Indie beauty is now a global phenomenon and U.S.-based Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) clearly has global expansion in its sights. IBE held its first European show in London’s East End in late October (another is planned for Berlin, March 2019), hosting nearly a thousand people across separate consumer and trade-only days.
More than 70 brands exhibited, the starting point for most being organic, vegan, cruelty-free and natural, with several chosen for Feelunique’s Spark Beauty platform. Packaging design ranged from the home-spun to the Insta-friendly, like Girl Undiscovered and MILU face masks, both resplendent in Millennial pastel colors. The following brands stood out, however, for their balance of beautiful packaging design and compelling brand stories.
IBE London’s standout product was German company Sign’s newly launched Remove & Chill, the world’s first nail polish removal cream—its acetone-free, oil-rich and minimally scented formulation, housed in a screamingly red, tattoo-inspired metal tube.
Vitruvian Man launched at IBE London with a duo of multipurpose products featuring organic ginger root juice and silver ear fungus. The pared back, recyclable packaging in very dark green and off-white with upper case font, reflects the philosophy of architect Vitruvius: everything in perfect proportion of strength, beauty and functionality.
Benamôr is a newly re-energized heritage brand founded in Lisbon in 1925. Its hand-produced natural-based range of face and body creams, lotions and soaps are housed in Art Deco, stylized floral illustrated, color-coded packaging corresponding to five different formulations.
Norway-based hair and skincare range Eleni & Chris challenges Scandi beauty’s usual minimalism, highlighting Scandinavian ingredients like cloudberry and SEA3oil but with a decidedly glam twist, featuring striking metallic caps and bold diagonal design motifs.
Amsterdam-based fragrance brand Abel, was founded by New Zealander Frances Shoemack to create the world’s most appealing, organic perfume range. She definitely succeeded! Abel’s pleasingly tactile and minimalist ecru uncoated paper boxes are enlivened with a pop of color corresponding to the fragrance names: think Red Santal and Cobalt Amber.
And finally, Verdant Alchemy entirely reinvents bath salts for the 21st Century. Its vegan, full Cosmos natural-certified mineral bath salts have all the traditional pain-relieving and well-being benefits of yesteryear, but bring them bang up to date in bold, Pop Art-esque graphic packaging.
About the Author
Sara Jones is a partner & client services director at Free the Birds.
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