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Engaging Innovation in Beauty Packaging

By: Abby Penning
Posted: April 28, 2014, from the May 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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For fragrance dispensing, Aptar Beauty + Home’s new Precious pump helps create an “almost vapor-like cloud; it produces creating long-lasting softness,” shares McEttrick. “Precious diffuses fragrances into a mist that [lasts] three times longer than standard pumps,” she says.

Albéa also offers fragrance packaging, and Albéa’s Grassi offers, “Our Panache technology platform delivers a complete portfolio of packaging solutions for the fragrance market, with its XD11 engine, as well as the Panache Pulse experience, powered by the SP22 engine, for body mists.”

However, decoration is still a top priority in fragrance packaging. “Flankers are still impacting the fragrance category, and this is leading to a lot of innovation in the bottle decoration side,” says Chamlou. “More and more, we are using innovative inks and materials, which are constantly evolving, to differentiate these new launches from other products. We’re also using a decoration technique that we developed on the pharmaceutical side called plastification. It’s like a plastic dip, and when you do a plastic dip on a glass bottle, it’s like a pouch that protects the bottle.”

And in the theme of trends crossing beauty categories, Kerston notes, “All over texture is really taking off, and we’ve noticed that it has made the leap from prestige to mass. We have been using a lot of interesting new coating, embossing and foil stamping combinations to take plain old paperboard packaging to the next level. There also is a lot of interest in everything metallic. So we might layer a silkscreen metallic ink over a glitter dust coating and foil stamp other parts. We are constantly striving for an ‘Oooh, what’s that?’ reaction; creating shelf presence that pops at retail.”

Versatile Innovations

Really, innovative beauty packaging is all about a willingness to collaborate, learn from a variety of experiences and stimuli, and be flexible. Russell Parks, program manager for Fusion Packaging, explains, “We spend a lot of time thinking about the end consumer when planning new designs. This involves surveying the market to see what is already on the retail shelves and getting ideas for where there may be a void with those existing designs. We interview consumers to get feedback on problems or limitations with packages on the market, and then we ideate on how to address these issues through more innovative packaging. As the beauty market grows more and more saturated with products claiming similar results, we are constantly looking for new ways to increase product visibility while still maintaining a luxurious look for premier brands.”

Looking ahead to what’s in development, Parks shares, “Because twist-to-lock and pop-up closures continue to be a very popular packaging option with brands, we are looking into different types of locking mechanisms. And we are also developing different decoration ideas to provide a prestige look on more affordable packaging. For example, we developed a decoration technique that allows us to create a metallic look on the inside of a bottle or cap.”

For her company’s development process, Huston says, “Topline has assembled a cross-functional innovations team that meets every month not only to dream up new ideas and drive innovative developments but also to address seemingly intractable packaging challenges with a proven problem-solving methodology. Our inspirations and ideas come from a variety of sources but are wholly focused on the needs, wants and purchasing behavior of the consumer. For example, we evolve our ideas about consumer needs by employing a number of cultural categories specific to the target market,” including lifestyle, socio-economic circumstances, demographics and technology. “We are working on several packaging innovations that will improve the experience of makeup application and make applying color cosmetics so much easier,” she notes.

WWP’s Farley comments, “WWP develops many new concepts through in-house design engineering. We produce photorealistic renderings and have recently purchased a new, state-of-the-art 3-D modeling system. Additionally, we present concepts to several of our key customers who are truly development partners always looking for new and unique packaging. And we are beefing up our engineering and marketing staff, as well as project management, to meet the continuing demand from the marketplace.”

And Dossin shares, “New ideas can come from anywhere in the company—sales teams inspired by customer briefs or gaps in the market; material suppliers introducing new resins; new finishes created by HCP’s internal spray and finishing experts in collaboration with lacquer vendors; concepts from the design team for form and function; ideas from the mascara brush developers in the U.S. who create new twisted fiber brushes; inspiration from studying new trends.” As an example of innovation, Dossin notes, “Gelology is a gel finish that is totally hand-generated, rendering each component an original and unique piece. All components are finished with a characteristic swirled gel pattern. The gel is a mixture of epoxy resin and color pigments, which is then cured to a long-lasting, hard shine.”

On a collaboration front, Dossin offers, “HCP has entered into an exciting joint venture to build a brand new metal pressing plant, employing 200 people, located next to the existing HCP factory at Huai’an [in China]. HCP believes this new metal pressing plant will create new, exciting opportunities by offering sophisticated yet contemporary alternatives like the Magnum range at an affordable entry point into the prestige market.”

And Malcolm Sinclair, export sales director of premium paper and board mill for Tullis Russell, says, “Responding to our graphical and packaging customers’ requirements for a board that gave sharper contrast and greater on-shelf impact, we recently added a new bright white shade to our coated Trucard offer.”

In regard to beauty packaging labels, Jeff Salisbury president of Label Impressions, Inc., shares, “Our newest product offering is a true soft touch finish. We’re seeing a higher demand for soft touch finishes that are able to truly match the soft touch finish available on a bottle or tube. Our tactile, screenprinted finishes, sparkle coatings, color-shifting inks and cold-foil effects are also very exciting, and we’re seeing lots of interest in these value-added, shelf-popping effects.”

Even sourcing is getting more attention. Bert-Co’s Kerston notes, “We have been focused on perfecting the automation of operations traditionally outsourced overseas, as we have experienced an increased interest from clients in sourcing more of their complex packaging projects in North America.” And Salisbury says, “We’re seeing a huge shift in sourcing as Walmart and other companies push the ‘Made in America’ mantra. Sourcing overseas is becoming less of a threat as higher freight costs, delivery concerns and pricing increases from overseas competition are sending people back to the U.S. for their product labels. We see this more in personal care component sourcing because quality and delivery in that area are critical, especially with regard to new product launches.”

Every element of your product at every stage matters, so looking into everything from materials to sources to package development is essential for a quality beauty product. And to collaborate with an innovative packaging supplier offering unique, functional, fun packs on top of that is certain the way forward for successful beauty brands.