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Indie brands part 2: Is a power shift in our midst?

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Indie brands part 2: Is a power shift in our midst?
The best things come in small packages, and that is certainly true when it comes to indie brands as they utilise convenience and customisation to make it big.

We continued our conversation with Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, beauty and personal care at Mintel, on how these “exciting” brands are set to influence the multinationals in 2018.

Starting small

Whether it is packaging, product functionality or process, indie brands “pay attention to the smallest details that make the brand exclusive and unique; offering more than what mass products can”, ​Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, beauty and personal care, Mintel, highlighted.

Unlike larger brands, these indie brands are able to “offer convenience and personalisation through customisation and exclusivity by producing in smaller batches”.

Moving beyond the indie brand status, however, requires a strategic and larger-scale approach to present messaging, products and services to global audiences.

Making it big

This is where supply chain developments come in. These are “helping to facilitate the growth of indie brands globally,”​ emphasised Kwek.

Crowdfunding sites, for example, help brands to appreciate product demand before formally releasing them for market sale. Equally, this approach acts as a platform for investors to understand the revenue expectations and potential.  

The beauty industry has “wider and easier access to Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) companies, particularly in China”​. Therefore, indie brands focusing on this retail sector can “expect to see more indie brands surfacing to meet the growing demands of consumers”,​ Kwek predicted.

Sharing her views on how this accessibility will encourage entrepreneurship among younger generations, Kwek relayed: “Technology has expedited logistical processes, from deliveries to inventory management, which will encourage indie brands to partner with e-tailers or retail across multiple channels, making launches easier and facilitating the buying process for local consumers.”

Brand loyalty

A common problem for brands is the sheer competitiveness that exists in the beauty and personal care markets. Loyalty can be difficult to achieve, therefore, as consumers base their purchasing decisions on price and specific product information and delivery.

Authenticity is crucial to gaining this loyalty, as consumers find “stories relatable”, which encourages them to connect with a brand. Knowing your target audience is “equally important”​ as this “generates demographic-specific online content that appeals to the right audience”.

Knowledge is key. “Indie brands are aware they cannot appeal to everyone, so having an intimate understanding of the target consumers—knowing who they are and what influences them—will play a pivotal role,”​ Kwek enthused.

The power of indie brands

The indie brands sector “injects excitement into Asia-Pacific’s beauty scene”.

In addition, “different retail opportunity options which include pop-up stores—something that is rising in popularity among Asian consumers—and partnerships between brands and retailers or e-tailers, increase the visibility and accessibility of indie beauty brands among consumers”.

Where can indies brands go?

Ultimately, “we can expect to see more indie brands in the market and it would be interesting to learn of the compelling stories that come with these new brands”.

For the beauty multinationals, the rise of the indie beauty brands may “lead to more mergers and acquisitions in the year ahead”.

“We could even potentially see multinational companies look into diversifying their portfolios by launching their own niche beauty brands,”​ Kwek concluded.

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