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Beauty UK

The U.K.’s Top Indie Brands of Q3 2019

You may have heard about Shiseido’s monumental $845 million acquisition of cult-favorite skincare brand Drunk Elephant in October. Or before that, General Atlantic’s majority stake in influencer-backed makeup brand Morphe in August. Or even before that, Unilever’s $500 million purchase of prestige skincare brand Tatcha

Clearly, indie beauty is becoming an increasingly exciting financial opportunity in the investment community—And we don’t expect that to stop anytime soon. In fact, rumors have been swirling that Charlotte Tilbury is looking for a buyer...


The Importance of Indie Brands’ EMV

Investors are increasingly looking to indie brands’ earned media performances to guide their acquisition decisions, so this quarter, we debuted our U.K. Indie Beauty Debrief, showcasing U.K.-based indie beauty brands that have exhibited notable Earned Media Value (EMV) performances. Oftentimes, these brands power success with cult-favorite products and foster strong, loyal communities of online influencers through well-executed activations and campaigns. In Q3, we spotlighted three buzzy indie brands that made waves in the U.K.: Charlotte Tilbury, Iconic London, and Nip + Fab. Here’s a sneak peek into what we found:

A flatlay featuring products from Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Collection.

Charlotte Tilbury

Fosters Community With Hero Products

With its loyal band of U.K. bloggers, Charlotte Tilbury boasted a 7% quarter-over-quarter EMV growth, closing Q3 with $18.6M EMV. Since launching in 2013, the brand’s iconic your-lips-but-better “Pillow Talk” Lip Cheat Lip Liner shade has proved integral to Charlotte Tilbury’s online success—so much so that the “Pillow Talk Love Story” is outlined on the brand’s website. In Q3, the Lip Cheat Lip Liner ranked as Charlotte Tilbury’s top offering, with 12% of the brand’s community mentioning the lip product. Hero products, like “Pillow Talk,” help brands cultivate strong communities of product loyalists, who they can then grow into broader brand loyalists through relationship-building—something Charlotte Tilbury has done through influencer activations and product launches. 


A model applying Iconic London’s Brow Silk brow balm to her eyebrows.

Iconic London

Builds Influencer Following With Kardashian Support and Innovative Products

Founded by Jade Elliott, Iconic London has built a strong online presence with its trendy and innovative products—and an endorsement from Kim Kardashian West didn’t hurt, either. In July 2018, BlueGem Capital Partners purchased a majority stake in Iconic London for the purpose of global expansion. This quarter, the brand experienced a 10% quarter-over-quarter EMV increase, netting $7.1M EMV. In July, Iconic London partnered with popular U.S.-based makeup artist Patrick Ta to develop the soap brow-inspired Brow Silk, which spurred influencer buzz throughout the quarter. With high-profile partnerships and products that push the envelope, Iconic London has cultivated a community of influencers who are constantly excited for what’s coming next.


A close-up photo showcasing Nip + Fab’s new Vitamin C collection of skincare products.

Nip + Fab

Targets Younger Demographic With Affordable Skincare

Affordable skincare brand Nip + Fab was founded by Maria Hatzistefanis, creator of sister-brand Rodial and the mastermind behind the “How to Be an Overnight Success” book and podcast. Hatzistefanis is seen as a pioneer of growing a digital brand, and has been known to communicate directly with Rodial and Nip + Fab customers using her personal Instagram account (@mrsrodial). This quarter, Nip + Fab continued its practice of releasing affordable, on-trend skincare products, and earned significant influencer support for its new Vitamin C and Retinol products (which launched within days of each other). In all, Nip + Fab garnered $3.2M EMV in Q3, representing a 10% increase from its Q2 total.


To learn more about these brands’ influencer strategies, community stats, and EMV trajectory over time, download our Q3 U.K. Indie Beauty Debrief and subscribe to our blog to keep up-to-date with the latest in indie beauty

View Q3 UK Indie Debrief


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