The third and largest professionally-curated exposition of independent beauty, lifestyle, and wellness brands, took place in New York City on August 22-24. Indie Beauty Expo showcased 220 indie brands including Lua Skincare, Milk + Honey Spa, Vital Proteins, Hum Nutrition, Osmia Organics, and more. The three-day event helps young brands connect with retail buyers, press, and consumers.

“This year’s event was incredibly diverse,” ForceBrands’ Client Strategist Alaina Bavelas said of the exhibition. “There was a lot of variety ― everything from ingestible beauty to cosmetics, skincare, and home care. It was refreshing to see so many brands from other parts of the country other than the beauty meccas of NYC and LA.”

Bavelas, who works with beauty and wellness brands to help build out their teams through strategic hires, is a leader in the beauty industry. She takes pride in her ability to identify key emerging indie trends that will drive the future direction of the industry.

Whether you attended the beauty expo or not, read on to learn more from Bavelas about how you can build your brand after Indie Beauty Expo.

1. Follow Up
Follow up with anyone that expressed interest in your brand and what you’re doing, especially private equity firms. These firms may seem intimidating, but a lot of them are eager to invest in beauty and can be a strategic part of your success.

2. Start Building a Business Plan
So you’ve successfully created a product, launched it and brought it to the public, but what’s your plan for long term success? If you’re just starting out, knowing what the end goal is will only help in continuing to grow and can attract the right people to do the job.

3. Know Where to Spend Your Money
One of the biggest mistakes a blossoming brand can make is putting money into the wrong efforts. DO spend money on important items like legal advice and outsourced financial help like accountants. These can eventually be a part of your core staff, and it’s always better to spend a bit of dough to protect you from bigger issues that may come up down the road. Don’t forget to reserve some cash flow for networking, market research, and customer acquisition strategies. DON’T spend money on an expensive office or frivolous items. Also, be sure to stay away from any behavior that cannot be measured. If you’re not able to see a return on your investment, it’s not really an investment.

4. When You’re Ready, Build the Right Team
Knowing what you’re good at and what you need help with is the first step in building a successful team. You have to know where your pain points exist and then hire people who can fulfill whatever those functions may be. If you’re small and just starting out, bringing on an advisory board member is really strategic. Ideally, you’ll want to bring on someone who has experience scaling businesses. Here at ForceBrands, we do organization design sessions to help young brands create a team that will be most successful.

Networking, Bavelas adds, is also key.

“Indie Beauty Expo is a great opportunity for brands to gain exposure and see who their competitors are. The beauty community is really small and it’s great to always be making connections.”

To contact Alaina, please reach out to her at