Attention beauty addicts, Indie Makeup brands are coming! And traditional makeup brands have so much to worry about…
MAC, Nars, Dior, even Maybelline are starting to look seriously square when compared to these new modern and dynamic makeup companies.
Now, the real question is: Will they count as a real trend in cosmetics or will it be just a very ephemeral buzz, just like a flash in the pan?
Indie Makeup brand characteristics:
Indie Makeup brands, as their name suggests, are independent makeup brands, they don’t belong to a large group like L’Oreal, LVMH and co.
These are small companies, relatively recent (most of them are less than 5 years old). The teams behind these brands are usually quite limited, sometimes only 1 or 2 people. If you’re like me and you like to support small business, it’s really something significant because at least you know exactly who you’re giving your money to! wink
These brands don’t have many choices of products, especially at first. An Indie Makeup brand may for example start by selling only lipsticks and then, depending on its success, create a larger product range later on.
However, regarding the choice of colors, they have played their cards beautifully! They do have less commercial pressure than classic makeup brands, so there is less of an obligation to be limiting themselves only to colors that sell. For those addicted to color, especially the crazy ones, the Indie Makeup brands are a blessing!
They also stand well with their prices. A smaller structure can save costs where a bigger company just can’t, and generally, the price of the products are quite competitive.
That doesn’t mean they skimp on quality! They depend mainly on the principle of “word of mouth“, so having high-quality products is a must.
You can mainly find these Indie makeup brands online. They’re what you’d could call ‘pure players’ which means that they have no “physical” stores. This reduces costs and also allows them to target a large customer base, especially if they offer international delivery! wink
Indie Makeup brands’ communication:
Of course, the Indie Makeup brands don’t have the means of multinationals like L’Oreal and Shiseido for example, but a very well known slogan in France is: We don’t have oil, but we have ideas! And it’s exactly the case for these brands. smile
These brands essentially use the principle of word of mouth, and to do so, they use two very powerful and modern weapons:
– social media,
– and influencers.
The Indie Makeup brands that are successful have really been able to adopt a communication based essentially on a spirit of community, paired with a very close relationship with their customers.
This strategy is made possible thanks to social media platforms like Instagram, allowing them to stage products but also to share makeup looks, tutorials, to show how to use the products, and of course repost makeup looks from real customers of the brand.
More than ever, makeup has become a real mean of self-expression and so many makeup artists amateurs’ accounts post every day on their Instagram account pictures of very colorful and creative makeup looks!
And when the brand is smart enough to use all these tools at their disposal efficiently, a vibrant fan community can emerge around it. A brand can share product photos but also information on future releases on its Facebook page or website, for example. And all this without a huge and expensive advertising campaign!
This has been ColourPop‘s successful strategy. The launch of their new blushes on the 12th of February was a real event, awaited by a lot of beauty addicts worldwide, just because ColourPop has created a buzz about it on their social media accounts. (And yes, of course, I was impatient too! ;))
Social media is also an opportunity to communicate on the promotions they may have. The brand Gerard Cosmetics, for example, is constantly doing it on its Instagram page or its Twitter feed.(for me, it’s a little bit too much though and I’m wondering if the products are not overpriced to take into account the constant reductions)
And don’t forget Pinterest, which not only shares pictures of products but especially takes the user directly to the brand’s retail website. To search inspiration for new makeup looks but then have a button to purchase that new beauty product, well that’s only one click away with Pinterest! wink
To go further in these tutorials, these brands can also create their own YouTube channel and suggest new makeup looks regularly as inspiration for their customers or simply teach them how to make the best use of their products! Obviously, I think about Marlena, the creator of the brand Makeup Geek who uses her YouTube channel (which existed before her brand) to show her own products in some very creative tutorials as well as some in depth reviews.
Another very successful strategy for Indie Makeup brands is to use the influence of beauty bloggers and Youtubers.
They can just send them their products in the hope they will mention them in a blog post or a video. Of course, it’s a little risky because while they can say good things, they can also say bad things if they want to.
The partnership between a brand and influencers is also a commonly used technique.
Indie Makeup brands can associate themselves with some YouTubers to create a product or even a range with them. Of course, they will benefit from the Youtubers’ reputation and image.
Of course, there is also a trade agreement behind, so it’s win-win for the two parties!
The brand ColourPop recently did a partnership with the YouTuber Kathleen Lights to create a shade (Lumière) for its lip products: a Lippie Stix (lipstick) along with a matching Lip Pencil.
The Youtuber Jaclyn Hill had previously done the same thing with Gerard Cosmetics for its famous lipstick 1995 (inspired by Kylie Jenner lips colour) and it’s a best-seller!
Focus on four interesting Indie Makeup brands:
I already introduced Makeup Geek in detail, in my post on Foiled eyeshadows a few weeks ago.
Founded in 2011, it’s currently one of the most dynamic makeup brands in the US market.
When Marlena from the Makeup GeekTV YouTube channel launched her brand a few years ago, it quickly became a real game changer in the makeup world.
MUG (for short) started with only brushes and eyeshadows (the quality is just as good or sometimes even better than the MAC eyeshadows and only for $ 5.99 each!). Since then, her brand has added sublime pigments, gels liners, lipsticks and also blushes.
Makeup Geek is constantly praised for the high quality of its products and its ultra responsive and efficient customer service.
New products are planned for release in the coming weeks and I can already tell you that I am extremely excited to discover what Marlena has planned!
For me, ColourPop is truly the brand to watch this year!
Native to Los Angeles, ColourPop is a brand of innovative and super colorful makeup products. It offers a wide range of eyeshadows, blushes, lipsticks and lip pencils in all imaginable colors, even the most unexpected.
And they only cost $5! (except the blushes at $8)
Both eyeshadows and blushes have one of the most interesting and unique formulas I’ve seen so far: they are very creamy, soft, almost “bouncy” (like a kind of “foam”) while remaining a powder texture, and all that with incredible pigmentation.
Their website is one of the smartest of the moment. For example, to show the products, ColourPop shows swatches of the different shades (as does Makeup Geek) but on three different skin colors! Great idea, isn’t it?
MAC should really do something like that on its own website… If I want to look at some MAC’s products colours, the last thing I’ll do is look at its website. You can find far more faithful images on Google Images. Frankly, it’s not great for a famous brand! uneasy
The ColourPop customer service is also super pro and responsive, just like MUG.
I had the opportunity to experience this myself when I ordered from them. There was a mistake in the delivery, and I received one product rather than another. I contacted the customer service and within 24 hours, they sent me a code that allowed me to reorder the missing product, with free shipping on top. I reordered my product and obviously, I added a few others! Come on, the delivery was free!!! Oh wait…
Well done ColourPop! wink
Finally, ColourPop also likes to partner up through collaborations with social media influencers like YouTube and Instagram stars as Shaaanxo, KathleenLights or Megan Naik. These “collabs” are highly anticipated and always successful.
Zoeva is a German cosmetic brand (finally a European brand, phew, no loss of face wink ).
The brand began with the production of high quality makeup brushes with one very interesting characteristic: a very low price.
Their brushes have been unanimously acclaimed for their softness and superior quality. They have indeed massively distributed their products to famous bloggers and YouTubers. Also, their packaging very “Instagram-friendly” really helped with their success, especially their rose-gold range.
I bought that set myself and I was also very enthusiastic!
Recently, they also created their own line of makeup that includes eyeshadows, blushers and lipsticks. I don’t know them (yet) but I think it is certainly worth investigating, don’t you think? wink
Sigma Beauty is an American makeup brand that became famous when they offered significantly cheaper dupes of MAC brushes.
Now, they have expanded exponentially their range of brushes and they also have a full line of makeup. They offer tons of different products such as eyeshadow palettes, liners gels, lip glitter, blushes etc.
Since last year, they also opened their first “physical” store in the US at the Mall of America (in Minnesota).
Like many other Indie Makeup brands, they also collaborate frequently with YouTubers or beauty bloggers such as TiffanyD.
And of course, these brands deliver worlwide (well, except ColourPop but my gut tells me that it won’t be long).
The limits of Indie Makeup:
And then sometimes the community that is the great strength of Indie Makeup brands, can turn against them. But not without a good reason!
These last weeks, the worldwide community of beauty addicts speaks only of one thing: the Lime Crime scandal.
Lime Crime took the makeup world by storm 6 years ago. This makeup company was created by Doe Deere, a self-proclaimed “Unicorn Queen”. She wanted to find a lipstick that would exist in all the shades of the rainbow, but it was hard to find in conventional cosmetic brands and that’s how Lime Crime was born!
However, there have been so many controversies in the brand’s history and the latest suggest that it will be difficult for Lime Crime to recover from it.
The brand founder, Doe Deere has successively been accused of fraud, embezzlement, racism, intimidation of bloggers and clients who made bad reviews of her products, repackaging bulk purchased products not made by her company to sell them as her own products, steal products from a competitor (Sugarpill) and finally to lie about the fact that their products are not tested on animals…
The final straw, recently, was that Deere apparently “forgot” to renew the security certificate for the online shop which left them open to attacks and hacking of the site, due to the expired SSL certificate.
It seems as you can read above that the bank details of customers were stolen, exposing them to identity theft or fraudulent purchases with their bank accounts.
Finally, the brand and its founder have certainly badly managed this crisis, blocking most comments referring to this story on social media, a reign of total censorship.
So obviously, the customers’ counter-attack didn’t take long and there are dozens of websites, forums, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. that have emerged with various hashtags ( #limecrimelies, #limecrimeliars, #boycottlimecrime etc.). On these sites, there are numerous stories of people whose identity have been stolen, their bank accounts emptied, or who have been censored by Doe Deere. Some famous YouTubers also made videos explaining why they refuse to promote the brand anymore.
In short, the same fan base that has the power to help a brand to grow can also decide to bury it altogether if their trust is betrayed.
And honestly, after all these stories, I don’t give much credit to Lime Crime or Doe Deere…
What future for the Indie Makeup brands?
In the mid to long-term, it’s difficult to imagine that successful Indie Makeup brands like these will only be based on an online development strategy.
Indeed, for makeup customers, being able to see the colors and to touch the textures still remains the best way to discover the products.
To be more pragmatic, it’s also well known, that currently, the bulk of makeup brands revenue is mainly achieved in (physical) stores.
Makeup Geek has already announced the opening of its first retail store in Sacramento, California for the first half of 2015 and as we have seen above, Sigma Beauty already has it’s own physical store.
We can also ask ourselves if big beauty groups won’t eventually acquire these very dynamic independent brands to give a new breath of life to their image. After all, it was already the case with Benefit which has helped LVMH to seriously rejuvenate its customers base.
What is certain in my opinion, is that they really should learn from their methods, especially their communication ones.
Anyway, in my opinion, the Indie Makeup brands have a bright future ahead of them and you can expect some detailed reviews of the products shown above in pictures in the coming weeks! smile
And you, are you tempted by Indie Makeup or are you already convinced? Let me know what you think, tell me in the comments!
Photos credits: bonnie-garner.com, Limecrime, #boycottlimecrime
Cet article est aussi disponible en français: Le phénomène Indie Makeup: buzz ou tendance?