spread indie beauty love.
Physically meeting people I’ve talked to online for months (sometime years), is one of the coolest things ever. It is so great to connect in-person with individuals who are passionate about their craft and green beauty, are inspiring and encouraging on many levels, and who I feel like I’ve been friends with for years. The Indie Beauty Expo further proved to the public that green beauty is more than just a trend, it is a meaningful movement that is not going away. (Warning: this is going to be a long post…)
Going into the event, I wasn’t sure what to expect as the schedule wasn’t clearly defined. IBE was slated to be a trade show meets educational gathering, featuring presentations and panel discussions with indie beauty industry leaders. The first few hours of IBE were open only to the press while public attendees were allowed inside around 5pm. I showed up early at 9:30am for the press opening and things were already buzzing inside.
By the end of the day (for some crazy reason I stayed for 10 hours…) my feet were killing me and my stomach was beating me up, but it was well worth it.
There are no words to describe how special it is to meet and chat with brand founders in-person and to spend time with like-minded individuals who are truly inspiring and encouraging to me. We were among the likes of a ton of media influencers (Allure, InStyle, Vogue, MindBodyGreen, WWD, Lucky Magazine and more) and I think IBE really set the bar for how green beauty will be perceived and consumed by the masses. Green beauty and indie beauty is becoming mainstream and I’m excited for the future.
Some of the highlights of my day at Indie Beauty Expo:
One of my favorite booths was Lotus Wei‘s! Complete with a flowerwall photobooth station, a table with chocolate Wei samples, and the Lotus Wei flower quiz (and goodies), I was so excited to finally meet founder and flower alchemist, Katie Hess who has the most calming, radiant soul. She was so sweet and I kept finding myself back at her booth to chat and sniff all her products. I sampled some amazing flower-inflused chocolate (still dreaming about the Chai Dark Chocolate!) and took the Lotus Wei flower quiz that was set up at the table. Katie found my perfect flower remedy match for that moment: Inner Peace which was exactly what I needed (and still need): “Enhances your ability to fully express yourself and let it all hang out, feeling comfortable and confident in every situation; offers fresh perspectives after long periods of stress; calms and stabilizes during times of change and transition.”
I loved chatting with Diane Read, founder of Modern Minerals, whose table was gorgeous! Not only was I admiring the towering floral display, Modern Minerals also showcased an exciting new makeup collaboration with green beauty blogger Britanie Faith, the Beauty By Britanie Bohemian Collection which includes a beautiful bright pink lip gloss and blush formulated with flower essences and gemstones in collaboration with Lotus Wei. There are also new, butter-soft mineral eyeshadows in travel-ready packaging and the Lotus Wei Infused Emotive collection: 3 new lip gloss colors also featuring a formula of floral essences and gemstones. I was kindly offered to try out one of these lip glosses (I chose the bright coral, Coral Glow color) and I’m really loving it so far! Diane was so sweet and I enjoyed talking with her. Can’t wait to discover more of her products!
I was also glad I got to catch up with Eu2Be founder, Charla Jones whose products I have loved since trying them out last year (review here) and it’s always fun chatting with her. Not to mention, her writing is always inspiring and so informative, check out her blog posts here. If you have not experienced Eu2Be products, you’re missing out! The body oil is amazing and the scent is to die for, my review here.
I made sure to catch Sara Demelio, founder of Skincando for a free moment when her busy table wasn’t swarmed with curious customers. Sara’s products are top-notch and winter necessities for my dry skin plus, Sara created a nonprofit organization where she donates a portion of her products to U.S. troops oversees and customers can donate too. My favorite product is Skincando’s Combat Ready Balm, see more in my review here and interview with Sara here.
I finally met Julie Clark from Province Apothecary, another skincare brand I have been loving. Julie is just as wonderful and funny in person. I was so bummed when I missed meeting her in Toronto at her studio but will definitely be back for a visit and for a raved-about facial. Stay tuned for some exciting posts about Province Apothecary soon! My first Province Apothecary review here.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Annie Tevelin, founder of SkinOwl an amazing skincare brand I have been lusting after and following for so long. Annie is hilarious and so sweet, she had me laughing and wishing we had had more time to hang out! She kindly gave me a sample of the popular Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM to try, so far my skin is obsessed! Really excited to try out more Skin Owl products. I couldn’t wait to stop by and chat with Nadine and Sandra from Nu Evolution Cosmetics, their table looked amazing! I think many attendees left IBE extremely impressed by Nu Evolution’s beautiful display, sleek makeup products, and clean formulas. I didn’t realize they had just launched 2 new lipstick colors and totally missed out on seeing the new shades in person! Read my Nu Evolution Cosmetics review here. It was great to finally meet Tata Harper, founder of her eponymous luxe skincare brand, which really was one of the first natural brands to go mainstream and garner a cult following. Tata Harper products can be found nationwide at high-end shops like Neiman Marcus, Net-A-Porter and Sephora stores nationwide. I got a first look at her new Luminous Definition contour kit which was released that day and looked amazing. I was also so pleased to have met Munemi Imai, founder of another luxe cult skincare brand, MUN. Munemi so kindly chatted with me about her brand and her new releases, all while giving me some great skincare tips. Keep an eye out for new products launching soon, such as MUN’s delicious-smelling body oil (I got to test it at the event) and a travel set of MUN bestsellers.
Bottega Organica is a brand that’s received a lot of buzz and I’ve actually been testing a bunch of their products out for a while (review coming soon). Bottega products are formulated with high-quality natural ingredients harvested and processed from the brand’s own farms in Italy and upstate NY. Their table was busy all day long but I was able to chat with Lin Chen, the brand’s marketing manager. So humble and down-to-earth, Lin and I had some great conversation and not just about Bottega’s lovely products. While standing at the Osmia Organics table, Lin and I were chatting about which Osmia products she absolutely needed to try ;). I picked up some goodies for my sister from Osmia and Sarah Villafranco, with her always infectious smile and warm spirit informed me I had bought one of the last Day Creams on site. Score! I also had to sniff and feel the brand’s newest products: the Rosemary Body Mousse, Emerald Body Essence, Himalayan Body Buff, and the Organic Tea Bath. So many tempting new products! I also had to stop by the gorgeous and tempting Strange Invisible Perfumes table to have a chat with the brand’s boutique manager and sniff every single scent. I definitely do not need any more fragrances, but SIP’s botanical products are always so intriguing not to mention have the chicest packaging. Keep an eye out because I’ll soon be doing a review on a fragrance I purchased from them a little while ago… ~New Discoveries~ I was immediately drawn to the cute display for Brooklyn-based natural skincare brand, Flynn & King. The stylish girls behind Flynn & King, Summer and Corina were warm and energetic just like their intriguing, handcrafted products. Summer explained to me that they developed Flynn & King out a desire for more simplistic, effective, and healthier skincare products. The soap designs were too cute! I love that their products are unisex, multi-use handcrafted, all-natural and organic, and consciously made. Lots of nice goodies the mister and I could both use! I couldn’t pass by The Good Home Co. table which featured natural, handcrafted aromatherapy homecare products, just what I am obsessed with at the moment. The NY-based brand was showcasing their newest collection of handmade aromatherapy blends, all of which are natural. The new collection is not released at their online shop yet. I couldn’t resist picking up a Scentball: an electronic scent diffusor that plugs into wall outlets, and the Calm blend: formulated to promote peacefulness with ingredients like roman chamomile and lavender essential oils. I’ve already been loving how the Scentball and Calm blend makes my home smell, can’t wait to share more details! I really also wanted to try one of the new room fragrance sprays but figured the Scentball would be enough to try first. The legendary Christopher Drummond Beauty line recently rebranded this year as Hynt Beauty so I was interested to see what they had displayed. I admired the new packaging and tested out a few products. I’d not previously tried anything from Christopher Drummond but the concealer was definitely always raved about within the green beauty community. Definitely expect Hynt Beauty formulas to be just as high-quality and fabulous, the highly-pigmented concealers and foundations intrigued me. I’ll definitely be looking forward to trying out Hynt Beauty products this year. Violets Are Blue was a new brand discovery for me. This all-natural skincare line was created by Cynthia Besteman when she was diagnosed with breast cancer out of a personal need for more all-natural, safe skincare products. Violets Are Blue has a simplistic product lineup with two collections: the Signature Line (basics like cleanser, deodorant, and body lotion) and the Beloved Line (unscented products specifically for sensitive skin). You can tell from the ingredients that these products all formulated with much thought and love. To brighten the day for women beginning chemotherapy treatment, the NYC-based brand also donates a gift package of all their products to New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. I was first intrigued by the design of Folium Medica‘s skincare products and once I got talking with brand founder, Natasha Samardzic I was even more curious about her all-natural formulations and science behind her products. Folium Medica products are uniquely formulated using botanicals native to Europe and the Mediterranean. The products center on remedies for different skin types and ailments. There is the Fade Powerful Scar Remover which is a facial serum, the Athlete Potion for Irritate Skin and Dermatitis, and even Corset Essential Breast Firming Oil which, Natasha clearly explained is to boost skin elasticity and stimulate blood circulation, not for trying to grow bigger boobs. I love that there is a purposefulness for every Folium Medica product and the thoughtfulness behind the ingredients used. Natasha gave me a sample of Corset to try and I love how moisturizing it feels. I’m definitely looking forward to discovering more about Folium Medica products. I also had to stop by to test out some blogger-favorite, KYPRIS organic skincare products and on the way, discovered a beautiful natural makeup line, Rituel De Fille. I definitely need some KYPRIS serums in my life (can’t stop thinking about the Serums and Body Elixir). FitGlow Beauty is a cruelty-free, natural, mineral-based skincare and beauty brand based in Canada that recently launched in the U.S. I was intrigued by the beautiful mineral makeup especially, the colorful eyeshadows, pigmented liquid foundations, and high-quality BB Creams. The skincare products were also of great quality and expertly formulated. I have some things I’m testing and will update with my thoughts soon! I was also in love with the gorgeous display at the Arya Essentials booth. Arya Essentials is a natural skincare line inspired by Ayurveda, a natural Indian healing practice. The new, alcohol-free Purifying Toner was on display and was really nice. I also got to take a peek at a new release, the Bath and Body Gift Set which will feature two beautiful body scrubs. I’m excited to be trying out the luxurious Body Oil and Face Oil and will report back soon!
Finally, I can’t end a recap without mentioning my lovely NYC blogger buds because every time we get together it’s a hilarious party and it feels like we’ve known each other forever! It’s always great seeing Katie, Sarita, Tina, Jackie, Yeiza, and meeting new friends like Andrea and Rebeckah. I also finally had the pleasure of meeting more lovely girls all of whom I’ve become friends with online, Taylor (My Lucite Dreams), Danielle (The Glamorganic Goddess), Britanie (Beauty by Britanie), Ru (Short, Small & Sweet) and Tricia. It’s always so nice to be in the presence of such lovely, like-minded people! My face hurt so much from laughing and gabbing with everyone.
More lovelies we had the pleasure to spend time with @rebeccacasciano @pleinvanity @saritacoren #IndieBeautyExpo #thoughtfullymag @indiebeautyexpo A photo posted by Diane Read (@diane_modernminerals) on
No event is perfect and IBE was a huge undertaking in which I applaud Jillian and her team. But I’m sure there were a lot of lessons to learn in preparation for planning the next event: I was a bit bummed with the layout of the event just because the area where the presentations were held was right in the middle of the trade show floor, flanked on all sides by busy brand tables and loud chatter.
The talks were interesting but it was hard to focus and hear the presenters, while the limited seating and crowded space didn’t really allow for attendees to feel encouraged to listen in. I also think the length of the event was very long. As much as I love spending time with amazing products and people, I was tired from 10 hours and can only imagine how exhausted the brands were from a full day of chatting and promoting their products. There was too much of a gap in time for when press and the public were allowed at the event.
IBE also had an overwhelming amount of brands present, I was very happily surprised. It was just a bummer that even though I spent about 10 hours at the event, there were still some booths I missed! That only means we need more of these events and maybe have it span more than 1 day? 🙂
With that said, Indie Beauty Expo was an amazing event that successfully brought together consumers, brands, buyers, and the press to prove that natural and indie beauty is more than just a trend. Indie Beauty Expo was definitely a highlight event of my year! Can’t wait for another one!
Did you attend Indie Beauty Expo? What fun green beauty events have you been to recently?
*All photos credited. Group photos courtesy of Sarita Coren.