Luxe Pack NY Wraps Up Successful 10th Year

More exhibitors and attendees than ever denote the vital role of creative packaging in today’s beauty sectors.

Luxe Pack NY celebrated its 10th anniversary with another successful run, May 16-17, at the Metropolitan Pavilion and Altman Building in Manhattan. Space was rearranged to accommodate 10 additional exhibitors of creative and luxury packaging, bringing the total to 141 this year. More than 2,600 visitors—an increase of 10.2% over last year—trolled the aisles for the latest and greatest packaging offerings in sectors including beauty, fragrance, personal care, wines & spirits and fine food.

Packaging for the beauty sectors accounted for the great majority, and ranged from decorative to eco-friendly, stock to custom, functional to full service. Exhibitors expressed their utmost approval for the crowd, which they said included key personnel and buyers spanning global to niche brands. Several suppliers commented that it had been their best show ever.

The annual event also drew large audiences to its educational program, which featured nine seminars over the two days, with prominent industry executives addressing a number of topics from sustainable packaging to passionate product launches.

Celebrating 10 Years

Nathalie Grosdidier, executive director, Luxe Pack New York, sat down with Beauty Packaging to speak about the 10th anniversary of the show, which she says grew quickly from an initial 40 exhibitors in 2002 to the 140 currently participating. Is there a major trend that she has observed over the last decade? “One thing we have seen for sure,” she said, “is the arrival of the theme of sustainability. Ten years ago, it was not in their thoughts.” Grosdidier announced that Luxe Pack in Green, a showcase and competition for sustainable packaging, will debut in New York next year, following its success first in Monaco and then in Shanghai.

As an overall feature of the 2012 New York show, Grosdidier said, “Here, we have developed a presentation of many types of raw materials, from plastics, glass and metals to PCR and wood caps.” She also noted the “arrival of new, inspiring capabilities in decoration.”

While Luxe Pack has always been known primarily for cosmetics and fragrance packaging, Grosdidier noted that this still accounts for a very high percentage, but that inspiration and cross-fertilization trickle in from the other markets represented on the show floor.

As always, Beauty Packaging’s visits with the suppliers at the show—as well as the organization of a
key session at the event and attendance at others—proved to be not only enjoyable, but revealed a number of industry trends.

First Impressions

An initial walk through the aisles gave an immediate indication of a healthy industry, with many suppliers telling Beauty Packaging that they had had a good year and that orders were up. Lots of new fragrance bottles shone through display cases, and glass also appeared more prevalent for treatment jars. Glass has also, of course, picked up greatly due to the DIY nail polish boom. Families of packaging were also popular, making it possible for brands to keep a consistent look across a range of products. Airless dispensers continue to gain ground. Overall, innovative packaging ideas were spotted everywhere—from caps to dip tubes, pumps to collars. And decorative techniques continue to advance to new levels, offering the immediate look of something new to even a standard package. Many exhibitors touted cost advantages and short lead times as service features. And a number of suppliers mentioned that their products were made in the U.S.

Good Examples

Cosmetic Specialties International (CSI) stood out as an example of many of the trends exhibited at Luxe Pack NY. Lisa Naylor, vice president of operations & customer development, told Beauty Packaging that the company had added decoration to its capabilities to help lower lead times. Its motto of “six every six” refers to six new products launched every six months. She said that they are producing much more than stock jars, with more custom and prestige offerings, including a wide range of plastic injection-molded jars, caps, liners and closures made from traditional plastics, recycled resins, bio-plastics and 100% biodegradable material, as well as a variety of airless pumps. All injection molding is done at CSI’s facility in Oxnard, CA, which is important, as Naylor also commented that more customers are asking for USA-made. And just to be sure CSI is on the right track, president and CEO Michael J. Musso revealed that Bloomingdale’s senior vice president Howard Kreitzman sits on its board, “to assist them with innovation.”

Colt’s Plastics also presented a wide array of plastic injection and compression molded jars and closures. The company offers in-house decorative services including silk screening, hot stamping, label application and UV metallization.

SGD North America’s decorative processes include the fluorescent sprays used on Big Pony Women.
Sustainable Packaging

Amcor illustrated the trend toward sustainable packaging, which Karen Reagan, commercial business manager, U.S. home and personal care, admitted was still stronger in Europe, but was “taking on more momentum in the U.S.”The Flower by Kenzo fragrance, for instance, features a refillable bottle, designed with a cap that unscrews. When the fragrance is depleted, a convenient refill pouch, laminated to withstand fragrance, allows the consumer to unscrew the filament and fit it right over the bottle’s top to replenish the beautiful flacon. Filling it is like watering the flower, said Reagan. Another sustainable packaging story at Amcor highlighted laminated standup pouches, which feature rigidity, but offer chemical resistance for hair care products used in salons. Screw tops ensure ease of use.

Airolux, with headquarters in Switzerland and The Netherlands, had just received the DuPont packaging award for Innovation and Sustainability for its all-plastic aerosol alternative, AirOpak, which relies on air rather than propellants. This system dispenses fluids and medium to high viscosity materials using a patented pressure control device, and can replace traditional aerosol products. “Cans” are available in a range of sizes from 50- to 200ml.

First-time Luxe Pack NY exhibitor Baralan/Arrowpak was doing a brisk business with its wide array of nail polish bottles. Jim Slowey, vice president of sales, confirmed that nail polish packaging is “hotter than ever.” He also said that gel polishes “continue to be a force,” opening up a whole new possibility with bottles being powder coated, because the formula can’t be exposed to light. An at-home gel polish kit that Arrowpak recently completed for Mally Cosmetics contains nine bottles. Slowey said there’s also a trend toward heavier, thicker glass, which lends a luxe look to polish bottles. Among new designs on display at Baralan/Arrowpak were Candy, an elegant double cube bottle, and Brucci, with a standard shoulder and foot. The company also offered a range of elegant packaging for personal care products.

Decorative Methods

New decorative techniques seem always to be popping up, much of it quite complex. One enhancement we noticed this year was an increase in inkjet photo images. And while manufacturers agreed that the process remains costly at present, it does lend a dramatic look to glass bottles.

SGD North America offered the option of inkjet, along with a number of other decorative processes, including the fluorescent sprays used on Big Pony Women. Sheherazade Chamlou, vice president sales & marketing-perfumery division, explained that the spray combined with the engraved pony made registration difficult to achieve. Chamlou pointed out SGD’s whole celebrity spray line, which includes bottles for female superstars Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, J Lo, Rihanna and Taylor Swift. Glass for cosmetics jars is also on the rise at SGD—“thick glass distribution, Chanel-style,” explained Chamlou. Other trends noted by Chamlou include metal plaques added to bottles and accessories such as atomizers for powder perfumes.

Bormioli Luigi also highlighted glass with decorative techniques and accessories, and had an array of packages on display, including Loverdose, Judith Lieber, Bottega Veneta and flankers for Victoria’s Secret Bombshell. Olga Bursac, vice president sales, was enthusiastic about the market, telling Beauty Packaging that U.S. sales were up 20% this year, and that they had more than doubled in the last seven years.

BBW’s Paris Amour features a complex technique achieved by Decotech: a five-color spot-positioned spray coating on the back panel, and a two-color hot stamp with one-color print on the front.
Decotech, with all decorating done in the USA, displayed an array of innovative techniques from “difficult-to-achieve” multicolor hot stamping to faux plaques with embossing, “for a very rich look,” according to Richard Engel, executive vice president. Other examples of the company’s skills included a sugar powder texture on glass and a 360-degree wrap. Charmed Life for Bath & Body Works captured attention with a reverse gold hologram foil on the back panel, also sprayed pink to the edges, and on the front, a custom teal hot stamp with one-color white deco on top. BBW’s Paris Amour features a complex technique, with a five-color spot-positioned spray coating on the back panel, and a two-color hot stamp with one-color print on the front.

Even dip tubes can now be transformed into a topic of conversation thanks to decorative capabilities. At Aptar Beauty + Home, a patented concept called Magic Inside turned heads with fully customizable charms fastened directly to the pump’s dip tube. Brands can emphasize their design with custom colors, shapes, and objects fused right inside the bottle.

“To achieve differentiation within the fragrance market, brands are moving toward more package decoration as a way to communicate their branding. For some, it might also be an easier and faster way to launch a new product without having to redesign the entire package,” said Des McEttrick, market development director for North America.

Aptar Beauty + Home’s Magic Inside turned heads with fully customizable charms fastened directly to the pump’s dip tube.
Magic Inside is compatible with Aptar’s complete range of fragrance pumps, from standard to prestige.

Aptar was also featuring its premium airless product, Unicity, especially designed for “precious” skin care and makeup formulas. The package is light and compact, and its locking actuator option keeps product safe, with no need for an additional cap.

Fusion Packaging presented a variety of airless bottles, caps and closures, jars, pumps and valves. Eclipse, its new range of eco-friendly polypropylene airless bottles offers an ergonomic, elegant brand-building design and provides superior packaging for the most sophisticated formulas.

PKG Group/Yonwoo International was just named Supplier of the Year for Mary Kay, and showcased a wide range of airless and stock packages it supplies—domestically and globally—to the Dallas-based direct sales company. A masstige container specifically designed for MK’s Facial Replenishing Serum features a timeline scale, which tracks a six-week regimen. Another new product on display was a self-loading precision dropper, complete with a plunger that locks in place.

In Stock

Coverpla started in 1946 in the heart of the fragrance belt near Nice, France, and has just opened an office in Manhattan. National sales manager Dave Dessai filled us in on the company’s extensive full-service and stock offerings, including bottles, caps, pumps, collars and decoration. He says they specialize in delivering door-to-door service.

At Luxe Pack NY, ABA Packaging Corporation introduced a new line of beautiful, high-end jars manufactured by Promens, out of Spain (ABA is the exclusive U.S. supplier of a selection of Promens packages). An expanded line of Promens roll-ons, which also rotate, are used primarily for deodorants, but can also be used for other liquids. Mike Warford, national sales manager, said Promens sells more than 170 million of the roll-ons a year.

Albéa’s Eureka line of tagine-shaped containers for loose powder features large, ergonomic and hygienic sponge applicators.
One of Albéa’s latest launches in the U.S. is a line of oval tubes, now made in the U.S., which feature a wide surface for communication. They are available with screw-on or flip-tops, for a one-handed gesture. The company’s Eureka line of tagine-shaped containers for loose powder, pressed powder and poured foundation resembles a family of Russian Matryoshka dolls, and contains large, ergonomic and hygienic sponge applicators.

SeaCliff Beauty Packaging & Laboratories featured a number of packaging families, as well as unique items including a cream jar with a vibrator in the cap, ideal for products such as foundations with a vibrating sponge. Components with magnetic closures, light features and holograms were also on display. With Seacliff’s packaging, laboratories and manufacturing, Vonda Simon, founder and president, stressed its full-service capabilities: “From concept to creation and everything in-between,” she remarked. Seacliff has also just launched its own cosmetics line.

Samples and Single Ampoules

Consumers like to try before they buy—and the more possibilities the better.

At Luxe Pack NY, Aphena Health & Beauty, a full service contract packaging company, which offers a wide range of custom and standard packaging designs, featured a 70-color sampler for Mary Kay lip colors.

One of the unit dose packages featured at James Alexander Corporation was a nail polish ampoule, ideal for touch-ups. A new foam head that’s smaller and angled makes quick fixes a cinch. From hermetically sealed, to break & squeeze, ampoules are available with a huge assortment of tips.


At Anisa International, He Jeong Son, senior vice president of business development, introduced Beauty Packaging to the company’s Silicone Collection, which delivers smooth application via a variety of shaped tools in multiple sizes. For instance, one applicator enables the consumer to take the formula out of the pot and gently pat it under the eye, rather than using a pulling motion. What’s more, silicone does not alter or diffuse product.

Cosmogen displayed a full range of applicators for skin care and makeup, including neon brushes and a full range of its Squeez’n applicators. Denis Richard-Orliange, general manager, stated that this year’s Luxe Pack had been “even busier than last.” One brush series featured was a new line for nail art. Marianna Cilauro, business development director East Coast, said, “We’re giving the consumer the tools to do their own nail art.” Cilauro also pointed out the supplier’s Jungle Collection, now expanded with compacts and pouches to match the original brushes, available in cheetah, zebra and panther prints.

Cartons and Boxes

One of the cartons at Allstate Paper Box Company was the striking Judith Lieber Amethyst box with a reveal that highlighted two different colors—purple and silver. Another gift pack included a drawer, so it can be repurposed as a keepsake box.

At DISC, Richard Roth, chief strategy officer, proclaimed: “This is the best show I’ve attended in my entire career!”

He then explained what attendees had been excited about, remarking, “DISC is a company that has a very interesting base of diversification.” He said they are making a big push to go beyond reverse tuck folding cartons, developing new forms of packaging, coatings and special features. For instance, DISC now uses botanical DNA, as a security measure, in all of its coatings and on all of its products. “You can’t keep a lid on innovation,” he said. “You can’t do the same for everyone; innovation can be very diverse.”

Call for Glass

World-renowned packaging designer—and seven-time FiFi winner, Marc Rosen was on a quest at Luxe Pack NY, and invited me along. While most glass companies now gravitate to an automatic production, which results in less detail, Marc was looking for a supplier that produces semi-automatic glass, which engages a slower process and is used primarily for perfume bottles and beautiful vases—items that feature finer detail. With today’s large production runs, many major glass manufacturers have closed down their semi-automatic production facilities, as they don’t want to deal with smaller quantities.

However, at Luxe Pack NY, we did find some exhibitors that continue to produce small quantities using semi-automatic methods. Brosse and Saverglass are two companies that service more entrepreneurial brands in this way.

Xavier Adnet of Stolzle Glass USA, Inc., also said they could meet Marc’s requirements.

Pavisa, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, not only produces semi-automatic, but also manual, hand-blown glass, when called for. These capabilities are in addition to large runs. Semi-automatic quantities vary from 5,000 to 6,000 pieces, and even up to 500,000 pieces, if the project makes sense due to its complexity.

Luis Gonzalez Rodriquez, president of Pavisa worldwide, had worked previously with Marc on fragrance projects and, in honor of its six decades of producing premium glass, put Marc on the spot by asking him to design a crystal liquor bottle for Pavisa. Marc’s response: a resounding yes. “I’ve always wanted to design a liquor bottle,” he said.

(L-R): Kelly Kovack, Henry Renella, Jamie Matusow, Maria Archambault
Onsite Education

Sessions at Luxe Pack NY, May 16-17, provided a wealth of information from industry experts. Following are highlights from two of them. For additional session reviews, please go to

Beauty Packaging Presents Sustainable Packaging Seminar

Sustainable packaging can prove challenging to brands. Knowing the client and engaging in teamwork are essential.
On Wednesday May 16, Beauty Packaging editor Jamie Matusow, moderated a session on “The Crossroads of Research and Packaging Design.” The standing room only session featured packaging executives Henry Renella, senior vice president Estée Lauder global package development; Maria Archambault, AVP–technical packaging, L’Oréal USA; and Kelly Kovack, co-founder Purpose-Built. The panelists provided examples of sustainable packaging and corporate practices for marketing and operations benefits.

“The sustainability conversation is like a ball of string, it keeps going and going,” Kovack said. “Currently sustainability is a competitive advantage, but long-term it will be an expectation. Consumers will spend a bit more if they believe it is better for their lifestyle.”

She advised brands to identify core branding and develop a consumer-facing conversation. The packaging also must reflect the core message. “Make a claim, own it, substantiate it, and talk about it,” she said.

Kovack discussed the challenges of the Old Navy Home Fragrance, a sustainable, stackable single-piece construction, 100% recycled package. She also explained the business goals and details of bringing the niche brand 21 Drops aromatherapy to market.

L’Oréal USA’s Archambault delved into the technical aspects of developing sustainable packaging—including using PCR and light weighting, bio resins, and certified paperboards—for L’Oréal’s hair care products. “Marketing and operations must partner together,” she said, noting that supply, cost, and feasibility can pose some obstacles. For example, she noted although the goal was to use as much PCR for the bottles as possible, there were limitations when it came to packaging integrity (to avoid stress cracking) as well as color.

In addition, Archambault noted that there is a significant amount of green washing in the market today and it is often hard to determine which sustainable options are best. “Operations can give marketing concrete data on green issues,” she said.
Renella discussed how Estée Lauder is tackling sustainability issues for the company that includes 30 different brands. “Each brand is treated as an individual. Know your consumer, know your consumer, know your consumer is the first rule,” he said, adding that consumers are on a journey in which they not only care about themselves, but also about the world. “One recent survey noted that 81% of people said protecting the environment is now an important issue,” he told the crowd.

He pointed out that around the world, different definitions for sustainability exist and a company must talk to its consumer appropriately. For example, the Origins recycling program is a “spot on message” for the Origins consumer, and the Aveda recycle caps program is very popular, while DKNY has a different consumer profile and thus a different marketing position. “For DKNY, everything is ‘Pure,’ which is different than Origins and Aveda,” he said.

Conversely for the high-end Estée Lauder holiday package, the company chose not to make sustainability a major marketing point; however they did develop a sustainable product because “it is the right thing to do,” he explained.

The speakers agreed that taking the idea of sustainability from idea to completion requires teamwork, problem solving, and some compromise, but it is worth the effort. “The entire industry can make a big impact by being innovative. There is a lot more we can do, but one company can’t do it. We must all work together,” Renella said.

For an exclusive video featuring these three speakers, please go to

L-R): Doug Virtue, Raymond Matts, Karen Young, Marc Rosen, Mark Polson
Marc Rosen Moderates Panel on Four P’s

Product, Packaging, Promotion and Passion are all essential to a successful brand.

Internationally acclaimed packaging designer Marc Rosen learned a tremendous amount from working with Revlon’s Charles Revson, but one of his most important takeaways was the need for passion in creating a successful launch. Revson felt that product, packaging and promotion were key; the 4th P, Passion, which Rosen said can be missing today, was taken for granted by Revson in his day. Rosen’s panel at Luxe Pack invited a number of industry leaders to look at the 4P’s: Paul Austin, president Austin Advisory Group; Raymond Matts, an international fragrance designer; Douglas Virtue, president, Virtue Development; Karen Young, president The Young Group; and Mark Polson, vice president, creativity and business innovation and global management strategies, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

From a marketing perspective, Young said “Packaging is a message, a vessel, so the package has to be an integrated part of the whole market experience.” She provided a number of visual examples of products that had hit the right mark in categories of Beautiful (Valentina Parfum, L’Oréal Infallible Eye Shadow); Functional (Bumble + Bumble Dial a Shimmer; Her Cut): Green (Eco Tube lip balm; P&G Pantene sugarcane bottles); and more.

“Packaging today has to work harder than ever,” said Young. “Passion for the product and passion for the packaging is most important.”

Matts, who started in counter sales for the classic Aramis brand, said he believes that a quality product will endure time and “what we smell[in fragrance] is pure liquid emotion.” Have we lost the emotional portion of our product? Part of what’s missing is time, he said. “Briefs have been downsized to three months and modifications must be made in 15 minutes.” He said being passionate means allotting for time—time to create, time to discover, time to collaborate—this will bring the classics of the future.”

Virtue said, “Fashion designers, celebrities, athletes are all looking to launch fragrances.” Even though they may be passionate about their products, he said, “An overcrowded marketplace and a fickle consumer base are diminishing a fragrance’s length of time.”

Polson felt there was also a fifth P that had to be added to the mix: people. He said, “Companies don’t innovate; people do—and they are the ones that work with passion and drive enthusiasm.” He noted that new innovations in new products had dropped by nearly 50% between 1990and 2004. Key to driving innovation and inspiring passion, he said, is “to create a sense of ownership and pride.” He added, “At Lauder, we instill in employees ‘leadership and creativity from every chair.’ ”

Highlights from Luxe Pack NY 2012