Indie Beauty Expo Launches ShopTheExpo Event At Neiman Marcus
Ask indie beauty brand founders to name their dream retail door, and you’re likely to hear Neiman Marcus over and over again. Though gracing the shelves of the iconic luxury retailer may feel like the loftiest of goals to some of these founders, ShopTheExpo, a new retail partnership between Neiman Marcus and Indie Beauty Media Group, producer of Indie Beauty Expo (IBE), will make this dream a reality for a handful of their beauty brands later this month.
Neiman Marcus and IBE have joined forces to create a multichannel shopping event that will introduce customers to under-the-radar beauty brands from around the world. Running from Oct. 20 to 21, ShopTheExpo at Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center in Dallas will feature 15 brands and over 100 products. In addition to purchasing the merchandise, shoppers will be able to meet and interact with brand founders during the two day event.
Several products, including a Sappho New Paradigm eye shadow palette, Mahalo Skin Care Queen Emma Beauty Elixir and a Swarovski crystal-encrusted Swiss Smile toothbrush, were developed exclusively for ShopTheExpo. Customers can check the products out in-person at ShopTheExpo, but they’ll also be able to buy them on the Neiman Marcus website starting Oct. 20. The most popular ShopTheExpo brands and products will be considered for inclusion in Neiman Marcus’s regular in-store beauty assortment.
“Our goal is to curate an amazing assortment of new and emerging brands in every beauty segment that will resonate with our existing customers, and attract and engage new customers,” says Kelly St. John, vice president, divisional merchandise manager for beauty at Neiman Marcus.
Neiman Marcus turned to IBE to help identify brands for the pop-up due to the latter’s knowledge of the indie beauty marketplace, relationships with brand founders and ability to execute events. St. John says, “With the explosive growth in today’s indie beauty market, the brands brought on through IBE’s partnership provide a point of difference in our current product assortment.”
IBE was drawn to Neiman Marcus’s long history of supporting fledgling beauty brands. “Neiman Marcus’ omnichannel presence, with over 40 doors in the US and a thriving e-commerce platform, offers indie brands an extraordinary opportunity to be discovered, learn and grow. Neiman Marcus is highly committed to beauty and, despite the organization’s size, has shown that it is willing and able to move and pivot its substantial resources in digital marketing, promotions, merchandising, store operations, supply logistics and more, at a rapid pace to pursue innovative new opportunities,” says IBE co-founder Nader Naeymi-Rad.
“With the explosive growth in today’s indie beauty market, the brands brought on through IBE’s partnership provide a point of difference in our current product assortment,” says St. John of Neiman Marcus.
The retail relationship was forged in May during IBE’s first edition in Dallas. “When we launched in Dallas earlier this year, the Neiman Marcus team welcomed us to their home market with open arms. Their entire beauty buying team attended IBE Dallas and were very complimentary of what they found there. They also candidly shared with us their challenges in working with small brands, a sentiment echoed by other large retailers who attend our shows,” explains Naeymi-Rad. “While indie brands represent a strategically important and rapidly-growing segment, they still account for less 10% of all beauty spending in the U.S. Like all other retailers, Neiman Marcus can’t afford to take their finite resources away from the core 90% of the market to focus disproportionately on indie brands.”
The prospect of entering Neiman Marcus is enticing, but jumping into a pilot retail program gives even the most ambitious beauty brand founder pause. They trust IBE to cultivate a productive and elegant shopping event. “[IBE co-founder] Jillian [Wright] is the only mentor I’ve had in these two years since I met her when I was just about to launch. She’s tried my products and given me great feedback, brought me in front of the right people and to the right places. If she’s coming to me with an opportunity, I know it’s a great opportunity because I know that she will do whatever is best for my brand,” says Sholayide Otugalu, founder of Joséphine Cosmetics.
Wright is as enthusiastic about ShopTheExpo as the participating brands are. “We are very pleased with the curation of 15 brands,” she says. “We didn’t want to just check boxes across different categories. The goal of this curation is to tap into the spirit of the indie movement and select brands whose mission and story reflected the authenticity and drive of this movement while fulfilling the high standards of the Neiman Marcus clientele.”
For the founders and executives, excitement over the halo effect the Neiman Marcus name can have on their brands overshadows any trepidation. “Neiman Marcus has an amazing reputation. Coming from New Zealand, that this is our first retailer, we are so flattered and excited. We feel it adds something to our brand that they’ve chosen us; it gives us credibility as a brand,” gushes Hannah Nelson Parker, brand strategy and marketing manager at Girl Undiscovered. “We hope the Dallas market really responds to Girl Undiscovered and that we can continue to work with Neiman Marcus and grow that relationship.” For other founders, the event has a deeper meaning. “To have my brand sold at Neiman Marcus is very personal to me,” says Ulli Haslacher, president of the European skincare brand Pour Moi Beauty. “It was actually at Neiman where I bought my first premium European skincare, and I have been hooked every since on premium European skincare. So, having a chance to sell Pour Moi at Neiman is a dream come true.”
You can see the full list of ShopTheExpo brands here.