Indie Expo Canada 2019 Recap & Highlights

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Some items provided for review or purchased with a press discount

They say "third time's the charm" and I would have to say that's absolutely true for the third Indie Expo Canada event that was held last weekend in Toronto. The 2019 IEC event built on an already amazing foundation for a fantastic weekend of shopping, socializing and sparkling. I had the honour of attending IEC as part of the press team (check out the 2018 event and 2017 event). There is so much hard work, love and passion that goes into the IEC events and a big kudos is owed to the the IEC team and every single vendor and volunteer who made IEC a success. 

If you want to check out some video footage in the form of Instagram stories, visit the "IEC 2019" Highlight on my IG profile (@streetsaheadstyle). Now, let's get on with the photos from the day. 

Indie Expo Canada 2019 event photos and recap

I'll start off with my own nails for IEC - I wanted to feature some new polishes debuting at the event so I chose to showcase polishes from Paint It Pretty Polish and Girly Bits Cosmetics. From pinky to thumb: 
Paint It Pretty Polish Fireflies Stuck Up In That Blueish Black Thing (review here
Girly Bits Oceanscape (review)
Girly Bits Beets Me (review
Girly Bits Pennies Are Noncents (review)

Okay, let's get on with the good stuff...

Of course the Girly Bits Cosmetics was absolutely beautiful and loaded with all the prettiest things. I was so excited to find cuticle pens! As well as Girly Bits' amazing Lotion Bar (I picked up the one in the scent "Teenage Dream" and it is so delicious I want it on my body for always and ever). The Girly Bits IEC polishes are available online now for those who missed them (and you can check out my swatches here). 

As a skincare geek, I was so excited to visit the SoGa Artisan Soaperie table. It featured their new shampoo bars which smelled amazing and provide a more natural alternative to traditional shampoos (not to mention more environmentally friendly). All of their products are cruelty free and vegan as well as free from sulfates. They had the cutest bath bombs shaped like doughnuts which obviously excited me. I tried the SoGa Shower Smootie from my VIP bag and instantly fell in love. Their products are phenomenal!

Cynthia of Alter Ego Body Care Products is a busy lady! She brought a ton of polishes as well as soaps, scrubs and cuticle oils. All the way from Wisconsin! This was Alter Ego's third time at IEC. The story behind her IEC Exclusive polish (Pretty Hair) is very sweet: she made the polish in the same colour as Pam of Girly Bits's hair when they first met. Plus Pretty Hair = PH = Pam Heil. 

Another vendor that I was really excited to visit was Paint it Pretty Polish. Sherri has had a phenomenal and busy year creating some seriously gorgeous polishes (see what I mean here). If you didn't make it to the event, extras of her IEC polishes are available online now. And, once again, Sherri had the prettiest nails stamped with the CN tower and featuring a gradient of her Hakuna Matata Collection.

Rogue Lacquer debuted her Happy Rainbows Collection at IEC and they sure did make everyone happy! Such a nice collection of shimmery primary colours. She also had a ton of body and nail care items along with the IEC exclusive polishes (Gone Rogue in Toronto and Wonder of the World).

So, for someone who claims to be a huge fan of Lollipop Posse Lacquer... I managed to only take photos of their IEC Exclusive polishes: The Best of the Best and The Worst of the Worst. I think I was too excited about everything on the table to take pictures. I was especially excited by the bucket of LE, mystery, prototypes and other over pours that were available. I managed to snag a PPU polish I missed as well as Oh How It Feels So Real (shown at the end of the post in my little haul picture).

It was really cool to see a brand that I didn't know much about at IEC. Crystal Knockout had a great offering of polishes as well as really pretty crelly exclusive to the IEC event.

Mariah of Great Lakes Lacquer attended IEC in 2017 and was back again for 2019 with so many pretty polishes! Wow! Mariah made a special trio of polishes inspired by some very special Canadians (the Oracles of Lake Ontario) in all kinds of shades of blue. I also had the chance to meet Karen a.k.a. Manigeek who was helping out at the table.

Another epic table: Hit the Bottle! This brand specializes in stamping polishes and all things nail art related. As you all know, I'm not much of a stamper but I was drawn in by their Peel Off Base Coat. I also loved their mermaid multichrome detailing brushes. I had the gimmie gimmies at this table, for sure.

LynBDesigns had so many goodies up for offer at her table. This was Jennalyn's first time attending IEC in person though she had sent her products in past years. Jennalyn was also part of the Speaker's Panel and offered some amazing insights into what it means to be an indie maker. I really enjoyed learning from her! I also really enjoyed sniffing her perfumes and wax melts! The swatch sticks show the IEC polishes she made for the event which were sparkly and special.

Harlow & Co. was doing double duty at the event as the vendor for KBShimmer. I got a little too excited about the IEC Exlcusive polish: The Eh Team (shown above). I had a fun time visiting the table, chatting with Katie and helping my nail pal Natalie pick out some new KBShimmers for her collection.

There was so much to take in at the Uber Chic table that I barely got any photos! What excited me most were the holo/iridescent tote bags. For those stampers, there were about a million plates to choose from as well as tons of nail art tools.

The Nail Bazaar is another new to me brand who was vending for the first time ever at a nail polish event. I spent some time talking to the brand owner, Meghan, who launched her brand in 2018. All of her polishes are vegan, cruelty free and 9-free. All of her polishes are super opaque and creamy. I'm excited to see what she comes out with next!

Wow! The Ethereal Lacquer table was THE PLACE TO BE. Unfortunately, two of their three boxes that were headed to IEC were held up at the border so there was a very limited supply of polishes. Ethereal Lacquer created three exclusive polishes with a teal theme and they were gorgeous. You can see them on the four bottom racks. Ethereal was also offering some mystery polishes which are shown in the first photo. Very fun!

Flirtin' came to IEC with a ton of polishes for the buyin'. There were tons of gorgeous shimmers and holos available. Flirtin' is based in Virginia and the brand maker wasn't able to make it to the event but she had a lovely volunteer managing her table. What a great setup!

I had never heard of Easter Mia until the Indie Expo Canada event and I was pleasantly surprised to learn about this woman-owned Canadian brand that offers vegan and cruelty free nail polish as well as foot masks! Mia Phan is a nail esthetician from Burlington, ON. With a mother who has spent 30 years in the nail industry, Mia was inspired to create her very own vegan nail polish line to carry a healthier nail product in their salon. I was elated to see a foot mask with such great, non-toxic ingredients. I can't wait to try it out!

Zombie Claw brought some really fun nail polishes as well as her Zombie Whipped Sugar Scrub which smelled absolutely delicious! The beautiful polishes shown above were the event exclusives inspired by Niagara Falls. 

Dream of Glitter is a Southern Ontario brand owned by Chelsea Longe who started the brand as a creative outlet after experiencing a tremendous loss in 2016. All the polishes Chelsea had to offer were very delicate and pretty and the bath/home products smelled divine. I was taken with her wax melts which came in scents like sour gummy bears and bubblegum. 

It's always a pleasure to catch up with Sammy of Cuter Cuticles. She's a stalwart staple in the Canadian indie scene with her innovative cuticle oils and Barrier Butter. At IEC, Cuter Cuticles debuted their Cutie Care Cream which is a lighter cuticle/hand cream that absorbs quickly and helps to promote nail health. I will have a review of that cream in a few days so keep your eyes peeled. I loved sniffing all of her oils and grabbed a few more oils for my stash.

I was so happy to see Bee's Knees Lacquer had returned for 2019! Sarah participated in the Speaker's Panel again this year and her passion for her craft really showed. I spent a long time sniffing all of their amazing skin care and bath products. I am a little bit addicted to their lip products so I picked a balm up in Cola Cake as well as a few polishes that I hope to share on the blog soon.

And last but definitely not least is Clionadh Cosmetics which is one of my favorite indie eye cosmetics brands. The sisters behind Clionadh Cosmetics have been busy and they're creations are as perfect as ever. And can we talk about those brushes? I love the handles and the brushes are fluffy - perfect for their products. I picked up quite a few new eyeshadows as you will see below in my haul photo. 

And here is my humble haul (I'm not sure how I managed to walk out with so little but I think I was so busy shopping for my fairies and hosting the Speaker's Panel and taking photos for this blog post that I forgot to shop for myself! Oh well!)

Indie Expo Canada 2019 Haul

And here's a look into my VIP bag (which I purchased at a slightly discounted price because I was press).

Indie Expo Canada 2019 VIP Bag contents

Last year I was tasked with the privilege of hosting the Speaker's Panel and Pam invited me to host again this year; if you want to check out the entire Speaker's Panel, Lisa Hendy has shared it on YouTube so you can see it for yourself if you weren't at the event. If there's one thing I walked away from this year's event with (besides all the beautiful products I purchased/received), it's this: indie makers work so hard. Their businesses aren't just a 9 to 5 job, these women (the vendors were all women this year) have so much passion for their respective crafts and it truly shows. I am in awe of every single one of the makers I spoke with this year and, if you watch the Speaker's Panel, you'll know what I mean - in the words of the makers themselves. 

This year's Speaker's Panel included (from L-R): Sammy from Cuter Cuticles, Sarah from Bee's Knees Lacquer, Maggie from Clionadh Cosmetics, Jennalyn from LynBDesigns and Katie from Harlow & Co.

Indie Expo Canada Speaker's Panel 2019
Screenshot from Lisa Hendy's YouTube video of the Speaker's Panel

I hope you enjoyed my recap! I have some reviews to share as I received a few products from vendors this year. What was your favorite part of the day? What do you wish you could have seen for yourself if you didn't get to attend in person?

Find Indie Expo Canada online: 

Indie Expo Canada Official Press 2018

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