Cosmetic Executive Women, Inc. (CEW) was pleased to welcome Britta Fleck, President and Managing Director of GLOSSYBOX North America, Romain Gaillard, CEO and Founder of The Detox Market, and Debbi Hartley-Triesch, VP, Divisional Merchandising Manager for Treatment and Color for Nordstrom to this spring’s West Coast Beauty Insider Series: Discovering Indie Beauty. This lively panel discussion ranged in topics from how consumers are exploring indie beauty in multiple ways to what’s next for the indie beauty phenomenon, and was moderated by Martha McCully, Beauty and Lifestyle Expert, MMc Media.
“I was delighted to welcome Britta, Romain, and Debbi to this event,” said Carlotta Jacobson, President of CEW. “Indie beauty is a powerful force in beauty. We were pleased to bring together thoughtful leaders to share their expertise about the state of indie beauty and how consumers are discovering and engaging with new brands.”
Martha McCully kicked off the discussion by asking the three panelists to explain their relationship with indie beauty brands. Hartley-Triesch explained how M.A.C Cosmetics was one of the first indie brands Nordstrom launched in the U.S., and how they “launched Dr. Perricone, which created the whole doctor brand trend. We always think about what is that next thing.” GLOSSYBOX’s Fleck noted, “We cater to indie brands. That’s how we started. Our model is partly to discover these brands, and one of the main reasons people subscribe is because of this discovery aspect.” The Detox Market’s Gaillard added, “The most successful brands have been indie at some point. Usually, it’s someone outside of the industry creating something.”
The panel also discussed the natural and chemical-free trend and its connection with indie brands. Fleck expressed how, “No one expects people to be putting chemicals in products these days. We’re evolving very quickly and customers just expect that they will not be in these indie brands.” Gaillard added, “What we are trying to do is be transparent. We have a list of ingredients we don’t allow, and we prefer organic. For me that’s where green and indie are so linked, when the formulator is so involved.” Hartley-Triesch added that Nordstrom is seeing a millennial shopper in the natural beauty section, but that all customers want great products and choices.
When it comes to consumer engagement with indie brands, Hartley-Triesch noted that online is a big way to advertise on a small budget, but stressed the need for authenticity. “Content matters. There has to be more content. And show the product with the lid off – let them look inside. There are big brands that don’t cover these things and I can see that affecting online sales.” Gaillard further stated how, “People want to connect with the maker and the revolution of social media makes it possible for people to connect with them.”
Fleck and Gaillard also shared the importance of customer reviews and their ability to influence purchasing decisions. “The older consumer is not as into influencers and celebrities, but it’s real women reviews that count,” explained Fleck.
The panelists also discussed what retailers look for when choosing brands to work with, reiterating that retailers look for brands that fill a void in the market. Hartley-Triesch explained how Nordstrom “Looks for white space opportunities to round out our assortment.” Fleck noted how GLOSSYBOX is always testing products and looking for white space opportunities. However, they are open to both established and indie brands. Hartley-Triesch reminded the audience that bringing in new brands helps everyone as it drives traffic and everyone wins, but still the balance between natural and not natural is not yet equal.
This special West Coast event kicked off with a pre-event cocktail and networking reception at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.