This post is so late but I took so many photos and the post just seemed too picture heavy so I cut it down to the basics. Like last year, I received an official media pass for Indie Expo Canada. That means I got early access and a VIP bag. Which was great as I was working with Cynthia from Alter Ego again so the early access gave me more time to browse before it got busy.
So, why should you go to Indie Expo Canada next year? To start, you get to meet the makers. And they are all amazing and friendly. You get show exclusives that no one else can get their paws on (and huge props to Tanya of My Indie Polish who made a blogger exclusive too!). Shop in person, no shipping fees. You can really see the polish so you don’t end up buying from over edited swatches that don’t look the same in person.
Finally, there is the VIP bags. The VIP tickets get you early access and a swag bag for $75 (plus taxes and fees) and just look at all the goodies in it. I know there has been controversy before about VIP bags at shows but the Indie Expo Canada bag is well worth the money.
Why Shop at Indie Expo Canada? The US Polish Makers
I feel a little guilty shopping more at the US makers than Canadian ones, but there is one thing I hate more than paying for shipping and that is Customs fees. I mean sales tax, sure but Canada Post charging $10 to collect it? That is a while bottle of polish! So it is a great time to get those US polishes you have wanted forever but put off due to shipping, customs or them just not shipping to Canada. Tip: some will ship to Canada if you message them saying which polishes you want.
Alter Ego: Obviously you could meet me and get your hands on the Velocirapture collection before anyone else.
Bee’s Knees: A brand I have wanted to try but shipping, customs and that budget while he isn’t working… but now I own four beautiful BK polishes!
Colours by Llarowe: CbL is easier to find in Canada as Girly Bits stocks them but she had a large selection at Indie Expo Canada as well as some new products, exclusives and hand care.
Ever After: They had crelly, stamping polish, regular polish, wax and more. A real one stop shop. Plus they had an exclusive duo with Rogue Lacquer.
Fair Maiden: The lovely Rebecca Hill was working the Fair Maiden table since they could not make it in person. Plus they had candy so… I mean candy and beautiful polish? (Thanks for the must needed sugar rush in the afternoon).
LynB Designs: a brand I was not as familiar with so great to see them as part of the Launchpad for smaller brands at Indie Expo Canada.
Native War Paints had a large selection of polishes to choose from as well as some sale selection.
Rogue Lacquer: Rachel was previously part of Ever After and her very new brand was a hit at Indie Expo Canada including her duo with Ever After.
Turtle Tootsie: Another brand that has been on my list to try for a while after seeing swatches of their pastels. Plus, they have a collection called Pet Peeves that makes me want it on name alone.
Shop Canadian Polish at Indie Expo Canada
Beyond The Nail: Partly owned by fellow Canadian Beauty Bloggers Network member, Maddy from Spilled Polish, Beyond The Nail has the largest selection of nail decals and guides at the show along with their beautiful polish.
CANVAS Lacquer: Another Toronto based brand, they have started to branch out into boutique stores so are not online only. Still a great time to buy in person if you are not usually in Toronto.
Fiendish Fancies: I got my first Fiendish at Indie Expo Canada last year and fell in love with them and the brand. I mean horror movie inspired names? Plus Lara is amazing so a must stop at the Expo.
Girly Bits: Obviously as a host/organizer and stockist, Girly Bits had a large table and so much to choose from. They had stamping polish, their exclusive plate, even super early access to their Bridal collection which is still not available to purchase now! Plus Border Patrol latex barrier which I know was on the list for many of us.
Inspired Sense: Trish is well known in the polish world so great to see her brand too. I have a post coming up with an overview of her products but she sells polish and nail care including Poison Apple which comes in an apple shaped bottle!
My Indie Polish: I first bought My Indie Polish through a mystery box and loved all of the polishes I received as well as the fact Tanya looked through my blog and sent polishes she thought I would love instead of her least sold. Plus she made us bloggers a gorgeous thermal (swatches soon even though you can’t buy it).
Paint It Pretty Polish is local to me and I first bought from them last year when she made me a custom polish. For a newer brand, Sherry has amazing finishes and a great selection of polishes. I know she has some new collections releasing soon so watch out for those as they are gorgeous!
It Is Not All About The Polish! Indie Expo Canada Has Makeup, Cuticle Care & More
With nail polish being a focus, there was obviously a lot of nail care. That means pretty much everyone stopped by Cuter Cuticles. It was Sammy’s birthday too. Someone remind me to stop by at the end of the day and snag the sniffers next year. Such a good idea to stop people handling the ones people are buying.
Green Glitter was new to me but so nice to see a safe and biodegrable glitter is available. Their glitter is made from eucalyptus and processed into a cellulose (thin film like seaweed), then coloured using food grade dyes and ultra fine bits of Aluminum for that sparkle. It is is compostable, digestible by microrganismins, and biodegrades in sea water!
It is not all nail care either, Clionadh were there with their gorgeous makeup. I really want the Archeo and Paleo palettes but budgets… I hate buying makeup online without seeing it in person or lots of swatches first so amazing to see them back at Indie Expo Canada this year.
Not just nail polish at IEC! SoGa Artisan Soaperie was back with their adorable looking soaps and more. A Canadian brand, it was great to actual smell and touch the products before purchasing.
Terrah Essentials make handcrafted skincare and more. They even have a store in Mississauga if you want to shop for more after using your IEC goodies!
On A Budget at Indie Expo Canada?
Is it worth attending Indie Expo Canada on a budget? Obviously that depends on how you shop but it is still worth the basic ticket to meet the makers, fellow polish lovers you have come to “know” online and pick up your must haves.
I was on a budget this year and while I came home with stuff as a blogger, still picked up a few budget buys and items from my list. Fiendish Fancies for example had a basket of polishes at just $5 each. You can barely get drug store polishes for that these days.
Many of the makers had mystery polishes or packs too. Some included them with purchases or at a lower cost (shhhh you could get some Polish Pickup overpours in them which is great if you missed out on those one time polishes). Others like My Indie Polish had them as mystery grab bags.
Indie Expo Canada is Not All About The Shopping!
While the makers would obviously love it if you shopped, Indie Expo Canada is not all about the shopping. Meeting fellow nail lovers, bloggers, swatchers and makers is always fun. And we are such a nice bunch of people. Everyone was so friendly. Even down to the people apologizing to others for taking too long to decide what they were buying.
But Indie Expo Canada also has tutorials. You could learn how to stamp with Anita of Intense Polish Therapy or Tammy of Canadian Nail Fanatic, learn various nail techniques with Michelle of ehmknails or make bath truffles with Terrah Essentials.