INDIE BEAUTY & WHAT BIG PLAYERS CAN LEARN

Indie brands ‘opportunistic and probably less risk-adverse’, says British Beauty Council CEO

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Indie brands 'have to take a giant leap when an opportunity is made available to them' (Getty Images)
Indie brands 'have to take a giant leap when an opportunity is made available to them' (Getty Images)

Related tags: Indie beauty, British Beauty Council, UK beauty, Innovation

Indie beauty brands act fast, taking opportunities in spite of risk, and this gives them the edge over corporations tied down by committee structures, says the CEO of the British Beauty Council.

Independent brands have achieved a much wider presence in European beauty than previous decades, notably in the UK – a beauty market that pulled in €29.5bn in 2018, according to a report published by the British Beauty Council.

And Millie Kendall MBE, CEO of the British Beauty Council, said indie brands contributed a solid amount towards the success of UK beauty, largely because they were so agile.

Indie versus corporate beauty – there’s an ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ fuelling decisions

“Indie brands are outwards facing – they look at their competition because they’re so tiny,”​ Kendall told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

“I think they’re opportunistic and probably less risk-adverse because they have to take a giant leap when an opportunity is made available to them – they can’t just sit around and wait. And large corporations don’t do that at all, they sit on things and discuss it,”​ she said.

Importantly, indie brands didn’t have committees which was important in keeping that “entrepreneurial spirit”, ​she said, and enabled decisions to be made faster.

This pace, Kendall said, was often vital to success and whilst it didn’t always work out, sometimes it did.

“Unfortunately, some of those bigger brands act too late; too little, too late or too slow,”​ she said.

Indie brands aren’t new, there’s just more of them...

But Kendall said independent beauty brands were nothing new, the rise of them was just more prominent.

There are more indie brands on the market now, and they know what they represent (Getty Images)
There are more indie brands on the market now, and they know what they represent (Getty Images)

“The indie brand is not a new concept; I would say there are just more of them. So, when I started in the '90s in beauty, there were the likes of Aveda and L’Occitane – they were indie brands, now look at them. Now, there’s a lot of indie brands and they’re very conscious of what they’re doing; how they are represented; what they have to say, and they are huge challenges for the big corporates,” ​she said.

Kendall said the British Beauty Council was, and would remain, focused on celebrating this innovative rise of indie beauty. Last year, as part of its inaugural London Beauty Week event, for example, it launched the ‘Next Big Beauty Brand’ competition​, offering start-ups the chance to win mentoring from experts along with a central London retail space.

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