Do Indie Beauty Brand Founders Fear Being Ripped Off?

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 11 brand founders and executives: Are you worried about the copying going on in the indie beauty segment?

Melinda Herron Founder, 103 Collection

The only way I can answer that is yes and no, and because the beauty industry is always changing and emerging, and I think it's safe to say that consumers are always interested in what's new in the market.

Another reason is that consumers are on a quest for healthier products and are moving away from products that contain parabens and harmful preservatives, resulting in larger companies copying smaller emergent brands and even crossing into new territory, such as the natural hair market.

Let's face it, companies will continue to copy each other, but as long as I continue to differentiate my brand, consumers are smart enough to make the best decision for themselves.

Sarah Marcus Co-Founder, Lines of Elan

It’s always a bit of a surprise to see so many brands or products that look, feel, and function in the same way at the same time, but is it really much different in other categories? We try and stay focused on what we do best vs. following the next trend, whether it be with ingredients, claims, or branding. But with that being said, it is hard not to notice when brands start to morph into a familiar version of something else.

Michelle Ranavat Founder, Ranavat Botanics

Whether brands know it or not, there is a rampant amount of copying going on in the indie beauty world. My goal is to focus on my core beliefs and dig deeper into my brand story to show my customer why Ranavat is different. Ultimately, the customer will be able to tell the difference between a me-too brand and a founder that is passionate and knowledgeable about what is in their products and what their brand stands for.

ALICE CHENG Founder, GALS

The beauty of being human is that we are all unique, each with our own individual tastes and preferences. What may seem unremarkable to one may speak volumes to another. While there are similar products constantly emerging in the beauty industry, I believe that every founder has their own story and no one brand is ever exactly the same.

And, in a world of almost eight billion people, I am confident that there is room for every brand's story to be heard. Rather than concern, I feel empowered knowing that my brand and others can continue to grow successfully in the same space.

Tracy Golbourne Founder, Fortifyd Natural

I'm not concerned because it isn’t something that you can avoid entirely. Even if someone steals your concept, what they can’t duplicate is your passion.  They also can’t make their next move until you do since the concept and idea is yours and they may not fully understand it.

DAVID SIMNICK CEO and Co-Founder, Soapbox

If people are inspired by us then that's very flattering. What we're doing is trying to make a difference and every brand should try to figure out how they can make a better impact on this world. Obviously, we don't want someone mimicking us to a T, but if we inspire other brands to be more conscious about serving those in need then that's a win.

We founded Soapbox with the mission at its core. We want to show people that it's easy to give back to those in need. If we shake up the beauty world by influencing other brands to join the mission, then that's a huge impact we never initially thought we'd create.

I don't think many other brands will execute our mission and our products the way we do because we focus just as equally on making a positive, sustainable impact as we do on the thoughtfully crafted formula of our products and offering them at an affordable price.

DELANE MAZAHERI Co-Founder and CEO, STARE Cosmetics

The cosmetics business is repetitive by nature. Someone is innovative and comes up with a fantastic idea and others put their spin on it. It keeps things new, fresh and best of all moving forward. In this industry, you must constantly be willing to pursue new avenues and bend to keep up with the trend demands.

This is a multi-billion dollar industry, with plenty of the pie to be distributed.  Even though we can take measures to protect ourselves, being copied is a risk we take putting fourth our ideas to make new, better and innovative products. An old friend once said to me, “You will know you have succeeded when you find others have copied you. There is no better compliment as it is ultimate validation.”

IDA-SOFIA KOIVUNIEMI Founder and Owner, Evil Queen

We’ve had some copycats over the years and, while it absolutely sucks, I’ve just accepted it as part of the industry. When this happens I generally send over a kind message letting them know that my customers have reached out to me about the similarities between our brands, and it’s probably in their best interest to change their design if they’re willing.

I let them know that if a few people have already noticed similarities, more people will eventually notice, and it looks unprofessional on their end. Of course, in a perfect world this would never happen, but you just have to keep on doing you and know that your customers will stick up for you!

Anne Kukkohovi Founder, Supermood

I was working in advertising for 10 years before creating Supermood, and I can only say copying is the greatest form of flattery. I always think, “Choose your battles.” If someone imitates you, there’s nothing you can do about it. Be proud of what you do, be consistent. Keep your chin up, be scared and do it anyway.

Christinah Nicolaisen Co-Founder, Eleni & Chris

Yes, it is more challenging than before. With there being so many channels available it is a challenge to really stay on top of everything when it comes to documenting and quality assuring IP rights at all times.

NIMA JALALI Founder, Salt & Stone

We’ve already seen some packaging copycats, but I think we have a pretty unique story and name, so I’m really not too worried about it.

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to [email protected].