How to survive and thrive as an indie brand

Beauty is an industry that attracts plenty of newcomers, but launching a brand is the easy part. Imogen Matthews discovers the ways in which indie brand owners can grow distribution to take their label to the next level

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The attraction of beauty for start-up brands is obvious. It’s a growth industry that responds well to innovation, appears to be immune to economic instability and is relatively easy to get into.

For many newcomers, the dream and kudos of eventually being bought out by one of the multinationals must also be a motivating factor.

Of course, the reality is quite different. Getting started is the easy part. All that’s needed is a good idea, preferably with a USP and enough money to invest in the production process to get the brand ready to launch.

Many start with their own website. But moving up to the next level requires a completely new skillset.

Retailers are regularly swamped with requests from new brands looking for representation, but the majority fail to do their research, so never make it to see the buyer, let alone onto the shelves.


What retailers want

Having worked as a category buyer for Boots for many years, Helen Miller, Managing Director of Helen Miller Consulting, has seen many brands approach retailers without a properly conceived distribution strategy, “so they go to the wrong retailers and say . . .

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