A proliferation of indie brands has raised consumer expectations in terms of what they expect from their beauty products, including sustainability, natural ingredients, transparency and innovation. Due to this explosion, retailers are feeling the pressure to think outside the box and procure brands that deliver true innovation. Here, a list of companies Beauty Insider sees as resources for retailers to expand their product mix. The categories seeing some of the most excitement include skin care, men’s grooming, tools and cosmetics.
Palladio Beauty’s ingredient story is what makes the color brand so interesting. Formulas are saturated with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as powerful botanicals like anti-inflammatory green tea, soothing aloe and energizing ginseng. “A strong point of difference is key to this very competitive space,” said Shawn Haynes, CEO of Palladio Beauty. “Plus, you cannot underestimate the power of a solid social media presence. Our authentic connections with influencers, like the collaboration we did with Casey Holmes, has been paramount in spiking the attention of the brand.” Channel lines, Haynes added, could not be more blurring. “Shopping habits continue to shift towards digital first. Mass retailers can further evolve by finding, supporting and launching lesser known indie brands that disrupt the category, bring devoted consumers and a strong social presence.”
Traveling in style and pampering at home have never been bigger in beauty. The Vintage Cosmetic Company has created outstanding packaging that elevates DIY to a whole new level, according to Becca Hele, International Sales Coordinator for the London-based company. “Feminine and floral packs enhance everyday tools,” she said, such as Slanted Tweezers, a 4 Way Nail Buffer, a Duo Pencil Sharpener, Brow Scissors and Rose Gold Nail Scissors. Launched seven years ago, the UK-based company has price points in the $5 to $35 range and has collaborated on items with retailers including Walgreens, Ulta Beauty and JCPenney. “We just partnered with Walgreens on a head band that holds back the hair when washing your face or applying makeup,” Hele said.
Men’s grooming is finally hitting its stride, fueled by brands such as Rocky Mountain Barber, which aims to deliver products with natural ingredients. Co-founder Mike Marchionda, believes “premium hair, beard and body care products should be a part of every man’s journey,” adding that mass retailers are taking an interest in his line because of its natural ingredients and accessible price points. Rocky Mountain Barber has collections for beard care, hair care, shaving and skin and body care. “We carry an entire line of products as opposed to offering just a single product or sku. Trends come and go and customers change styles. We listen to our customers and always give them the freedom and flexibility to choose whatever products they want, on that particular day. Many of our customers are actually women who buy our products for their boyfriends/husbands, as they make great gifts.”
Makeup artist Melanie Mills began creating sparkly formulas for the body and face when she worked for Dancing with the Stars. Her items became so popular that in 2016 she started Melanie Mills Hollywood, and now she has an assortment of Loose Shimmer Body Dusts, as well as glimmering body creams. “Not only are my products beautiful and elegant, but they are vegan, cruelty free, multi-purpose and multi-cultural.” Her Gleam Body Radiance retails for $42 and serves as “makeup to even out discolorations, as well as a moisturizer with natural oils and botanicals. It can also be used as a primer to mix with foundations,” said Mills, who added there are six shades of Gleam to serve a range of skin tones. Mills aims to engage consumers “by doing in-store demonstrations to get the product tried on to create loyalty and demand. I find having a rep that has personal relationships with buyers is important, too. I feel it’s hard to cold call and even at trade shows designed to draw buyers, the personal connection is what is best,” she said.
After Spa was a solution to offer high-end items to younger consumers at a more affordable price point. Creator and Founder, Emilio Smeke, who also created Daily Concepts six years ago, said the idea came to him in the shower. “I wanted to create an affordable line designed with the intention of bringing that spa feeling we all know and love directly to the home. We all strive to create ‘me-time’ and with this range of bath and body scrubbers and beauty tools we have done just that…brought the spa to you.” Prices range from $4 to $12 and include a Jade Facial Roller, Hydrating and Revitalizing Konjac Sponge and a Magic Makeup Remover, which removes everything from mascara to foundation with just the addition of water.
HUE For Every Man is one of the latest men’s grooming brands to shake up the category. “I think what intrigues retailers about HUE For Every Man is that our product offering is for a demographic that, in the past, has typically been underserved. Now that the makeup industry has verified the multicultural space as a viable lane, I think retailers are curious to see if the men’s multicultural market has been underserved or overlooked. Our products are specifically formulated for diverse hair and skin types. This is a huge demographic and until now, there hasn’t been a brand that caters to their needs,” said company CEO Jessica Estrada. The brand recently entered Target, a milestone that proves mass retailers are thinking differently from how they did just one year ago. “I never thought that as a small niche brand that we could be in Target, but we launched there last week. In my opinion, retailers have a better understanding that a small niche brand could be the next big thing and are more willing to work with emerging brands.”