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Big Companies vs. Indie Companies

Let me show you one of the many reasons that I love small indie companies more than larger corporations. Now, I like The Body Shop, but they’re a big corporation, and this letter reflects it. I emailed the Body Shop a while ago to inquire about whether or not they’d consider making their Seaweed Mattifying Moisture Lotion in SPF 30, as it currently comes in SPF15.

Hi there,

I wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that I really do love your Seaweed Mattifying Moisture Lotion. However, I wanted to inquire as to whether or not you would consider making a higher SPF version, such as an SPF 30. While I love wearing, especially during the winter months, here in Florida I feel less comfortable wearing a moisturizer with SPF that’s not 30 lately.

Thanks for your consideration.


Dear Phyrra,

Thank you for your recent email to The Body Shop.

We would like to thank you for your interest in and use of our products. There have been no recent communications on an intent to offer a higher spf for our Seaweed Mattifying Moisture Lotion. We do value your feedback and interest in this and are happy to forward your inquiry on to our product team for consideration in future product offerings. If we can help with any other questions or concerns please let us know.

Should you need further assistance with this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.  Thank you once again for contacting The Body Shop.  I hope you find the level of service provided to you via this correspondence satisfactory.  If you are not satisfied or need immediate assistance, please feel free to contact our Customer Care Center at 1-800-263-9746 Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 10:00 pm EST.

Best Regards,
Customer Service

The Body Shop sent me back a nice and polite response, but nothing will come of it. When I’ve emailed small indie companies and inquired about products, they’ve created them, which is really cool. Some examples would be Aromaleigh Phaedra & Phyrra, Fyrinnae’s Meloncholy and Trickster lip lustres, Beautiful Girl Minerals Wicked Kiss & Summer Kisses lip glosses and Morgana Minerals lipsticks in Azalea Blue and Coraline’s Kiss. This just proves that you can email your favorite indie company and request a product and they’ll be willing to listen to you and see if it’s a possibility.

Indie companies tend to charge less for their products because they have less overhead. They spend less on advertising campaigns and PR than larger companies. Indie companies tend to rely more on word of mouth to attract customers.

So while little companies don’t have the same resources as big companies, they do offer a more personalized experience. It’s one I greatly value.

Do you have a preference between Big Companies or Indie Companies? If so, please share :)

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  • About Phyrra Nyx

    Phyrra is an award-winning cruelty-free beauty blogger. She is hair obsessed, into alternative fashion, an avid urban fantasy reader, and a standard poodle fan.
    • Lilooandco

      I just discovered your blog, and it's pretty interesting, like it :)

    • @WitchWords

      I shop indie whenever I can afford to – not just for makeup or skin care, but things like farmers market v. grocery store, etc. – but it's more of a sociopolitical stance for me. I emphatically distrust corporations, and hate the effect they have on the workforce, the environment, and their ability to more or less purchase politicians to do their bidding. So I vote with my dollars, and spend my money on *people*, not *corporations*, whenever it's feasible for me to do so.

    • Phyrra

      I used to hate anything corporate. Eventually I realized that some corporations I could respect, such as The Body Shop, and other corporations I detested, such as Enron. I do agree that the way to do it is to vote with your dollars. That's why I like to support indie companies such as the ones listed under my 'Places I Shop.' Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this :) I really value that!

    • KittenMittens

      Indie! Less expensive (even though when I`m done it costs the same but then again I get 4x more) and better colour payoff! I compared a MAC shade to my Meow shade in my flickr album. Meow kicked it`s arse :D I think I even made a post but it`s too long ago for me to search and I`m lazy teeheeee

    • Melissa

      Thank you for posting this! It really needed to be said. I buy indie when possible. I would rather my money go directly towards supporting a small biz family than in the bank accounts of ridiculously paid executives, models, and celebrities. Pretty packaging is nice to look at. But, it's the product quality that matters. You'll find crappy products and customer service in lots of companies – big and small. I have created lots of things upon request. Customers have some of the best ideas!

    • thesweetandnatural

      Hi Phyrra, Indie, I love being able to put a human being to a company and most of the time they set the example for excellent customer service that some corporations could take notes from…the quality and prices also tend to be pretty great depending where you purchase from :) Erline

    • Phyrra

      Exactly! I would rather see that someone is able to support their family by making products they love that I love. I feel like the quality of the products tends to be better with indie, and I usually have a better grasp and understanding on the ingredients, too.

    • Phyrra

      I actually skipped on the MAC Young Punk shadow because I got the Meow version :) Better color payoff.

    • Phyrra

      I'm with you. I love being able to put a face to the company, and seeing the company humanized. Sure humans make mistakes, but they're also a lot easier to work with than a faceless entity. And I definitely agree that the prices tend to be better! Indie companies can charge less because they're not paying out the wazoo for advertising and pr.

    • Krista

      I prefer big companies. I like the collections and I like to be able to go buy it physically!!! If I want something I can go buy it.

    • Phyrra

      Ahh yes, there is something to be said for instant gratification :)

    • KittenMittens

      yup yup, and I got it too after seeing yours hahah, I'm such a copier :D

    • Phyrra

      Nothing wrong with that! That's part of why I think blogging is helpful to indie companies. It gets the word out about good products.

    • Skulda

      I actually think that is a good response for a huge company. It's really difficult for big companies to keep up with the mail they receive. The fact that they proved that they even READ your email is amazing to me. Bad, I know. But I have had so much trouble with large companies just flat out IGNORING me. I've had a great response to an email I sent a company that was locally owned, though. they even sent me a t-shirt, baseball cap (no idea when I'd wear it) and stickers just for a simple suggestion! It really makes a difference in my purchase decisions.

    • Phyrra

      Like I said above, I thought it was a nice and polite response, but I don't think anything will come of it. Usually when I've contacted indie companies, something happens. And yes, some big companies suck for not providing responses! Harper Collins is one of them! I mailed them a handwritten letter about the Kindle debacle and received no response. I sent an email and got no response to that, too. That's awesome that you got such response from a local company!

    • Ghost94

      Oh indie companies to the grave!!!!!!! I can't hack big companies my experience has been very similar to yours. I remember about two years ago on the silknatural forum I asked the owner (Karen) if she could clone Bourjois lip gloss brun poet and a month later I had it on my door step. Also recently karen requested ideas from her loyal (cult/stalking) customers for things/ideas they wanted to see for the spring collection. I asked for more teal, green and blue e/s and what did we get lots or gorgeous new colours :) Keeping that in mind I know Lush does listen to there customers request and when I had a problem with the charity pot cream the responded the next day. They said to send the pot to us and will send a new one and extra goodies to cover the postage. I got a soap, 100ml shower gel, bathbomb, bath melt more then enough to cover postage.

    • Thia Winter

      Indie for the most part, with a few exceptions for instant gratification, such as MAC. I love that with indie companies I'm supporting individuals in their endeavors.

    • Cacau

      I usually buy from indie companies…. 1) they are cheaper. This is important when you have no job hahaah… 2) I like the personal “thank you” note, the freebies, the e-mails written in such a personal way… all this sweet touches! 3) I can keep a closer eye to the way they treat their workers…. 4) I get the same quality…. I only buy sometimes from Contem1g or Natura ('cause my grandmother works for them ^^)… I wish I could find indie companies here at Brazil… dollar is SO EXPANSIVE x.x'

    • Lyndsey

      I do use companies that I feel comfortable with and that usually means it's a smaller company. Often though some things they are unable to do because they are small. Just responding to your email was a nice gesture, and maybe if enough interest in that product they will look into it in the future.

    • Belinda

      I like both. What really matters to me is the product (and cost, heh).

    • Michelle

      Indie companies are more likely to be ethically conscious – for example, The Body Shop is owned by L'Oreal, which still tests on animals – so supporting Body Shop is supporting L'Oreal. Also, indie companies have fewer ingredients, and most times no nasty preservatives that are so bad for your skin.

    • Phyrra

      MAC is usually good for customer service with their products as well. I once bought a color cream base and could not get it to set, so I returned it the next day. There was no hassle with it. Silk Naturals does make some great colors by request! Most of my favorite indie makeup companies do :)

    • Phyrra

      I love the fact that when you find an indie company, you find someone doing what they love with their life. It's so nice to be able to support someone who is happy with what they're doing. I wish everyone could do what they love in life for their jobs.

    • Phyrra

      I agree, I really like the personal touches.

    • Phyrra

      I feel like the Body Shop was kind to respond. They're on the 'good' side of big companies by my standards. But they're not capable of doing what most of the smaller indie companies are doing, by responding to their customer requests.

    • Phyrra

      The cost, the ingredients, and how well the product works for me are definitely important :) So I totally agree with ya!

    • Phyrra

      Yeah it's really interesting when you start looking into the natural skincare, like the stuff offered by Camellia Rose Skincare, Solstice Scents, EveryDayDiva Company, GeoGrafx and Garden of Wisdom. They use very few ingredients and key preservatives if necessary. Those products are less likely to upset my skin than most products I can get at the drugstore or the mall. The Body Shop's products are one of the few big corporations that I can purchase skincare from and normally not have an issue with their products. I hate having finicky skin.

    • Luinae

      Indie! Mostly because I feel like the quality is better. When I purchase an eyeshadow from MAC, I know it's gone through a production line. When I purchase one from Aromaleigh, it's a better price and I know that Miss K has produced it herself, which means way better quality control. Also for political/ethical reasons, as stated above.

    • Phyrra

      I do feel like I get better color payoff with my mineral makeup shadows than I do with my MAC (for the most part). So I can totally agree with you on it :)

    • Thia Winter

      Absolutely! I finally have found something I love to do and I totally wish everyone else could too.

    • Phyrra

      Me too! I wish i could find a job writing all the time :P

    • Thia Winter

      The only thing that would make my job even better is if it involved more MAKEUP LOL…..

    • Phyrra

      Hehe I totally know what you mean!

    • Silhouettex

      This reminds me of MAC Australia's atrocious customer service emails. I sent them an email about how theyve got a counter listed on the website that doesnt exist anymore, and it took me a couple of months to get a response. And it was a crappy canned response saying they'll look into it, but it's been over 6 months and no changes :| And then I sent another email asking a B2M question, and I got the most bullshit canned response ever (after waiting over 2 months for one) that basically consisted of them copying and pasting shit I already read from the website. I wanted to rage and write back a really nasty email >=| but I think I'll just call up. /rantover But um yeah, I guess the point of my comment is Indie ftw!

    • Phyrra

      Aww, I'm sorry MAC Australia was sucking :( I tend to find I get very good service with MAC when it's a MAC counter in a department store. When it's a MAC store, they tend to be rude :(

    • Silhouettex

      We only really have counters here (I think there might be like 1 or 2 actual stores interstate….and theyre Pro stores I think) but they seem to be nice. They let me stroll around and dont hassle me to buy stuff :) but ugh the customer service people online are more useless than tits on a bull. I think they think people who email in are virtually retarded, and arent capable of reading the website.

    • Phyrra

      What can be amusing to do is to quote their website and then say 'can you clarify X?' Does it mean 1 or 2?

    • Silhouettex

      LOL just reading that makes me headdesk, because thats practically what theyre saying to me XD

    • Phyrra

      Hehe :) Sometimes it's fun to be evil.

    • bathingbeauty

      I love indie brands, they so much more exciting and personal.

    • Phyrra

      Yep, I agree! Even with the drama that sometimes happens, I enjoy them.