Let's consider Temptalia's 2012 contenders for the "Best Indie Brand" category and parse out some of the brands. Like I said before, there was disagreement with some of the brands nominated but I think it just necessitates a clarification of indie (which is basically what this post is about though I don't know if we'd ever come to a consensus). In 2012, Inglot won, followed by theBalm, then Sugarpill. The other nominees were Cult Nails, Fyrinnae, Glamour Doll Eyes, Lime Crime, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC), Shiro Cosmetics, and Sigma Makeup. In 2010, the winner was NYX.
I know that the great majority of the companies listed employ a laboratory or other manufacturer to product their products, (Inglot, theBalm, Sugarpill, Cult Nails, Lime Crime, OCC, and Sigma Makeup) and many of the brands are sold in physical stores or have their own freelancing stores (Inglot, theBalm [previously in Sephora but I do believe they're being sold in Nordstroms now], OCC [they have a freestanding store in New York and recently started being sold in Sephora!], Shiro [there is a physical location selling them in Oregon]. I'm not 100% sure on Sugarpill and Glamour Doll Eyes being sold in physical locations. Fyrinnae does not sell in another location.
So what does "Indie" mean to you? I think I can consider brands like Fyrinnae, Shiro Cosmetics, and Glamour Doll Eyes to be firmly "Indie" since they do manufacture and sell the products themselves but the line is blurred for brands like Cult Nails, Sugarpill, Lime Crime, and Sigma who don't manufacture the products but do most of the selling themselves. Would they be considered small businesses as opposed to strictly Indie?
I can't say I consider Inglot to be Indie (being sold in 300 retail locations worldwide has a more corporate feel) however OCC and theBalm are a little difficult to classify when the Founders of the companies still play a huge role in the company but the brands are/were being sold in Sephora which is a very big retail chain.
So my question to you is, what do you consider to be "Indie" and why?