From The Editor's Desk

Is indie beauty a thing in Asia?

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Is indie beauty a thing in Asia?
The indie beauty trend is taking North America and, increasingly, Europe, by storm. But is it gaining the same sort of popularity in Asia? If so, where are the hot spots for indie beauty?

I am hoping to answer these questions in a presentation I am giving at the forthcoming PCHi event, which is taking place in Guangzhou, China,  February 26th​ to 28th​.

The presentation is titled Is Indie Beauty Happening in Asia?,​ and will be taking place from 4pm on February 27th​ in Hall 5, rooms E & F. I would love to see you there!

The part Indie Beauty Expo has played 

Jillian Wright, co-founder, Indie Beauty Expo

Synonymous with the trend is the Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) The first first IBE event took place in New York City back in 2015 and it has been nothing but success ever since. The organizers now have three events in the US and two in Europe.

It is without doubt that the IBE has done much to platform and promote this area of this business in these regions, but why is there no event in Asia yet?

We put this question, and a few more about how the trend is evolving in the region, to IBE co-founder Jillian Wright.

How do you feel the indie beauty trend is developing in Asia?  

Given that legacy and heritage brands dominate market share, it is harder, but not impossible, for indies to break into that market. Currently, the indie trend is moving across the world-- it made a big impact in North America and is currently catching fire across Europe. That said, K-beauty is a real phenomenon and I feel this trend will help indies gain a strong foothold in Asia.

What are the main markets or countries for the trend? What type of products are most popular?  

Metropolitan countries like Korea, Hong Kong (city), Japan and Australia (geographic location) and Singapore are primed for indie beauty growth. With social media bringing us closer together the barrier of visibility is minimized.  But, realistically as long as the heritage brands have a choke hold on advertising (subways, airports, bus stations etc…) awareness will be difficult. Skincare is still such a strong category. At our BeautyX Press, Media and Influencer Summit in Los Angeles, Jun Harada, head of digital beauty strategy at Conde Nast noted that 70% of prestige skincare brands are now indie.

Is the trend more about imported products from North America and Europe, or are there plenty of home grown brands?  

Both. There’s always a curiosity about the unknown or hard to get which really drives interest and sales.  But there are many local brands like Skin Need (based in Hong Kong), When® BEAUTY and Blithe (both based in Korea)— to only name very few—

which are making incredible products. With the popularity of indie rising, entrepreneurship sees no boundaries.

Does IBE have any plans to start an event in Asia? If so, where and when?

Producing an event in Asia is something we are extremely interested in. We are currently in the early stages of developing strategy for growth there.

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