Rant & Rave: Indie Brands

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Indie Brands

The best is the creativity and freedom that the brands have to put out exactly the type of products they think are missing from the industry. The worst is dealing with drama and entrepreneurs who either do not know how to run a business and/or take everything personally.

— Christine

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For me my other worst is when they pop up fast but then disappear. Running an indie brand is hard, and I hate when someone does it but then can’t keep the longevity for even a year! It makes me reluctant to fall in love with products from new indie brands because I’ve seen so many pop up and then shut down quickly.

I love indie stuff for a similar reason you said, Christine. I love that they tend to have amazing creativity! But an issue I have seen a ton when shopping various indie brands is swatching/color portrayal. Makeup Monsters is a good example of this. I have picked/bought a certain color lipstick because of a picture on the site, but then either dislike or like it more in person. They have gotten better about that, but I think many companies go through that issue.

Love the creativity. Hate the draaamah and unprofessionalism. Of course, many indies are fine but the whiners ruin things for everybody.

Love selection of fun, unique colors and packaging. Like supporting independent, cruelty-free companies from my country.
Dislike that there’s no way to test many Indie brands’ products in person unless you attend makeup shows.

I like they have their own focus on things so they are not compelled to develop all kinds of makeup. Bite beauty probably wouldn’t want to develop a highlighter for example. This keep their concentration on one thing at a time so they’re developing one good product instead of tons of crappy products (also depends on the brands though).
Another downside is that I think a lot of indie brands start from social media and all the hype is just super sketchy. I don’t like that type of promotion and even if their products are good, social media campaign just ruins the reputation for me.

For me, I’ve only really got a rant and that’s because availability is an issue. Partly, it’s being in Canada (exchange, shipping and duty aren’t the only problems; many products just cannot be shipped to Canada). And I simply do not like ordering online. I like to see things for myself – that’s part of my actual enjoyment of the process of shopping for makeup.

I don’t know how people buy so much online – shoes for example! I can wear anything from a size 6 to a 7.5, depending on the shoe. I have to try them on! I’d hate all the time wasting of having to return one pair, get the next size up (or down), possibly have to return those as well….when I buy something, I want it “NOW” and I don’t want to keep having to return stuff in hope of getting the right size, fit, etc.

Personally, indie brands are my favorite kinds of brands. But I don’t shop conventional, I only shop organic/natural non-toxic beauty. In my experience those companies aren’t “hyped” like the money making schemes we see on FaceBook. The owners are amazing people who really care about their customers, more than they do about making a ton of money. Green beauty brands, in my opinion, just have a much more ethical approach to beauty than conventional brands. Plus, a lot of green beauty boutiques have sample programs where you can just buy samples of products for shade matching or you get free samples of your choice with a purchase. Such a great way to try out foundation shades! <3 indie brands and supporting small businesses!

Only thing I don't like about green beauty brands is that they are far and few between! You have to travel to get to a green beauty boutique. Luckily some stores (Anthropolgie and Free People) are starting to carry more indie brands, but I wish I could try everything at one place!

Rave: They tend to have more unusual and larger color and finish selections than mainstream. Cute packaging and themes. They’re usually cruelty free. They usually have lower prices than mainstream.

Rant: Slow turn around times. Slow to restock sold out products. It’s more of a chance buying from a new one: If they don’t have their act together, scam, or have bad products, it can be an ordeal to get your money back. I agree with Christine that flaky owners can be an issue. I haven’t run into it myself, but I know plenty of people who have. I stay away from those brands.

Rave: Really creative! Unusual colors and formulas, not afraid to take risks. Usually cruelty free. Spend a lot of time developing their products and release a lot less product (but usually better quality) than larger brands.
Rant: Availability and speed. Products can take months to restock, and even weeks to ship out in the first place. They can also be pricier than mainstream brands (but the products are often handmade, so I understand why). They can also be sort of sketchy.

Rave: Wow! Love all these new, unique, and amazing niche products at prices I’m willing to try.

Rant: My husband designs & sells jewelry so I know there’s a lot that can go horribly awry from concept to production & running a business is a whole ‘nother can of worms. Just because you’re a fabulous artist/inventor/creator/social media personality does not mean you’re a great businessperson too. That’s why soo many Indie companies go under in less than a year. If you aren’t willing or able to learn to run a business please have sense enough to hire someone to do it for you. Or sell your idea to a company who can. Don’t price yourself at luxury level if your service & quality isn’t luxury level YET. I am just amazed at these newb little makeup & fragrance companies that think they can start out charging MAC & Roja Dove prices with little to no reputation nor prestige of any sort.

I hear you Christine!

Thankfully, I have had good luck with most of the indie brands that I have tried. Meow Cosmetics is one of my absolute favorites. I love that I can check out samples before I make a major investment. I also really love Lime Crime (yes, I am aware of the drama of years past) and ColourPop.

I will generally “stalk” an indie company for awhile before I actually purchase. I want to make sure there isn’t a lot of complaints and that they do stick around for awhile.

– creative and original products, formulas, and colors
– unofficial tie-ins or strong themes
– price (usually low)

– bad packaging
– drama
– quick turnover or limited availability

I don’t have a lot of experience with indie brands (yet). What I love about the indie brands is that many are cruelty-free and, like others have said, they tend to be more creative.

My biggest gripe is that there’s no way to try anything first, so it’s always a gamble. When I’m interested in a particular product, I try to find as many pictures and videos of people wearing it as I can before making my decision.

I’ve made several purchases from Colourpop, and was very pleasantly surprised by the Ultra Satin lipsticks. The cheek highlighters and the Lippie Stix looked so promising, but when I received them and tried them out, I was disappointed, so I have to call it a loss.

I wish there was a mini palette that you could buy with tiny samples of a lot of colors, just enough to put on once would be fine.

I enjoy the creativity, as you said. They have colors that are “unique” against the rest of the mainstream beauty trends. I typically don’t fawn over what’s mainstream (except holo, I’m on board lol) so having the ability to find exactly my style of makeup is refreshing. There are definitely bigger indie brands that hold a candle to the mainstream brands (colourpop, melt, JSC, MUG: to name a few). But again, it’s frustrating when there is so much controversy around indie brands, whether it be poor CS, ownership controversy, inconsistencies, etc. and it becomes hard to trust those brands, as well as emerging brands.

As a small side note, I usually love indie brand eyeshadow but it drives me NUTS that they are ALWAYS loose! GAH!

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