From The Editor's Desk

Global ingredients players are helping indie beauty, but competing too

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Global ingredients players are helping indie beauty, but competing too
Everyone wants a slice of the fast-growing indie beauty market right now, and while it has never been easier to launch a brand, the competition is getting all the more fierce.

At first it was highly creative, resilient entrepreneurs that occupied this space, many of them starting up brands in their kitchens.

But for those home-made brands that found their consumer base, success meant they soon had to outsource their manufacturing to keep up with the demand.

Competing with contract manufacturers

Contract manufacturers have traditionally proved to be the first point of call, but there are economies of scale involved in this kind of operation, so finding the right kind of business to meet lower production volumes has proven to be a big challenge.

Stepping into this space, a number of the larger specialty chemical and fine ingredient players are opening up to the indie beauty brands, some providing turn key services, and some even launching brands of their own.

These formulation players are providing services that are specifically catering to indie beauty manufacturers, providing them with the lower volume batch orders that have traditionally been either prohibitively expensive or simply not possible.

Recently Deanna Utroske, editor of Cosmetics Design USA detailed this phenomenon in an article titled: Beauty Innovation Showdown – indie brands and ingredients makers​.

Dealing with indie beauty is new

Although these type of formulation players have long partnered with the big players, dealing with indie beauty players is something newer, so they are having to adapt their business models to support indie players, often having to provide more comprehensive resources.

Perhaps one of the most notable players to embrace the indie beauty trend is major international fine chemicals business DSM, which is now actively embracing these smaller business.

Clearly larger formulation players are opening up to indie beauty because they realize that these businesses are reshaping the industry and paving the way for the future.

But in doing so, many of these businesses are also discovering that they have all the resources to launch their own brands into a market that is hungry for new products, in turn making an already competitive market even hotter.

Deanna Utroske also detailed how formulation players around the globe are moving into the brands space in an article titled: Proof of Concept – Global ingredients makers keep launching beauty brands​.

Ingredients players go indie

This article underlines how the trend is unraveling on an international basis, with players such as Texas-based AlgAllure Technologies, a provider of algae-based skin are ingredients has launched its own four sku skin care brand.

In Europe too, France-based natural ingredients player Alban Muller has launched a number of  finished products that can be customized to suit specific requirements, making it easier for entrepreneurs to enter the market.

Alban Muller’s move is notable because it provides a turnkey solution to make it easier to launch into the indie beauty arena, while also competing against contract manufacturers.

If you thought indie beauty was an ultra competitive, watch this space as the competition hots up from all sides.


Simon Pitman  is the Senior Editor for the Cosmetics Design online journals – the most-read online publications for beauty and personal care professionals. As the founding editor of the publications, Simon has overseen the rise of the Cosmetics Design brand, with dedicated sites for the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, as well as a comprehensive calendar of special edition newsletters, webinars and face-to-face events that include the Beauty Industry Awards and the annual Cosmetics Design Summit.

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