Like fast beauty, micro-batch accelerates speed-to-market, allowing brands to be more agile in response to emerging trends. However, unlike fast-beauty brands which tend to be mass produced, micro-batch manufacturing typically involves significantly smaller inventory, local production, e-commerce distribution and greater creative leeway.

Case in point: makeup-enhancing skin care line Farsali’s new sub-brand, Farsali Privé, which launched in May.

“We launched Farsali Privé in order to launch products faster,” said Sal Ali, Founder of Farsali. “As an indie brand, speed-to-market is very important. With Farsali, launch time for a global retail product is 10 to 12 months. With Farsali Privé, we can cut that time by three to four months, or even more. Micro-batching gives us flexibility because we don’t need to produce big runs to [for our global retail partners.] Farsali Privé products are exclusive to, so we can produce in smaller quantities, approximately 15 percent fewer units compared to a typical Farsali full-on launch.”

Farsali Privé’s micro-batch scale also enables the brand to move more swiftly with new product ideas.

“As an indie brand, you want to be ahead of the trend. With Farsali, 2020 is already lined up. Farsali Privé is more fluid, more on-trend. That doesn’t mean that Farsali is not on-trend. It’s simply that when I hear consumers say, ‘this is super on-trend’ I want to get it into the market right away.”

Farsali Privé’s inaugural launch is Hydration BAE, a daily face mask that contains Hybubbles, a patented technology that encapsulates active ingredients, which can be left on overnight as an intense hydration treatment, or used as a glow-inducing makeup base. Ingredients include hyaluronic acid, tamarind Indica seed extract, and fair trade Nicaraguan hibiscus oil.

Farsali Privé will launch just one product per year. “I consider Farsali Privé to be my private lab. I’m a creative, always playing with different products and getting excited about something”.

Sal adds that there will be much more content on his own personal Instagram as he engages consumers, and gets them involved with possible future product ideas.

As ever, Sal turns to his wife, Farah Dhukai, who has 6.6 million followers on Instagram, and for whom he created the main Farsali brand. “My wife is always stealing my samples. I don’t hide anything from her. Sometimes I’ll strategically place Farsali Privé products on my desk to see what gets her excited.”

Being able to control the entire supply chain is of paramount importance to Eddie Zhao and Yun Li, co-founders of Yüli, a skin care brand driven by science and technology, and powered by fresh, clean ingredients. The brand prides itself on its products that are made fresh after they are ordered.

“The majority of our formulas are sourced in-house. We don’t work with co-packers. We buy land where we grow our own ingredients,” said Eddie.

This includes more than 100 acres in Hill County between Houston and Austin, where Yüli grows cucumbers and various citruses including neroli, and 50 acres in Colorado where the brand grows lavender.

Eddie and Yun, who have known each other since middle school, invested five figures of their own money to launch Yüli, with a soft launch in 2011, and a digital launch in 2012. Yüli had a 450 percent growth rate in its first year, which was not without challenge.

“One of our suppliers didn’t have organic certified rose hip oil that we could trust. During my time working at LVMH, I realized that the bottleneck is the quality of organic ingredients. The weakest player in this is nature, so we are going to control it. We control the entire supply chain. It probably costs us more to have one ounce of rose hip oil, but we will have it fresh and shipped to you. The consumer will find value in that,” said Eddie.

“We work with local farmers so that they don’t have to give in to big business and GMOs. We aim to be the company we want to see in the world.”

The brand’s bestsellers include Cell Perfecto PM, a corrective serum for epidermal and DNA repair for skin with imperfections and tissue damage. Ambrosia Beauty Nectar, a serum for multi-corrective deep hydration and anti-aging benefits, is another bestseller, and the brand’s first release in three years. The product contains coconut endosperm, a bio-identical vegetal equivalent to placenta, a nutrient-rich tissue for cell development, and epidermal growth factor which activates the production of tissues and healthy collagen.

Yüli has also started working with third parties, with some competitors buying ingredients from the brand, thereby providing an additional stream of income.

Eddie said that Yüli has a 90 percent customer retention rate, and has had an annual growth rate of 400 to 500 percent since 2012. The brand is resolutely independent, having refused to accept venture capital money. “I didn’t feel like I wanted to answer to people,” he said.

Eddie’s goals for Yüli? “To keep making very distinguished, category-defining products… sunscreens, moisturizers, eye serums… and to enjoy the journey with products that belong in the world.”