Product development within the beauty industry can be a conflicted paradigm—constant reinvention with the yearning to create a cult classic or enduring favorite — whether it’s La Mer Eye Concentrate, the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer or Maybelline Great Lash mascara.
The product development pipeline typically revolves around new innovation or product categories, improving or extending an existing product line or repositioning a product or its costs. However, increasingly, there is the need to combine innovation in product development with sustainability solutions that support overall growth strategies.
These goals may have been at odds in the past, but more companies have been successful in fusing these objectives together. For example, L’Oréal and P&G have made strides in packaging made with renewable sources and thousands of products each year are launched with "natural," "organic" or similar claims, many of which are financially viable. The majority of industry executives are taking a close look at creating sustainable and stable supply chains. This can mean taking proactive measures to protect it, whether that means diversifying its supplier base, or in the case of cosmetic brushes, moving more brands toward the use of synthetic fiber versus natural hair.
However, sustainability isn’t simply limited to the environmental aspects but financial resilience as well. With the overall economic slow down in more established markets such as the United States and Europe, there is more focus on emerging markets, such as India and China. At the heart of many of these growth strategies, is the ability to scale efficiently with products right for those markets and to have reliable and sustainable partnerships that can support that growth.
One such success story from a sustainability perspective (both environmentally and financially) is the partnership between DuPont™ Natrafil® and Anisa International. This partnership allowed both companies to bring new fibers to the beauty industry in an effort to provide synthetic alternatives to natural hair while improving overall makeup application.
Natrafil® has the appearance and texture of natural hair with additional features (such as superior pick up and pay off) that make the brushes truly groundbreaking in the beauty industry. This optimized pick up and release is a result of how the filament is made. Natrafil® filaments contain a unique polyester-based composite containing texturizing additives that create a structured surface to enable this performance. Not only can the fiber be cost-effective for brands, but the issues common with natural brushes (fallout, shedding) are nonexistent. With this synthetic alternative, global demands for both performance and a consistent supply chain can be met.
Long-term product development can’t stop with enduring resources and growth alone. It must also create innovation as well. The need to stay relevant to consumers and offer them products that meet their beauty and lifestyle needs also has to be a top of mind to sustainable product development. Market drivers in the beauty business (packaging constraints, rising commodities costs) have to be fused with trends in the marketplace (a disparate retail environment, more niche brands competing). The changes to the general consumer must also be taken into consideration (more education on products and technique, wanting a pro driven look) to create an overall effective product offering.
In order to balance these factors, Anisa International piloted the launch of an eight (8) piece Natrafil®collection through its incubator brand, adesign. The development process included taking cues from real industry professionals, makeup artists, beauty experts and consumers, allowing the finished product to be a direct result of the needs of the marketplace. By creating this type of collaborative product development cycle, the end result is an innovation in the marketplace that is truly sustainable from every perspective.
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