Indie Brands Overcome Sourcing Challenges

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Indie Brands Overcome Sourcing Challenges

Thu Mar 28, 2019

 By Hallie Forcinio

Indie brands are hot especially in the beauty and fashion industries. Consumers buy indie brands because products

  • Fill a gap in the marketplace
  • Are perceived as more unique, wholesome or sustainable than major brands
  • Cost less than major brands
  • Often support a social initiative


Typically the brainchild of one or two entrepreneurs, indie brands frequently originate in home kitchens, basements or garages. The founder or founders handle formulation, package design, procurement of ingredients and packaging supplies, production, shipping, compliance with regulatory requirements, marketing and all other aspects of running a business. With limited manpower, small batches and a need for attention-grabbing packaging that suits the retail and/or e-commerce marketplaces, design, sourcing and supply chain management can be a challenge, especially as demand grows.

Fortunately, brand owners don’t have to do everything themselves. However, as soon as any outsourcing is involved, an indie brand becomes a “niche brand” under some definitions. Whether dubbed indie or niche, it’s possible to outsource virtually any operational task and streamline what is typically a lengthy vendor identification and vetting process. Container distributors and contract manufacturing and packaging organizations can perform whatever tasks are needed from formulation development and scale-up to packaging design, procurement, production and distribution.

For brand owners doing their own formulation, packaging and distribution, container distributors can offer design services to create a distinctive package, provide access to thousands of stock keeping units from hundreds of global and domestic suppliers, accommodate small orders and shorten lead times. Container distributors also can minimize the impact of common supply chain disruptors such as factory fires, extreme weather, earthquakes, plant management changes, plant shutdowns and geopolitical events (1). Nearby warehouses minimize the travel time, cost and environmental impact of incoming components.

Contract manufacturers/packagers or what is sometimes referred to as a contract development and manufacturing organization, or CDMO, offer an even greater range of services including formula development and production, package design, packaging and distribution.

The Contract Packaging Association (CPA) has advice for choosing the right partner and offers a step-by-step guide. According to the CPA, factors to be considered when selecting a contract packager include location, size and experience with similar products and packaging formats, strong ethics and high standards, cost, communication skills, procedural controls and quality, financial strength, compatible personalities and strong references. Hiring a contract manufacturer/packager can be the ideal solution when demand outstrips startup capacity. Partnering with a contract packager also is advantageous when equipment or expertise isn’t available in-house or a high investment is needed to meet regulatory or environmental requirements (2).

For example, Sonic Packaging offers turnkey packaging solutions in product development, package design, sourcing, manufacturing and sampling in single-use, metered-dose and applicator devices for the cosmetic, personal care, diagnostic, pharmaceutical and nutritional industries. Whether the product is a liquid, powder, tablet or capsule, all of our packaging is performed under strict compliance to pharmaceutical cGMP standards.


1 Resilinc, “Global Supply Chain Risk Events Increased 36% in 2018 According to Resilinc’s Annual EventWatch Report,” Press Release, Feb. 28, 2019.

2 Contract Packaging Association, “Quick Tips: Choosing a Contract Packager,” 2013,, accessed March 6, 2019.