Thoughts on the Indie/Indie Cosmetics Community

These thoughts have been bouncing around in my head for a while now and I feel the need to express them now. It's a mishmash of a whole bunch of thoughts that I've tried to lump together semi-coherently.

After reading and seeing the amazing response I got from my Lime Crime posts, it's made me more aware of the potential impact that my writing can have. It's also made me think about the responsibility I have to be as truthful and and ethical as I can for everyone (not that I didn't think that I didn't need to be before, it's just that my realization of it is much more acute now).

This is just my personal opinion but I've always felt that some people and bloggers will let some Indie Companies get away with some bad customer service (while still having good products) because they may know them on a more personal, friendly level. I know I have been guilty of this so I'm not pulling a holier than thou thing but I would not like to be that type of person at all anymore. I also think it's all too easy for people to take negative reviews way too personally, as if thinking negatively of a company means that it's a reflection of your thoughts on the person behind the company.

I said this on my twitter, but I absolutely despise the censorship that's developed because people fear the backlash that comes from a company's fans following a "bad" review. There's no excuse for glittermobbing or white knighting on the behalf of a company. That's it, end of story. To glittermob within the context of Indie Companies basically means to harass or attack someone for having specific feelings on an Indie Company. It can be due to your not agreeing with praise for a company that you don't like or for them to have a negative opinion on a company that you do like. I've seen glittermobbing time and time again (and I've certainly experienced it myself) and it's completely appalling that people will get so heated about someone not liking a company that they like or liking a company that they despise.

EDIT: I should note that while it's unfair, glittermobbing can reflect poorly on the company, even though the company and its owner may not have had a hand in what their customers say. This makes it that much more important for people to NOT glittermob. Disagreeing with someone is one thing, but I think no company owner wants to be associated with customers that think glittermobbing is okay. Unfortunately I've seen it where company owners help to perpetuate the drama and glittermobbing so it's certainly possible for owners to have a direct hand in the destruction of their reputation.

I've said this before, but what you do with your money is your business and what I do with my money is mine. If you want to buy and review a company that I don't like, then go right ahead. I know the lines can be blurred when someone is sent product but I think they still deserve some respect for their decision.

I should also note that I've felt there's been sort of an elitist attitude built up around buying exclusively Indie. I certainly understand supporting small businesses, which Indies are, but I don't necessarily think anyone should look down on others who don't only purchase from Indies. I've seen people say "this is nice but I only buy Indie" or "Indie is better, I can't imagine spending that much money on ___" and it's not an attitude that I like because I shouldn't have to feel bad because I make the conscious decision not to buy from a small business. It ties into what I said about how what you do with your money is your business and what I do with my money is mine. I choose to buy or use high end because I like it, it's not a slight towards any Indies or small businesses. There are things I like from higher end brands and I don't think any justification is needed. I can like both higher end brands and I can like small businesses/Indies, the two aren't mutually exclusive events. That being said, supporting small businesses/Indies is a good thing but much like high end products, they aren't the be all end all. There are some things Indies do better but not all.

I want to add in that while the tone of my post is generally critical of things within the community, I'd like to emphasize how much I do like Indie Companies. You can actually put a name and face to the company and the company itself isn't represented by some sort of faceless entity. I adore that these men and women are able to do what they want and work a job that they love, providing things that make so many people happy.

Thoughts on any of my ramblings words? Are there things you like or don't like about the Indie Cosmetics Community/Indie Community in general?


  1. I totally agree with everything you've said here, and I think it really needed to be said.

  2. As usual, you are on point Mai. I'm glad you wrote this because I'm sure a lot of people (myself included) are thinking these things, but are afraid to voice them for the reasons you described.

    I haven't been glittermobbed in that I haven't had multiple people attack me for my opinion on a company. However, at one point I did have a page listing companies I wouldn't purchase from, which only really had HV Cosmetics and one other company. This was because this company was selling unblended colorants as eyeshadows. (The ingredients page on their Facebook, since deleted, as well as the quality of the pigments themselves were evidence to this) Some girl who had never commented on my blog before jumped down my throat about not having proof, about how I was just making shit up about this company because she never had a bad experience, etc. etc.

    As I politely explained to her, why would I have any reason to say something bad about a product or company if the products really were good? Why does anyone, besides having a bad experience they want to share? I think a lot of these glittermobbers forget that not everyone expresses an opinion about a company based on personal emotions.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: it is absolutely, 100% ludicrous that these people are getting so defensive about something as trivial as makeup. I mean that in I'm constantly amazed whenever people continue to stand up for terrible business practices like those exhibited by Glittersniffer and Lime Crime out of loyalty to the owners, dismissing those with negative opinions as "haters". It boggles me how so many of these people make the mental leap of equating any sort of criticism with "hating", instead of taking the time to consider how it might be valid. Why does brand loyalty/makeup take precedence over concerns about product safety, or racist ad campaigns, or whatever else? I just don't get it.

    Plus, as much as I hate to say this, some of the cliquey-ness that has built up in the indie community has gone far beyond ridiculous. People end up making judgments based on friendships and alliances instead of using their heads, and it never works out. Not that there's anything wrong with developing friendships -- I think it's awesome, and have become friendly with a few owners. There must be some boundaries, though. For me, it goes both ways -- there are some company owners that have done some things I disagree with/find distasteful, but still purchase from because (providing they haven't done anything really horrid) I'm happy to offer that boundary between the personal and the professional. I think a lot of people, both owners and customers, lose sight of where that boundary is. (If I do choose to boycott a company based on strictly personal reasons, I keep that to myself. No need to make a huge fuss about it, which is where I think many bloggers go wrong.)

    1. I think for me, buying from an Indie is supposed to be a well rounded experience and I've always felt that bad presentation through social media factors into my decision whether to continue purchasing from a company or not. Of course, that's my personal decision (which it should be) and I know others may not agree with it which is completely fine. We're allowed to not share the same ideas.

      Where I choose to shop from isn't a place that anyone needs to shop at if they don't like to or vice versa! For me, I think that if I choose not to shop from a place while having positive reviews on my blog, it's not necessarily truthfully representing myself and it's something that I ought to consider remedying.

    2. ^^^^^This. Plus, I find that buying Indie gives you more personal service and a better customer/owner rapport. (It's like going to a favorite coffee shop, except you're getting makeup instead of caffeine!)

  3. Well said Mai! I have always respected you for voicing your honest opinion. I've read all of your posts about Lime Crime and about HV. You tend to adress things very professionally and maturely. I do agree that some companies tend to get away with things because the owners become "friends" with their customers. I guess as a customer, it is your decision if you want to interact with the owners or not. If you do, then feel it is okay for them to have questionable customer service, that is your own deal. But don't go "glittermobbing" others if they voice an honest, true, and fair opinion of their experience. I've always gotten a kick out of the term glittermobbing, it cracks me up!

    I agree that buying from indie vs. brand names are mutually exclusive. They both have their pros and cons. I'm a huge indie supporter, but definitely not an elitist. And I think it's important to give fair and honest reviews to indies, just as I would a brand name. If it is constructive criticism, I would hope the owner would take it as that, and not be offended by the comments.

    I did create my own "drama" at one point with an indie owner. When I did take a step back and look at what I had said, I realized that I wasn't being completely fair. I contacted the owner via email and appoligized, the removed my comment off of someone else's blog. To me what is important is being FAIR and HONEST. If something needs said, then say it.

    And I haven't ever been completely glittermobbed, but at one point some people too offense to my lipgloss series where I correlated the fact that by supporting indie, we still support big business. Some of the ingredients they use in their formulas come from large commercial corporations.

    I think its fair to respect others opinions. Just make sure you have a dog in the fight and have done your research before you go to glittermobbing!

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. I think the indie community lately has been really bullshit. Too many little cliques, facebook groups, shit-talking, etc. And a lot of it has been done by business owners, which is terrible. Gossip spreads fast and more people find out about things than you'd think. There are lots of people I find to be deceitful, and it's been undermining the spirit of the community. It used to be a lot different to me. I'm very wary now of who I want to shop with or interact with. I hope the people who stir up drama and act like children will eventually find something better to do, and everything will be somewhat peaceful again.

  5. I actually had not discovered the Indie makeup community (there's actually a community... for makeup? o.O) until very recently (because of my Lime-Crime fiasco). However, part of this happened because I was looking for vegan (or at least carmine-free) cosmetics (because of personal issues regarding the use of animal products... and because of allergies), and because I really love makeup.

    I'm... not really sure what to think. The glitter-bombing seems immature and kind of counterproductive; I've been on the wrong end of it myself, and I only got involved in this "scene" a month ago. It doesn't look good to those of us who really enjoy the products, which really should be what this is about...

    ...but I digress.

    The Lime Crime thing is bullshit. (I think so because I was almost exposed to several makeup ingredients that I'm severely allergic to.) I tend to make my decisions based on the available evidence, but there really isn't much evidence in their favor. I probably could have sued them, and won, if I'd used the crap I was trying to purchase; and you know, it's not about the bullshit sockpuppeting or the glitterbombing, or even any of the duplicity I've seen in her business (such as the obviously photo-shopped swatches for the Chinadoll palette) - it's the outright lying, the endangerment of her customers, and the seeming nonchalance about the people she offends with this. She doesn't seem to realize that her actions have consequences, and I'm afraid that I can't respect someone who disregards their customers in such an acute, obvious manner.

    She's not professional. I applaud you for taking the high road on this, but she's really not.

  6. I understand what you're saying, and I agree, but overall I just prefer indie products (I have a lot of problems with the big companies that go far beyond their product quality), especially since I live in Australia, and we get, oh, a 400% markup here - so if you don't order indie online, you get to go and pay $30 for something terrible.

    The cliqueishness is very true, though. I am a thorough researcher, so when I say, "oh yeah, I don't buy from Lime Crime because the owner is Satan" I usually manage to say it in a room full of LC fans and get mauled to death. And called a "hater".

    I am proudly and unquestionably, a big fat hater, Mai. :P

    I try to give indie companies a far chance, and avoid the communities if at all possible. Shiro Cosmetics is a good community though.

    My biggest problem with indie is, pure and simply, ENOUGH WITH THE SPARKLES. Sparkles are popular. I get it. I like them on everyone but me. But won't someone please think of the matte colours?! I love Morgana Cryptoria, but can she make some lipsticks WITHOUT shifts, sparkles and duochromes? ;-; I AM AN OLD LADY AT HEART.

    1. I personally haven't tried them but I know Detrivore Cosmetics is pretty popular for their matte eyeshadows! I think Darling Girl does make a few lip products without sparkles

    2. As a fellow Aussie, I think you've hit on something very relevant there. I don't have a particular leaning toward either commercial or indie, but from a purely financial point of view, I can buy half a dozen eyeshadows from an indie company based in the US, and even with shipping taken into account it will cost me less than the price of one eyeshadow here.

      But yeah... the drama is tiresome. I tend to avoid the companies whose names come up again and again. Where there's smoke there's fire and all that.

    3. Here here Dee. I get we have a higher minimum wage so costs have to be a little higher but that doesn't really help when companies use that as an excuse to hike up, say a MAC product from $14 to $48! And yes, that is how much lipsticks here from MAC cost - not that I'd buy from MAC anyway, but that just pissed me off so much. At least the Illamasqua store next door to it has a smaller hike ($22 to $35) and its makeup artists are actually competent (every time I go into MAC I am ignored by the girls who just sit around looking bored).

      I prefer the service of indie companies to the big ones that just sort of go "what's that? You paid good money for a shit product and want to complain? no, sorry, we DO NOT CARE AT ALL." whereas even the bad indie companies will refund or exchange if you throw a bit enough tantrum.

      The glittermobbing and clique behaviour is scary but not as scary as some other cliques. Twilight fans for example. (yeah I've had that in my head since you said "glittermobbing", mai)

  7. As a newly started indie owner, some of the things you see on people's blogs (not so much bad reviews, but more so the glittermobbing) is sometimes enough for me to actually want to take a step back from the indie community and refrain from socialising on a personal level with people.

    It saddens me that people can become so personally involved with the indie community that it creates lengthy drama and honesty, some of it is just plain internet bullying and harrassment.

    A massive percentage of people who buy indie are rather level headed and compassionate people who are able to see things from many perspectives, and can appreciate an honest review whether it's done in a negative or positive light. Unfortunately there are always those who tend to take everything personally, and feel that to support a company means to make sure that anyone who has a negative opinion is pushed out of the way.

    With 100% honesty I believe these types of consumers put a negative light on the company (regardless if the owner was involved with the review, such as posting feedback etc) and I would be absolutely mortified if I ever came across people glittermobbing a customer's negative review of my company.

    As someone who has purchased indie cosmetics in the past and continues to do so (and hopefully will for many years) I can appreciate the fact that all of us have individual tastes, and not everyone can be pleased all the time. We're all different people, different colouring and different skin types - not every product is going to please every customer.

    I take on negative feedback as constructive criticism, so that I can work towards making my products and my services better for everyone. That's extremely important to me as not only an indie owner, but also as a fellow human being, that I respect every single one of my customer's opinions. Without that feedback I would not have the push to move in the right direction.

    Thank you for posting such a well thought-out and constructive post. You are totally accurate on many of your points. And in hindsight, especially so about the 'elitism' evolving from this community. No one should ever have to justify what they purchase with their own money to another person. Sorry if my post got a little too far off the topic or didn't make complete sense, it's a bit late here in Aus (haha); but like you this too is something I feel strongly about and something that plays across my mind frequently.

  8. 100% agreement. As per usual, you are spot-on, and eloquent.

  9. I love buying and supporting indie. I also buy drugstore, department store and high end makeup. I buy products that fit the needs I have. I hate the glittermobbing and I feel like every company, big and small, should treat customers with respect. I also feel a company should be able to 'fire' a customer if the customer is rude. The glittermobbing and nastyness make me want to quit blogging, sometimes.

    Love your post, love your blog :)

  10. When people get so emotionally invested in anything that they scream and throw feces (glittery or un-) at people who don't hold the same opinion, or worse yet, voice a contradictory opinion...they need to evaulate why they're reacting so strongly, and possibly re-evaluate their own loyalty to the thing (brand, group, product) in question. Blind devotion isn't just scary in the religious or political arenas.

  11. Your approach is a very fair-minded one! Personally, glittermobbing really upsets me and makes me not want to participate in the indie community, especially when it gets to a point where people are trying to a harm a person or their reputation. It makes concerned (paranoid, even) that it's a risk to participate in indie blogging if you tick the wrong person off. I don't run a blog anymore because of this, but I still like to comment occasionally, and enjoy participating in that way.


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