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Getting INDI brands to class.

August 4, 2021

Warning, I am going to sound very old and set-in-my-ways in 3, 2, 1…

There is no doubt that social media, especially visual platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok have created the perfect environment for small, start-up brands to thrive. In the cosmetic industry we call these ‘Indie’ brands and we worship them like Gods. Well, I don’t but that’s because the only thing I worship generally is trees and chocolate.

These Indi or ‘independent’ brands birth themselves into the world, growing from strength of their own ideas, sense of entitlement and magnificent aesthetic. Ok, bit harsh but you get the picture.

Some of these Indi brands do eventually realise they need to attend a course or two or seek some professional help (collaboration darling, they seek collaborations – a meeting of minds) but only after their usual research tricks – searching You Tube, the blogs and social content of other Indie branders for free tips and recipes or asking their followers for feedback on each brain fart they have – draws a blank.

Their reluctance to go outside of their Indie bubble doesn’t stem from fear of them finding out they actually don’t really know enough to own a brand by themselves as that thought would never cross their minds. No, this reluctance is based on a lack of tolerance for anything deemed borning and non-goal orientated. They want to launch product X so they want to lean HOW to make product X because only they have what it takes to make things for their brand.

As a teacher (sorry, ‘collaborator’) Indi brands will tell me without telling me they don’t want to waste time exploring the science and reality that product X will be built on, they also aren’t that interested in learning how to formulate X from scratch although it will shit them when it turns out you can’t easily match a multi-national brands top selling anti-ageing cream when only using whole food type ingredients sourced from your garden. Who’d have known…

Yes these Indi brands have high standards, lots of ideas and zero tolerance for my shit and there’s nothing wrong with that is there ladies and gents?

Thinking a little skin science may be a good place to start I bring that up but that falls flat on its beautiful face also. The Indie brand has already got skin science nailed and not just because they have been hash-tag ‘genetically blessed’ and are still under 30. They learned everything they need to know about problem skin (which they don’t have) from Dr Pimple Popper and gleened from (you guessed it) You Tube and that Netflix series ‘Skin Decision’ (which is actually very good). My cosmetic science take on the dermis and how to facilitate better dermal penetration just can’t compete.

But they finally come to school, mostly to teach me how good they are, create some memories for their Insta feed and take selfies in a lab coat (there will be lab coats right?).

I’m mostly joking of course and while some of these things are definitely true some of the time, on the whole, Indie brand owners are as interested in cosmetic science and learning as the rest of us and a little background meandering never did anyone any harm.

Happy formulating.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2021 5:46 pm

    As an indie beauty brand owner who looked up to you for the knowledge you give, I’m shocked by this blog post. Not only does it sound condescending and pretentious, it sounds mean spirited. Not old and set in your ways. I read this and thought wow, what a way to alienate and entire group of readers. I’ve been following along for sometime and appreciate cosmetic science as much as you do, but to paint the all indie beauty brands with the same ridiculous brush you’ve developed is short sighted. Not one chemist we’ve employed has been as brash as you but are willing to educate and help build a better brand. Crazy…I will be unsubscribing.

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      August 4, 2021 7:24 pm

      Well that’s one way to take it 🤣😂 Sorry about that.
      There’s not much I can do to get things off my chest and like I said, I know that it’s mean to think and say these things but I also know that this is often how it feels.
      Feelings are not negotiable and not all feelings are nice I guess. Maybe I should keep them to myself but I prefer to be honest.

      I’m sorry that you feel the need to move away from the blog now but I am glad you got to benefit from the articles and knowledge I’ve shared for free on here over the years.

      • August 5, 2021 12:40 am

        It’s your blog and you can write however you like- many of us appreciate the humour and honesty you bring. It’s refreshing, not to mention interesting to hear other points of view. I am staying subscribed!

      • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
        August 5, 2021 12:44 am

        That’s lovely, thank you. It’s definitely an exaggerated piece and if people don’t like it and think I’m am a scar on humanity because of it I’ll be the one suffering. I think I’ll manage

  2. Okauê Moretto permalink
    August 6, 2021 5:43 am

    I loved it.
    You may be joking (at least to some extent) but I don’t find it so exaggerated. Of course realities differ from place to place, but in Brazil I see a lot of artisan, indie, “natural” brands claiming they’re superior to the “conventional” industry and its “overprocessed” toxic cosmetic ingredients because “everything you put on your skin gets to your bloodstream”.
    Still many people take vitamin E for a preservative, sell homemade sunscreens and repellents and think that sanitary requirements are only created to undermine small businesses.
    Not to mention “indie” brands owned by giant companies that just hop on the pseudoscience bus in order to create a buzz and sell more.
    As a formulator who also owns a small brand, I just think that an ethical and truly scientific approach would earn us more respect and trust from customers – or at least customers who also worry about those things.

  3. Jason W permalink
    August 6, 2021 7:25 am

    I have absolutely no problem with this post. This is after a blog and the author must stay authentic and true to herself if this blog is supposed to have any value to its readership.

    That aside, this post says everything the rest of us are thinking. Kudos to the author.

  4. August 6, 2021 10:17 pm

    TBH I’m not surprised by this post and as an Aussie I can look past the shock of the narrow rude tone (it’s a common way to talk in Aus!) to understand what you are saying.
    Love your blog so won’t be leaving despite being an independent brand owner (and trained formulator).

    I do think maybe you meant ‘marketing fluff insta brands’ or ‘mumma owl namaste brands’ or ‘milennial pink celeb brands’ instead of ‘Indie brands’?

    Indie only means Independent… which is of course how most brands start out regardless of who the founders are and what their skill sets are.

    I myself am frustrated by run of the mill brands started by people who don’t know what they’re doing, but that’s not the majority of Indie brands I see.

    My brand, and those of our contemporaries, are highly tested, well formulated, properly preserved and challenge-tested, and carry all the safety certificates and legalities needed for sale in many different continents.

    We are still an Indie brand and proud of it 🙂
    Thanks for your posts and sharing your views! I always enjoy them ❤

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      August 6, 2021 10:25 pm

      Thanks Micaela, Like most vents or reflections if you want to frame it more philosophically it doesn’t all relate to any one brand Indi or other that I know. I used the term Indi brands as it is most relevant for these times but if course I appreciate that the Indi brand demographic encompasses a very diverse bunch of people many of which are actually as or more qualified than me. Unfortunately though it’s not always those ones that set the tone. I’m glad you could see it for what it is. Sloppy product development serves nobody.

      • Micaela permalink
        August 6, 2021 9:28 pm

        I agree, bad products harm the whole green beauty movement as a whole. You will always reach more people by showing strong views rather than being philosophically wishy-washy, just wanted to comment to reframe the thoughts a little ❤

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