indie beauty expo summary tips

Key Takeaways from the Indie Beauty Expo and BeautyX Summit

Written by: | January 30, 2018 | 8 responses

Last week, Essential went down to the BeautyX Summit and Indie Beauty Expo in Los Angeles. We had two jam-packed days of frantic note-taking, and the third day we got to attend the expo and see some amazing brands. This post is a quick rundown of the key takeaways about influencer marketing, getting into publications, and the expo itself.

BeautyX Day 1 – Influencer Marketing & PR

As most people will know, it’s hard to get noticed by publications and places that will promote you without PR (which can be very expensive), so use media influencers. The main tip is to find the right influencer that matches your brand, and is in the right stage of growth themselves. Maybe they are a small-scale celebrity, an expert in their field, or simple a beauty blogger—choose what’s right for you.

In the same way you must be strategic about who you choose as an influencer, you must craft a strategy for your campaign and select reasonable goals. Your influencer can’t accomplish everything—they are busy curating a page and producing content of their own. Be realistic and patient. We heard over and over that you must build a relationship with your influencer. Trust them with their social media posts. If the audience detects any lack of authenticity when they speak about your brand and products, your efforts may backfire.

The number of followers an influencer has is far less important than the degree to which their audience will resonate with your brand. A good start is if the influencer’s audience engages with that influencer’s posts regularly.

47% of millennials say that social media influences their purchasing decisions, so you simply can’t afford to stand back and hope your brand is noticed entirely from your website or blog. The main message about PR companies is that they are useful, but can get expensive fast. Approach one only once you’re ready to pay a monthly retainer for 6 months.


BeautyX Day 2 – Getting into Digital & Print Publications

There has been a large and visible shift away from print media and towards social media, but most publications maintain a presence in both realms. We heard again about finding an audience of a publication or influencer that genuinely matches your brand and products. Not only will you not be featured in a publication whose audience is uninterested in your brand, you would fail to sell anything to that audience.

We heard from successful indie beauty brands to chase the low-hanging fruit in the beginning. Don’t be afraid to pin down the story of your brand and push that out in your marketing and presentation of your brand. If the story resonates with an audience, you’re halfway to turning them into customers.

A panel of trade-specific beauty editors gave solid advice, most importantly: have everything ready to send to them. This means your website, packaging, high-res pictures, samples of your product, etc. Because these publications are online and in print, lead times for stories can be a few hours to a few months, so make their decision-making process as simple as possible.

The BeautyX Summit concluded with three brave brands pitching their products to the real-life beauty editors of Allure, Marie Claire, and Glamour magazines. The key takeaways were to be concise, clear about your story, clearer about what sets your product apart, and provide evidence for any claims you may be making. Scientific studies were referred to numerous times when ingredients were highlighted.

Indie Beauty Expo

Our final adventure in Los Angeles was attending the actual Indie Beauty Expo itself, featuring hundreds of beauty brands in colorful booths competing to attract your eye. We learned that green and organic trends are definitely in, and here to stay. Packaging was often either colorful with bright pinks, purples, and many used golds. The other theme was more reserved and sophisticated-looking with a focus on black, white, and more solid conservative tones. Lifestyle brands were popular, and we encountered novel products and even ingredients.


There is much, much more to follow on virtually every sentence in this blog, so do check back regularly. We’ll cover a full rundown on influencer marketing, PR for beauty brands, getting featured in beauty and trade magazines, and what it’s like to visit and exhibit at an indie beauty expo.


Did you attend? Tell us how it went for you! We’re happy to keep all input anonymous if preferred.

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