IBE’s Best In Show Awards Return With Even More Categories For Your Consideration

Indie Beauty Expo wrapped up three shows in 2017 with almost 400 exhibitors—up from 230 in 2016—making the annual IBE Best In Show Awards competition fiercer than ever. Nominees have been chosen from across the Los Angeles, Dallas and New York exhibitors, and winners will be announced at IBE LA in January of next year. 

The Best In Show Awards commenced after IBE’s inaugural New York show in 2015 with 14 categories. Two years later, the number of categories has almost doubled to 26, with newly-added categories including best makeup remover, ingestible and men’s grooming. 

“The Best in Show Awards are an expression of IBE’s mission to recognize, showcase and promote independent beauty brands,” says IBE co-founder Jillian Wright. “These brands and products are nominated purely on merit. You can’t pay to be nominated. They are the standout products in standout lines among the pool of IBE exhibitors—already an exceptional group.”

Nominees are determined based on feedback from buyers, press and consumers during and after each IBE. “The nominees were the brands that had their elevator pitch down cold on the expo floor, so when I walked over with a team of buyers from Target or Neiman Marcus, they were ready to wow,” explains Wright. 

Between now and January, the Best In Show (BIS) panel of judges comprised of recognized industry experts will be rigorously evaluating the nominees in each category and determining the winners. The daunting task of sorting through the nearly 350 nominees presents a unique opportunity to these esteemed industry insiders.

I love trying out products from indie brands, as they often don’t follow big market trends but go their own way,” says BIS judge Jessica Matlin, beauty and health director at Teen Vogue, and co-founder and co-host of the podcast Fat Mascara. “You can see someone’s personal taste or sense of intuition in their product and, once in a while, you’ll find other brands – big ones! – follow their lead.”

Returning judge Julie Keller Callaghan, editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa, agrees. “I loved being part of it last year. It was inspiring to learn about so many interesting brands, fascinating formulators, unique ingredients and powerful products,” she gushes. “I can’t wait to delve into this year’s submissions and discover what are sure to be headline makers for the coming year.”

Other BIS judges include Jennifer Goldstein, Matlin’s Fat Mascara co-host and Marie Claire executive beauty and healthy director; Jeanne Tamayo, beauty category manager, global whole body at Whole Foods Market; and Tara Foley, founder and CEO of Follain. 

Goldstein values the Best In Show Awards’ ability to level the beauty playing field for emerging beauty players. “I’m excited to be part of the judging panel for the Best In Show Awards because I’ll get to see more of the smaller brands that might not have big public relations firms working for them and sending their products out to editors,” she says. “That means there are lots of new things yet to discover.”

With a BIS nomination, brands enjoys expo exposure long after they’ve left the show floor. “A big benefit of being nominated for a Best In Show award is that the conversation is continued even after the show is over. It’s really something for the brands to strive for,” says Wright. For BIS winners, part of the prolonged conversation is participation in the Best in Show Beauty Box. The box of winning products is not only sold directly to consumers through IBE’s website, but is also sent directly to a number of VIP press and buyers. Last year’s Best In Show box was shipped to buyers at QVC, Anthropologie and Lord & Taylor as well as editors at Well + Good, Teen Vogue and Byrdie.

“I’m excited to be part of the judging panel for the Best In Show Awards because I’ll get to see more of the smaller brands that might not have big public relations firms working for them and sending their products out to editors,” says Goldstein. “that means there are lots of new things yet to discover.”

Founders of nominated brands appreciate the recognition from the Best In Show Awards and the spotlight they provide. “The Source Vitál Apothecary team is proud to see some of our top-sellers like Algae Deep Cleanse and Silt Scrub nominated for a Best in Show award, along with the essential oil-rich Fungal Nail Oil and a new superstar like Lemongrass Mani/Pedi Cream,” says Paul Colgin, CEO of the multi-nominated brand. “It is our mission to make natural, spa-quality products that offer professional results you can use daily, in the comfort of your own home—no spa appointment needed. Our products not only smell great and feel great, they really work.”

Source Vitál Apothecary CEO Paul Colgin at IBE Dallas 2017
Paul Colgin at IBE Dallas

While the chance to realize further returns on their IBE participation is a definite benefit to brands, many nominees point out the Best In Show awards are a celebration of the indie beauty movement as a whole. “As entrepreneurs, we are innately independent. We live to reinvent, create and do things differently with freedom to adapt to our fast changing world,” declares Jennifer Yen, creator of another multi-nominated brands, Purlisse. “This nomination is a win, not only for me but for the entire indie community. What an exciting time. This is proof that being independent and building the new matters. Thank you IBE for celebrating us.”

You can see the full list of 2017 Best In Show nominees here.