Big Wins Indie Beauty Brands Scored Last Year—And Ones They Hope To Score This Year

Last year, much of the news in the indie beauty world was a downer, so we thought it might be worthwhile to share some good news. So, for the latest edition of our ongoing series posing questions relevant to indie beauty, we asked 16 beauty entrepreneurs the following questions: What was a big win for your brand last year? What’s a big win you hope to score for your brand this year?

Taylor Tankson Co-Founder, Tribe & Oak

Our most significant achievement in 2023 was securing a $15,000 grant to support our business operations. We were honored to be invited to Beyoncé’s BeyGood Black Business Luncheon this summer.

While we didn't receive a grant at the event, we had the privilege of participating in the Black parade route and were fortunate to receive numerous sponsored resources, including a 12-week intensive business course with Our Village United and Mastercard.

During our graduation, we were selected as one of the five businesses to present a pitch, and we proudly secured third place. Despite our lack of prior pitching experience, the opportunity was both daunting and immensely rewarding for our business.

This seems like the perfect time to manifest! In 2024, we are manifesting growth. Our goal is to introduce our luxury home essentials to a wider audience and expand our tribe.

We envision our brand being featured in numerous retail outlets, including at least two major retailers such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Whole Foods and others. Additionally, we are focused on expanding our brand's visibility and cultivating a substantial following on social media platforms. And while we are here, getting more media placements and brand highlights.

Heather Rogers Founder and Dermatologist, Doctor Rogers

2023 was a pivotal year for us. We grew a lot. Our brand is about essential skincare. We focus on the core knowledge and products people need to get great skin. This is a message that is really connecting with people right now.

I was able to explain our ethos on podcasts like “The Blonde Files” and significant press pieces, including a Beauty Independent feature, and the outpouring of excitement and appreciation for the brand was so wonderful.

This messaging was also tied with the launch of new products and packaging highlighting our core values. It seems like that combination was magical.

For 2024 we hope to continue to grow and share our message while building relationships with our retailers including Cos Bar, Credo, Revolve, Violet Grey, dermatology practices. The focus is again education and being a resource, for our customers but also store managers and staff of our retail partners.

We are doing product trainings, general skin education and creating content for their newsletters and social media channels to help get accurate information out there about what the skin really needs.

Raphael Babalola Founder, TMPL

A big win for us was growing 580% last year. It was a huge year for us, especially as we went through a brand rename and complete site redesign.

In 2024, we plan on 4X'ing the business and moving into new territories outside the U.K.

Kristina Rasmussen Founder, The Heart Company

Last year’s significant achievement was the launch of our uplifting 100% vegan perfume line, created with the perfumers of the famous fragrance house Givaudan, on Amazon U.S. We effectively utilized Amazon’s brand-building tools, introducing our brand message to customers in the U.S. and encouraging them to spritz happiness, positivity and love into their lives with our fragrance line.

This year, our overarching goal goes beyond business expansion. We aim to uplift people in times of change and uncertainty. We’re seeking strategic partners and investor support in 2024 for our lean, bootstrapped, debt-free beauty business, with plans to venture into retail stores.

Our mission extends beyond products, aspiring to bring good vibes, kindness, happiness and positive messages to individuals facing challenges, making a positive impact on people’s lives during these dynamic times.

Candera Thompson Founder and CEO, Bask & Bloom Essentials

A big win for us last year was securing a partnership with a major hospital network as a certified minority-owned business. We are now supplying hair products to 40 hospitals and facilities in three different states.

This year we are focusing on expanding our in-store partnerships. We have a customer base in Canada and the U.K. that grew pretty quickly after launching our ambassador program. A big win would be a retail partnership that aligns with our brand's mission and can make access to our products easier in those top cities/countries.

Irene Bataller Founder, Cybele New York

Our major success in the past year was the successful closure of our pre-seed funding round. This allowed us to kickstart mass production and fulfill the demand from the waitlist we had built up in the preceding months.

Upon launch, we achieved an impressive feat by selling out the cocoa flavor within just 24 hours. Furthermore, we initiated promising discussions with Sephora Mexico.

In the coming year, our main objectives are to break even and complete our seed funding round. We'll be keeping our team streamlined for efficiency while executing exciting plans from our roadmap such as launching new products. Additionally, we have plans to expand into retail in Europe.

Allie McAllister Co-Founder and Nurse Practitioner, Squeeze Skin

Curating only the hero products from each skincare line and combining them in specialized pairings known as stacks. What we found is that by bringing simplified skincare into the home of our patients, we've leveled up their routines and their skin has never looked better without needing in office procedures. Squeeze Skin stacks have made skincare simple again.

We are excited to see the trend of deinfluencing the 10-step routine and see our customers simplify their routines with effective products that show real results. We would love to reinstill trust back into beauty industry consumers.

Raechele Cochran Gathers Co-Founder and Dermatologist, Bloomballa Beauty

After years of research and development, our big win for last year was the successful launch of our anti-stress beauty and wellness line.

In 2024, our aim is to further expand our reach and strengthen the foundation of our brand by actively building meaningful connections with our audience. We remain committed to promoting beauty and wellness through our anti-stress products, staying true to our values of innovation, quality and authenticity.

Lara Schmoisman Founder and CEO, Infuse

Last year brought an incredible milestone for our brand. We were thrilled to successfully launch our products without compromising on our vision. This meant crafting our line with the high-quality ingredients we envisioned and presenting them with the branding we had always imagined. It was a big win for us because it allowed us to stay true to our values and deliver exceptional products to our customers.

This year, our primary goal is to create significant brand awareness. We want people to not only discover our products, but also learn about the unique properties of yerba mate and the essence of our brand, which is dedicated to serving the specific skincare needs of mature skin. Our big win for this year would be to encourage more individuals to try our products and experience the transformative power of yerba mate-infused skincare. We're excited to introduce more people to a brand that celebrates the beauty of aging gracefully.

Kalpana Patel Founder, Kaia Skin

In 2023, we were honored that our Kaia Skin products were well received at prestigious Esthetician & Spa expositions in Dallas and Philadelphia. Additionally, several spas requested to carry our Ayurveda-inspired products and tools.

In 2024, we look forward to continuing to educate people on the simplicity and benefits of incorporating Ayurvedic ingredients, tools and rituals in their skincare. Also, for Kaia Skin to be featured in more spas throughout the country.

Dylan Losche Founder, Carriage House Lavender Farm

A major win for Carriage House Lavender Farm last year was the positive customer response to our new line of blended essential oil products, which led to a 50% increase in sales. We hope to build on that growth by reinvesting into our self-care products featuring complementary botanicals like lemongrass.

This year, we hope to bring Carriage House Lavender Farm's artisanal production to more people by expanding our close-knit team from one full-time employee to two lavender experts.

Katya Slepak Founder and CEO, Malaya Organics

A big win for us last year was making our products available in professional/backbar sizes. This has allowed us to expand our footprint with some of our existing partners that offer treatments as well as secure new partnerships with spas.

We also reformulated and relaunched two of our fan fav products, our Conditioning Lip Balm Moisture Restore and our Hand Butter Protect & Replenish. And the feedback has been amazing! We can barely keep them in stock.

There are several exciting new ventures happening for us in 2024. We are working on releasing two new, long awaited product launches. Some very exciting new partnerships are slated to launch for us overseas at the end of 2024. We are continuing to expand our business into new retail and spa partnerships.

And the most exciting news is we are working on opening a brick-and-mortar location, where we will offer treatments with our product line and more! This is the most exciting part for me because I love interacting with my customers in person. And they love getting a personal feeling and connection when experiencing my line for the first time.

In this day and age when most shopping is done online, it’s exciting to reconnect with customers, new and old, face to face. Some of my customers have been purchasing my line for eight years, almost as long as I have been in business. This type of customer loyalty says a lot about the effectiveness of our products.

So, we want to build on that and create a wellness oasis that will allow us to continue growing our loyal customer base and offer amazing treatments with our healing creations.

Tosca Hillman Founder, GlōGirl

A big win for GlōGirl was joining the Flip shopping platform. We were able to reach a newer audience and get lots of authentic video reviews from subscribers.

A big win that we’re hoping to score is GloGirl presence in Ulta stores or through their online platform.

Kelsey Kennedy Founder, Blossom & Stone

Honestly, last year unfolded more slowly than expected, stirring a whirlwind of anxiety at first. However, this pace turned out to be a blessing for my brand, pushing me to refine and clarify my goals and strategies.

Launching Blossom & Stone at the pandemic's onset was a journey filled with trials and learning curves. It was about discovering what resonates with my customers and what fulfills my creative vision. Looking back, I see 2023 as the year everything started to crystallize, marking a significant stride in the right direction.

I'm all in for a year of exploration and growth! I've got plans for new product launches, a few collaborative ventures and perhaps even an in-person retreat. I'm feeling optimistic about 2024. It feels like there are no limits to what we can achieve!

Mira Herman Founder, Rosemira Organics

Aside from increasing our client base, our accomplishment was completing a rebranding with new labels and upgrading our website. We also added a subscription option.

The greatest win last year was winning several awards, including first place in the eye category and body category in several of the awards we submitted our products to. While our repeat customers have been telling us we’re winners, it was lovely to be recognized.

Being an independent woman-owned operation, our challenge in 2024 is to continue to increase our web visibility by opening new international markets and winning more awards.

As far as a dose of realism, keeping up with bigger brands and being visible in this saturated market has been and continues to be financially and strategically challenging.

Leslie Hendin Co-Founder, Liis

A big win for us was the post-pandemic smoothing of supply chains. Timelines went back to pre-pandemic lengths, making it much easier for us to plan and pivot when necessary.

We also launched two new scents and candles last year, partnered with key retailers and launched in the EU.

We’re looking forward to what we have planned in 2024—new scent launches, collaborations, expanding markets and exciting new retailer partners.

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