10 Innovative Beauty Founders We Loved At IBE

10 Innovative Beauty Founders

We Loved At IBE

Photo courtesy of Vow Beauty

I don’t think there’s anything quite like an arena of entrepreneurs, banding together under the name of Indie, and showcasing their immense talents for an entire city to see.

Jillian Wright’s Indie Beauty Expo was a mere fledgling concept back in 2015 when it made its New York debut. Two years and three cities later, Wright’s Expo became home to over 220 vendors for a massive three-day event.

SWAAY spoke to Wright about the incredible level of growth the expo has achieved, and what her future plans are for IBE.

“IBE went from a one-day show in New York two years ago to a three-day show in three markets (New York, Los Angeles and Dallas) this year,” says Wright, continuing, “nearly 230 indie beauty brands, including 191 woman-owned brands, exhibited at Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) in New York. More than 2,000 attendees flocked to the trade show over the course of two days to check out those brands.” Indeed, among these attendees were some big retail names.

Wright was candid in revealing the brands onsite looking to find “the next big thing.” Among them were Target, Whole Foods, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Lord & Taylor. And of course, in light of this success, Wright has looked abroad to continue her success. IBE has officially begun its dependance on Europe, with the first expo in London scheduled for October 2018.

As we sauntered through the aisles of entrepreneurs donning their best and bravest faces for the expo, we couldn’t help noticing how many women were at the head of the stands. Women have traditionally consumed the beauty industry, rather than run it. That trend has been upturned. Without a doubt, women are at the forefront of innovation in beauty – from chemists to perfumers and beyond. They are also leading the way in natural, organic beauty in a movement away from the chemical based cosmetics of old.

A special shout-out goes to Fizz&Bubble, Ranavat Botanics, Teadora, Map of the Heart and Reina Rebelde for their awesome displays and brand innovation.

Below, SWAAY talks to a just a few of the Founders of these incredible brands that stood out at IBE.

1. Jennifer Botto, Founder, Thorn & Bloom
Jennifer Botto, Founder, Thorn&Bloom

Jennifer Botto, one of a handful of perfumers at the show, was extremely passionate about the organic and natural cause. “I have an agricultural background,” begins Botto, continuing, “I grew up on a farm in upstate New York and it’s really about connecting yourself to the land into something that’s real and authentic and I like to say we’re beyond natural. We are botanical because that indicates the connection to agriculture because right now so many brands can natural however it can still have a rose aromatic that has never been from a rose plant. We like to make a connection that (our essences are) actually coming from a rose.” The movement away from chemicals in perfume is evidently on the rise and we expect to be seeing a lot more of Thorn and Bloom because of this (and their really cute bottles). 

2. Andrea Pierce-Naymon, Founder, OY-L Skincare

Naymon founded this brand when her daughter fell ill and she wanted to make a soothing body butter for her. “I was a beauty lover- I used everything and then when I started looking at what was in the products I was like oh my god this is not good, half of it scared me to death,” she laughs. So Naymon decided to create her own brand, OY-L. Her products really speak for themselves. Made from all-natural ingredients, some of which include strawberry seeds and Manuka honey, the line showcased so well at last year’s show that Saks called two weeks later wanting to sell the brand the store. Following this incredible success, the line will now be sold in uber trendy retailer KITH.

3. Lori Fenn, Founder, LUA Beauty
Lori Fenn. Photo courtesy of Heather Kirchoffer

LUA Beauty’s booth hit us with a bang. The artistry of the line coupled with Founder Lori Fenn’s beaming enthusiasm for her products was entrancing. “I’ve always been focused on all natural stuff, vegan-vegetarian all that and I’ve always loved art so I just try to mix the two together. You know – do what you love,” says Fenn who also told SWAAY that her line, as bold and fun as it was, would be the perfect line for a girl starting out with make up and in need of a regimen. LUA’s colorful sophistication will tailor especially well to the teen market which is sometimes forgotten and yet represents consumers wth serious spending power.  

4. Valerie Giraud, Co-Founder, Antonym Cosmetics
Antonym Cosmetics Quatro

Valerie Giraud’s collection of natural cosmetics, Antonym, was one of the expo’s stand out booths. This French woman’s line contradicts every notion people might have about natural cosmetics as being “hippy” or lacking in sophistication. “There is a misconception that natural looks natural and cannot cross over and be glamorous” she says. Housed in bamboo shells, this mineral make up line is to die for and we’re a little obsessed.

5. Sholayide Otugalu, Founder, Joséphine Cosmetics
Joséphine Cosmetics

Joséphine Cosmetics, founded and produced in Brooklyn, NY by Sholayide Otugalu, is another completely organic and vegan cosmetics line with an air of glamour rarely seen from a line with such attributes. The line exudes an air of old Parisian glamour from the Josephine Baker era. “What we have is a makeup collection that can sit next to Giorgio Armani or Nars and still give you the same color pallets they do but in an organic and healthy way. All our ingredients are vegan, toxin free, free of dyes- so it really is the feel good, look good type of brand.” 

6. Sandra Weir, Founder, Gloss Naturals
Gloss Naturals

This all-natural, vegan friendly, toxin-free nail brand, comprised of dozens of bright shades and other nail care accessories, has been making moves of late in the nails sector of beauty. Having entered the market at the right time, Founder Sandra Weir, says “it was the kind of movement in Miami in the natural nail space area- we were successful right away. I did it out of necessity, I just felt like we didn’t have something like this in Miami.” Sold and used in salons throughout the country, Weir owns her own salon also, and consequently hopes to expand Gloss with the help of IBE. 

7. Tangela N.Griffin, Esq., Founder, Vow Beauty

Vow’s commitment to natural and reasonably-priced ingredients stems from their Founder’s annoyance with overpriced skincare. Tangela N.Griffin, a lawyer by trade, began building her collection of cheeky, accessible skincare, with fun packaging and creative names back in 2015, and officially launched just last week. “The products are fragrance free, alcohol free, phthalate free, paraben free and cruelty free so really you’re getting the bare bones. I wanted something accessible, something people feel comfortable taking a chance on,” she says. 

Vow Beauty
8. Ulli Haslacher, Founder, Pour Moi
Pour Moi

Ulli Haslacher’s collection of creams and serums was perhaps the most intriguing in the show, for the simple fact that she is tackling aging complexion from a climate perspective, and giving to the women of the world a skincare regime for each season. Haslacher’s line adjusts actives and other ingredients based on climate and when you’ll be using heating or air conditioning. “We are the world’s first climate-smart skincare. We believe where you live and where you travel to makes a difference in your skin,” says Haslacher, who made Pour Moi’s global launch at IBE and indeed caused quite a stir.

9. Ashley Ocampo, Founder, Haleys Beauty

Haleys might only have two products on the market right now – a primer and a liquid foundation, but we imagine there’s a lot more to come after what we saw at the expo. Founder Ashley Ocampo pledges to stay within the realm of complexion and continue to kill that beauty sphere. Of the Haleys primer, Ocampo had to say: “people call it an Instagram filter for your skin and you can wear it on make up free days. The primer has a high percentage of vitamin C so I wear it at night with my night cream and the next day my skin is just radiant.” The collection, which is also vegan and cruelty free,is packed with skin-erecting anti-oxidants, vitamins and botanicals.

10. Anoop Mohan, Founder, Bare Alchemy
Bare Alchemy

Okay so this brand was founded by a man, Anoop Mahan, but we had to include it because of his devotion to women. Before launching the line, Mohan traveled for six months with a matriarchal tribe in Australia. Utilizing what he observed of the tribe’s nutrition and health regimes for his business, he created Baré Alchemy. This all-natural serum comes in three forms – for oily, normal or sensitive skin, and is brimming with Vitamin C. “I chose a serum instead of a cream because I believe it’s the purest expression of our cosmetic. It’s water based, it’s botanical and there’s nothing superficial in it. It goes into the cells and does its job, that’s it,” says Mohan.

Amy Corcoran

Head of Content at SWAAY: Amy is an Irish writer, avid foodie and feminist with an insatiable appetite for novels and empowering women's writing. She has enjoyed calling Dublin, Paris and now New York her home.

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