US luxury department store Neiman Marcus’s new beauty initiative ShopTheExpo (October 20-21) embraces the trend for expo retailing, as detailed in Beta Blends: Dexterous & Dynamic Store Design. It’s a phenomenon where the insatiable social-media-driven appetite for newness and insider info is fuelling store concepts resembling micro exhibitions or incubators, both temporary and permanent.
The concept has been created in partnership with the Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) – an industry event founded in 2015 to support independent brands and their entrepreneur founders. Hosted at Neiman Marcus’s Dallas flagship, the two-day event will give consumers access to 15 little-known but potentially cult beauty brands from all over the globe. Shoppers will also be able to meet the founders, catering to consumers’ increasing desire for more candid brand connections (see Exploiting Insider Access and Intimate, Democratic & Inclusive: New Brand Spaces).
While the indie beauty segment is growing swiftly, it still only accounts for 10% of US beauty spending, according to IBE’s co-founder Nader Naeymi-Rad. This way, IBE and its chosen15 get to enjoy big-brand exposure without sacrificing their ‘outsider’ status, while Neiman Marcus can revel in the credibility of associating with less predictable brands.
The genesis of the concept, which taps into a booming appetite for under-the-radar beauty and fragrance (see Indie Beauty Trends 2017), can be traced back to the B2C Retail Trade Show Trend, where industry-only events began opening to the public. The full list of participating brands is available here.
See also Beauty Flagships.