Finding success in indie markets

Posted on Feb 1, 2017 :: Editor’s Insights
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

AS WE WERE GOING TO PRESS FOR this issue in mid-January, cover subject Ashley Prange was in Los Angeles, attending the Indie Beauty Expo, a conference and exhibition for independent cosmetics companies. There, she accepted an award for Best in Show in the category “Best Clean & Green.”

“I have never gone into this pretending I’m an expert in anything, I’m just trying to find a healthy cosmetic that works for me,” Prange says.

Last year, Au Naturale won the Insight Innovation Award in the category Planet, as a company that is innovating in sustainable ways. In addition to its successful niche in the clean and organic cosmetics market, the company is developing new products, such as the first-ever spray-powder applicator for blush. This, from an entrepreneur who started her career fresh out of St. Norbert College working at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. I think you’ll find her story inspiring.

In a few months, we at Insight will be announcing the winners of our 2017 Innovation Awards at our annual THINC! event (Technology & Human Innovation Networking Conference). We’re accepting applications through Feb. 17. For more information, visit our website and click on Events/THINC! or go to

Coming up in March is our annual InDevelopment conference, from 2 to 7 p.m. March 21 at the Oshkosh Convention Center. Speaker Michael Brennan plans to talk about the bright outlook for commercial development in Northeast Wisconsin and nationwide. The executive director of the UW-Madison James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate says with a strong economy more construction is sure to follow. For information or to register, go to

Early this month, the Oshkosh and Fox Cities Chambers of Commerce host their annual Economic Outlook Breakfasts. The Fox Cities Chamber hosts its event Feb. 8 at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, featuring Baird Investment Strategist William Delwiche. The chamber will release its annual economic outlook survey of its members — and the future looks bright. See “We gotta wear shades” on page 18.

Back in Oshkosh by popular demand, economist Brian Beaulieu speaks Feb. 7 at the Oshkosh Convention Center, and the event usually sells out early. “He’s always spot-on in his predictions and analysis,” says Rob Kleman, director of economic development for the chamber. “He tells it like it is.”

Things in Oshkosh are pretty good right now. The largest employer, Oshkosh Corp., is leading the charge with continued hiring for new contracts. In this month’s Face Time feature, CEO Wilson Jones talks about how the four diverse segments of its business contribute to ongoing success, even in the face of slight downturns in specific economic sectors. Oshkosh Corp. kicks off its 100th anniversary celebration with internal events this month. In July, the company will host a big community event, featuring an open house and a parade of Oshkosh trucks through the years.

And now, for something completely different: did you know that the No. 1 American actor in Africa hails from Appleton? The indie film business has done right by Dan Davies, one of the stars in the highest-grossing film of all time in Nigeria: “A Trip to Jamaica.” 

“I love the creative control and that you can create something from the ground up,” Davies says.

Spoken like a true entrepreneur. Check out the story by contributing writer Nikki Kallio on page 37.

About Margaret LeBrun

Co-Publisher, Executive Editor View all posts by Margaret LeBrun →