The Fielder Report ~ Q+A with Indie Beauty Expo Founder Jillian Wright

The KF Team recently visited the Dallas Indie Beauty Expo. It was a beauty guru’s dream, with exciting indie brands galore! From skincare and makeup to CBD oils and even a sexual wellness section (which is a huge topic in the marketplace currently), the expo touched on everything beauty, lifestyle, and wellness and so much more! We had the chance to sit down with girlboss and IBE founder, Jillian Wright, as she answered some of our burning questions about herself, the expo and big trends in the industry. Check it out and see what you need right now in your beauty and wellness arsenal.

Photo by Victor Aguirre
Q1: What inspired you to start IBE?

I had developed my own eponymous luxury skincare line, but I was frustrated with the incredibly limited options available for me to grow and scale my business. Independent brands were represented in such a small way. No one was really focusing on these brands or developing an event that was really for beauty entrepreneurs. This was an unmet need that my co-founder and I believed had to be addressed. I was looking for a place that supported a community of brands like mine, brands that were independently-owned, well made, had passionate employees and had a story to tell.

Photo provided by Indie Beauty Expo

We believed these brands deserved to have their own show. A show designed in a way that was accessible to emerging brands, but also produced with a quality that would attract the industry’s top buyers, press, media, influencers and investors.

Q2: What’s the mission of IBE?

Very simply put, the mission of IBE is to recognize, showcase and celebrate independent beauty brands and to support the growth and success of the entrepreneurs behind them. We do this in several ways: The Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) launched in 2015 is now the largest professionally-curated international exposition of independent beauty brands. It is presented in five strategic international retail markets (New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, London and Berlin).

Photo provided by Indie Beauty Expo

We produce BeautyX Summits which provides a 360-degree developmental experience. Combining structured learning with expert dialogues and peer networking, Beauty Independent news and knowledge, along with our retail advisory services.

Q3: What drives you to build your brand and what is your opinion on being a woman entrepreneur and the impact that has on society and culture?

We have the resources and support now more than ever to create and build businesses.  Nothing should hold us back. Women have to be each other’s safety net and share with each other our networks and resources to help scale our businesses. 

Photo by Victor Aguirre

Competition is healthy and necessary, but within the indie beauty community, we are more apt to come together and build each other up rather than knock our “sisters” down.  Indie Beauty Media Group was built out of the fundamental ethos that we are there for each other and this is why Nader and I built this platform, so beauty entrepreneurs can learn, meet and do business with one another.

Q4: How many vendors are there now? How many did you start with?  

We started with 82 brands at our first IBE show in New York. As of 2019 we will have about 750 exhibitors across our shows.

Photo provided by Indie Beauty Expo
Q5: Top Trends you are seeing? Which trends are here to stay?

Our IBE shows really highlight what the future trends will be. Of course, CBD is a big trend now. However, we saw that coming a few years ago. Some trends we have been seeing lately are S.T.E.M. influenced skincare, bath-enhancing products that are more than just a standard bubble bath, utilizing semi-precious stones (like diamonds, jade, gold etc.) in formulas, travel sized beauty and product specifically for when you are flying.

Photo by Victor Aguirre
Q6: What trends are on the horizon?

I think we will see more and more tech-focused products and brands. Things like beauty apps and software that improve makeup application or techniques etc.

Q7: What’s a product you can’t live without?

 Well, right now, my arms are sunburnt and if you know me, I never go in the sun (rookie mistake). So, my go to product is Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel.

Q8: How important are reasonably sustainable sourced products in the beauty industry? Is this a growing trend?

Absolutely important.  We have to be aware and conscious of the impact we are making on resources.  If a brand knows the lifeline of their ingredients, where they come from, how they are sourced, processed, bottled, used and discarded, they are at an advantage. We cannot ignore what is happening to our earth. We have to take full responsibility not only today, but also to teach the younger generations how to be mindful. 

Photo provided by Indie Beauty Expo

We don’t want them to look back at us in shame that we didn’t do enough about it. We have to dig deep and look at our everyday habits. From the cars we drive, to the food we purchase and to the personal care we use. It’s not easy breaking habits, but it is possible. It’s like picking your face, It’s a bad habit that has long term consequences but once this habit is broken, your skin will improve by 30-40%.  Imagine if bad habits can be broken in everyday living how much we would improve sustainability and conscious living. We can’t be lazy anymore. We have to be accountable. This is a huge trend, especially within the indie beauty space. Modern customers really care about sustainability and this will only continue to grow as Gen Z begins to have more purchasing power.  

xo, KF

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