Years ago, when I made the switch from conventional to green beauty, I found there weren’t many options available on the market. This made replacing what I had with reliable alternatives a bit of a challenge to say the least. After a lot of research, I noticed that the products that most aligned with my values were primarily made by small, independent companies.
I’m absolutely thrilled at how far green beauty has come ever since and by the advances the industry continues to make. Nowadays, there’s an abundance of choices thanks to the perseverance and innovation of independent beauty brands. When they are given the chance and the support to flourish, it’s a win-win situation. It’s sharing a vision and ideals with individuals that have the ability to create and breathe life into those ideas.
Indie Beauty Expo New York was my first time attending the event. I learned about it through the social media of a green beauty blogger and became intrigued. Though not all of the over 220 beauty brands at the event were green beauty, plenty were in attendance. IBE provided an exhibitor map, complete with a legend that denoted such brands, which made it easier to come up with a game plan.
The expo itself spans several days: CONNECT INDIE, SHOP INDIE, and TRADE INDIE. SHOP INDIE is the only one open to the general public, while the other days are networking and business opportunities specifically for entrepreneurs and industry professionals. The two ticket types for SHOP INDIE are general admission ($29) and VIP admission ($129). I took advantage of an early bird special IBE ran back in February which was 20% off general admission. After taxes and service charge, that totaled $28.60 per ticket.
The following is included with general admission:
- Entry to event and show floor
- Free tote bag
- Access to presentations and workshops
- Access to exclusive deals and discounts
For the VIP admission price, you get the above and:
- Rapid check-in through VIP lane
- Free tote bag packed with samples
- Priority seating at presentations/panels
* Additionally, tickets are nonrefundable. If you’re a parent with little ones, note that all attendees must be 16 years of age and older. You’ll be prompted to put a name on each ticket but it can easily be changed at any time prior to the event.
I arrived about 15 – 30 minutes before doors opened at 5 PM at the Skylight Clarkson Sq with my sisters. Our Uber dropped us off half a block away so we wandered round to the back of the venue. While the entrance was slightly confusing to find at first, we were soon on the right track. One of my BFFs met up with us shortly after we got on line. Check-in went smoothly; I was able to simply present my tickets on my phone and from there got my tote and map.
The first thing I did was scope out the activation areas: flower crowns by Julia Testa, Kevita kombucha, People’s Pops shaved ice, Boxed Water, Nutridrip immunity boosters, and coffee from High Brew. Since the line for the crowns was long, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get through all the vendors I wanted to visit. So, I didn’t attend any of the presentations and workshops. There was also a DJ, a bar, and light bites being sold to tide people over until dinner.
My flowers are picked out and ready to adorn my head!
Overall, IBE NY was a very fun night out with a group of other beauty enthusiasts. If I absolutely had to offer any critiques, I’d say the date chosen and some parts of the venue. For SHOP INDIE, I think Saturday at an earlier time would allow more people to attend and make it easier for people who don’t want to stay out late on a weekday. While IBE did utilize the Clarkson Sq space, there were some sections across the various studios that became a little cramped. Sometimes it was difficult to stop and test products or talk to a vendor. Perhaps a different venue would’ve alleviated this. Even so, I’d definitely go to IBE NY again and highly recommend it to anyone that’s even remotely interested in beauty.
- Have an idea of which particular brands you’d like to check out.
Personally, this is a must. Navigating the event will be easier and more efficient than wandering around the entire time. You’ll get to stop by prioritized booths and still have time to explore and discover ones you hadn’t marked. To start, think of specific beauty/wellness items that you’re interested in. If you’re interested in primarily green beauty, then narrow it down further.
- Inquire about event specific discounts.
Almost every booth I visited ran an expo only discount special of 20 – 25% off all of their products. Others had expo specific bundles which translated to savings as well. If you’re buying things you need or just want to try out, this’ll help save some money.
- If you’re interested in activation stations, visit those first.
They’re first come, first serve and only while supplies last.
Green beauty brand, developed by a professional make up artist, that’s vegan, cruelty free, gluten free, and affordable. Their cosmetics contain both natural and organic ingredients, as found on their ingredient lists on every product page. My first purchase at IBE was their liquid concealer and later on their lip creme/lipstick in “Desert Rose”. I don’t have any liquid matte lipsticks in my arsenal so I’ll probably buy that next. Some neat things I learned: They offer a bundle that allows you to sample 5 of any of their products for $12 shipped free (use code “SAMPLERSHIP”). You’ll also get a 15% off coupon for use on a full-size purchase within 45 days. They have a generous return policy– you’re allowed to get a full refund or exchange within 30 days of purchase. Shipping is free for US orders over $50 and for international over $80. Lastly, if you purchase the lipstick in “Psych”, 15% of the proceeds will be donated to the GA chapter of Mental Health of America.
Founded by an herbalist with a passion for healing and alchemy, this holistic apothecary offers a range of green wellness products: elixirs, tonics, superfoods, flower essences, and more. All of their formulations are free of alcohol, gluten, additives, and preservatives. They’re also safe for all ages from children to the elderly despite being highly concentrated. They support fair trade, rainforest preservation, eco-conscious sustainable sourcing practices, and indigenous communities. Didn’t know it at the time but it was Adriana that helped me get acquainted with the brand and the benefits their products offer. I picked up organic Moringa and two elixirs: Curam and Euphoria. I also got a cute tote from them. They offer free shipping for orders over $99 (I believe only to the US). Bulk supply of their tonics and elixirs are available as well as custom made formulations. There’s a 10% offer your first order with newsletter sign up. Alternatively, their products are also available on Amazon and Prime eligible.
A green skincare brand hailing from New Zealand and founded by 3 friends who wanted to merge their love of organic beauty with creating a positive impact on the world. They are committed to ethical/fair trade with small communities, eco-friendly sustainable sourcing, and wildcrafted/foraged ingredients that are chemical pesticide and herbicide free. Though their products contain organic ingredients, it should be noted that the brand prioritizes the principals of organic rather than the organic certification status. Certification is expensive due to certain criteria and regulations having to be met; this is cost prohibitive to small companies/small family suppliers. The brand empowers small families/farmers/communities economically by sourcing ingredients from them that are ethically and sustainably harvested or foraged from nature versus plantation farmed. I learned at the expo that their cruelty free products, meant for all skin types, are designed to heal and nourish. As of now, they only ship to New Zealand or Australia; however, there are several online retailers that ship internationally. I purchased the face mask, elixir oil, and cleansing water from Oh Natural and had it shipped to the US for a flat rate of $15 NZD. They also sell a crystal facial set for my fellow crystal and gemstone lovers.
Made in the US, this green beauty brand offers nail polishes, nail treatments, bodycare, and polish remover. All of their products are cruelty free, vegan, biodegradable, non-toxic, and 7-free (i.e. formulated without toluene, dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene and parabens). They’re safe for use even on children and expectant mothers. Every component that houses their product is recyclable from the 100% post-consumer recycled paper packaging down to the bottle, lid, wand, and brush. They had a good amount of colors available at the expo but a whole lot more on their website. I bought two nail lacquers: gladiolos (because I always buy neutrals) and merlot (to counter that I always buy neutrals). Also, I got to try out their soy based polish remover and wasn’t left with that dried out nail feeling. Have to remember to pick up a bottle of that too! They offer free shipping in the US, no minimum spend. Available at a few salons across the US and Amazon.
Ethically sourced, organic food based face masks that utilize raw, living ingredients to bring results. You can literally eat them if you felt so inclined. All products are made in NY, cruelty free, gentle, and suitable for all skin types. Some products are vegan and/or gluten free but not all. Each product page has a complete list of ingredients so you can see which are vegetarian, vegan, contain things like dairy, nuts, or honey, etc. As the masks are food grade and free of toxic chemicals, preservatives, fillers, and additives, refrigeration is required and they should be used by a “Best By” date or finished within 6 days of opening. My sister and I received a consultation and demo from the founder, an international model that was so inspired by making the switch to green beauty that she created a sustainable skincare line. I bought the seaside smoothie. We were told there are about 4 uses per pouch but I think it depends on your preferred coverage. There are also beauty boosters available, made of superfoods and ingredients, that you add to the fresh face masks in order to enhance mask potency: matcha, aloe, activated charcoal, maca, and pearl. This allows for further customization, to better suit your skin’s current needs. Currently, they only ship to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. They sell a monthly box, either by subscription or a one time purchase, that has 3 fresh face masks and 3 boosters.