IBE And Neiman Marcus Celebrate Their Ongoing Partnership With Indie Beauty Brand Founder-Filled Event In Newport Beach
Indie Beauty Expo and Neiman Marcus have teamed up once again to refresh the luxury retailer’s collection of independent beauty and wellness brands.
To celebrate their partnership, the companies hosted a two-day ShopTheExpo customer event last Friday and Saturday, and a Saturday brunch for VIP shoppers and influencers at Neiman Marcus’s Fashion Island outpost in Newport Beach, Calif. The public event featuring 16 brands, including Billion Dollar Brows, Olive + M, Au Naturale, Arcona, Imbibe and Abbott NYC, marked the second such indie beauty and wellness pop-up at the Orange County store, one of the retailer’s most high-profile locations.
“We really enjoy doing something new and different for our incredible customers. They love a great experience and a great story,” says Leyla Vokhshoori, vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus at Fashion Island. “Our customers are thirsty to hear these founder stories. They embrace them. We believe in these brands, and it gives us the opportunity to share these hidden treasures and their missions.” Among the standouts, Ikoo’s haircare tools and products resonated with customers who were particularly drawn to the German brand’s thermal hair wrap treatments. Mila D’Opiz, one of three Swiss brands present including Swiss Smile and Sea Buck Switzerland, also generated major buzz with shoppers.
Brand founders such as Ashley Prange from Au Naturale, Felicity Evans from Imbibe and Michael Pass from Abbott NYC were on hand at Neiman Marcus during ShopTheExpo to interact with customers. For influencer Eva Catherine, a highlight of the event was learning about the backstories of brands that are not always shared online.
“They come here and pour their heart out, and tell you about everything that they do,” says the travel and fashion content creator, who incorporates ShopTheExpo brands Eighth Day and Mila D’Opiz in her beauty routine. “I love hearing the science behind the products. They do their research and that’s important to me.”
Nader Naeymi-Rad, co-founder of Indie Beauty Media Group, producer of Indie Beauty Expo and owner of Beauty Independent, emphasizes the importance of regular ShopTheExpo in-store events to keep influencers and shoppers engaged, and broaden the audience for indie beauty and wellness brands at Neiman Marcus. “Retailers are always looking for something new to bring to the customer that is not readily found elsewhere,” he says. “Indie brands specifically bring that element of freshness because many are inherently differentiated. They are under the radar and pushing innovation.”
“Retailers are always looking for something new to bring to the customer that is not readily found elsewhere. Indie brands specifically bring that element of freshness because many are inherently differentiated. They are under the radar and pushing innovation.”
The partnership between IBE and Neiman Marcus kicked off with an event at the retailer’s NorthPark Center store in Dallas in October 2017. A year ago, ShopTheExpo held its inaugural pop-up at the Fashion Island store. It exceeded sales goals for Neiman Marcus and IBE. As the partners evolve and elevate their practices, ShopTheExpo sales and productivity are set to increase this year.
Neiman Marcus’s relationship with IBE assists the department store retailer in frequently enlivening its assortment of emerging beauty brands to position it as a leader in cutting-edge beauty movements. The relationship is a way for IBMG to tie its global expositions to a platform beyond the exposition floor.
“There are many difficulties at play when bringing new brands into a store, especially within the indie space,” says IMBG co-founder Jillian Wright. She notes retailers don’t have the bandwidth to nurture relationships with young brands, many of which have scant retail experience: “It can be tough to secure permanent space in the store.” By joining forces with IBE, Neiman Marcus brings brands from exhibition space to shelf space in 45 days. IBMG acts as a communication and curation hub to guide and manage the brands involved in the collaboration.
In total, the indie beauty and wellness partnership between IBE and Neiman Marcus covers 35 brands with a wide array of product prices from $8 to $1,388. The recent update adds six brands to the collection. For budding brands, working with an iconic department store retailer can change the trajectories of their businesses.
“We have worked so hard on this relationship. We hand-pick products together based on hours and hours of conversations. We are all focused on the customer. We want to bring the best experience in terms of newness, stories and incredible product.”
La Sirene, a marine collagen brand introduced more than three years ago, was picked by Neiman Marcus after exhibiting at IBE Los Angeles last year. Its launch at the retailer resulted in a notable lift in brand awareness. Founder Anixia Rodriguez says, “People started paying attention because I was carried in Neiman Marcus. Shoppers knew it was a quality product, and we started getting more press.”
Rodriguez views the validation from Neiman Marcus as a sign her entrepreneurial dream wasn’t pie in the sky. “When I launched, people told me I was crazy to create a beauty supplement, especially a premium product at a premium price,” she says. “I knew it needed to be in the right atmosphere, the right client and Neiman Marcus was perfect.” La Sirene was one of the top performing brands at the ShopTheExpo event last year, and the retailer has since brought its products into stores, including the upcoming location at New York development Hudson Yards.
Several first-time IBE LA exhibitors in January were discovered by Neiman Marcus and immediately approached to participate in its indie beauty and wellness collection. Within six weeks of the exposition, Abbott NYC was onboarded into the IBE range with the retailer. Pass says the opportunity for exposure is a game changer for his clean fragrance brand. He elaborates, “It’s a way for us to get into an iconic department store without getting lost, plus it generates excitement. Launching into a store like Neiman Marcus without the help of IBE would be much more of a challenge.”
Imbibe’s Miracle Collagen and Beauty Renewal drink stood out on the IBE LA exhibition floor to Neiman Marcus buyers, and founder Evan believes Imbibe’s presence at the retailer will enable it to stand out in the beauty segment. She says, “Being a part of this collection helps position us within the luxury space, which is exactly where we felt we needed to be, so Neiman Marcus’ interest really reinforced that we are in the right segment.”
Vokhshoori describes the Neiman Marcus-IBE collection as “an incredible partnership” between the retailer’s merchant organization in Dallas, the store in Newport Beach and IBE staff. She says, “We have worked so hard on this relationship. We hand-pick products together based on hours and hours of conversations. We are all focused on the customer. We want to bring the best experience in terms of newness, stories and incredible product. We have the same mission and same mentality.”