Creating a specialized packaging ensemble can be an expensive undertaking, but thanks to the proliferation of in-stock and stock mold bottles, caps and dispensers that are amenable to nearly limitless decoration techniques, if brands can dream it, packaging suppliers can probably deliver it.
Mark Bellard, president, Siloa Inc., Bedminster, NJ, explains that while stock is often the solution for customers with budgets and schedules to heed, the beauty of stock is its responsiveness to customization, either in part or in full. Brands can create a look entirely comprised of stock componentry that’s finished to suit, or they can mix and match, pairing stock bottles with completely custom dispensers, or stock caps with bespoke jars, and so on. And when deco is added to the mix, the result can take on a very un-stock-like look.
“High-end perfume glass and luxury metal compacts can be individually hand decorated or engraved in a numbered and limited series, creating some very exclusive stock packages,” says Bellard, noting that Siloa has also undertaken “shared investment” opportunities. “A supplier develops the tooling for a specific design that they think might be commercially viable to other customers and agrees on an exclusivity period with the customer, or a shared expense on the tooling,” he says. “An example would be a customer requesting injection blow high-density polyethylene versions of our standard PET bottles.”
For brands with more than one product to package, the trick to working with stock componentry is creating a cohesive family look and that’s where packaging suppliers can be an important resource. “The challenge is in finding families of packaging that suit different product categories that will in turn satisfy all compatibility requirements, graphics, dispensing, storage, shipping, presentation and use—and look like they belong together,” Bellard comments. “Designers can tie stock lines together by shape, color, texture, size or by a decoration impact that transcends shape and style differences.”
Coordination also extends to creating a package that pairs formulas to their perfect applicator. PYT Beauty partnered with Florham Park, NJ-based WWP to make sure their products were both aesthetically pleasing and effortlessly functional.
“It was important to us that our packaging represent our brand and the product inside,” comments Mary Schulman, PYT Beauty co-founder. “Women are looking for products that multi-task, so dual packing was important to us. Slim designs, oversized mirrors and a look and feel that are special are what inspired us in our packaging design.”
So far, the union has resulted in products like double-sided mascara, lipstick + lip gloss combination, brow pencil with brow perfecting spoolie, contouring concealer with built in blending brush, highlighter and blush compact (with large mirror) and an eyeshadow compact (with larger pan size for the most used base colors).
“Our customers named simplification as a key attribute in their product packaging, and we strove toward that ideal,” Schulman explains. “Our eyeshadow palette, for example, comprises eight colors that take users from day to night in a compact that can fit nicely in a back pocket or clutch for premium portability [while] our double-sided mascara allows them to have one product with all-in-one functionality rather than take up extra space in their makeup bag with two separate products.”
In total, Schulman says development took more than two years to create, but the result was worth the effort. “Part of the reason for the lengthy process was the time we spent working to create packaging deco in line with what consumers are seeking today,” she says. “We use soft-touch finishing on many of our primary components for a luxurious, more ergonomic feel [and] UV spotting to create our signature dot design.
The brand’s secondary packaging features high-end foil finishing and embossing for an ultra-premium look. “We wanted our product packaging to have a simplistic and clean look and feel, while adding a bit of beauty intellect to the overall aesthetic,” she says. “We chose components and colors that met these criteria.”
Stock componentry is a great way for brands to stay on-trend in the realm of packaging. WWP’s Jim Farley, executive vice president of global business development reports that small packages are all the rage. “We continue to see strong demand for on-the-go ergonomic packaging, which comprises smaller scale, ‘pocket ready’ packages, in both the lip and now, skincare categories.”
Cheryl Morgan, creative marketing manager at Dorset, England-based HCP Packaging, agrees, pointing to the collective love for interactive beauty advent calendars, which are curated to “gift” consumers with a small-sized version of their favorite beauty and personal care items during the holiday season.
Personalized color cosmetics also lend well to being housed in smaller stock packages. “For the face, the use of concentrated pigments to customize a base formulation such as a primer, highlighter or moisturizer is a growing trend,” Morgan says. “Packaging-wise, brands are requesting packs with small dosages and controlled dispensing such as our newly launched 15ml Radii Square Tottle stock pack.”
Decoratively speaking, holographic and glitter-finished packaging are also proving incredibly popular. “Holographic and prismatic effects are some other eye-catching decorations that work well on social media; especially popular with brands that focus on video content,” she says. “Generally, glitter is a top trend across all areas of the market and is being adapted for both young and fun packaging looks and also higher end, more luxurious brands.”
HCP offers a wide selection of glitter finishes; from sprays, to 3D glitter, sparkling textiles and glitter gel. The company’s Glitter Storm compacts, which feature a mesmerizing suspension of glitter and sequins in liquid, are a particularly beautiful wow-factor for brands.
Customization, especially as it relates to compact covers is a top trend for HCP. “[It’s] an extremely creative and flexible way to reinvent a pack season on season, whether for core or highly decorated limited-edition ranges,” Morgan comments. “The use of textiles is gaining popularity for a tactile effect that is noticeably influenced by runway trends with velvet, digitally printed satin or sequined materials. For brands that desire all-over, highly detailed and full-color artwork, our paper packs (lipstick, fragrance stick and lip glosses) offer an excellent opportunity to display colorful designs to the max.”
Chinese beauty company Marie Dalgar tapped into the versatility of HCP’s stock Radii Rectangular Palette for its Color Studio line, opting to customize with a stunningly unique, 3-D printed decorative top-plate. The highly detailed, three-dimensional geometric design features gradating hues of red and pink and a debossed, glossy badge spotlighting the brand’s logo. Its red cover and base have extra tactile appeal thanks to soft touch spray, while the custom insert displays 10 eyeshadow colors and an applicator recess. A full-size mirror housed in the cover makes applying eye makeup on the go a snap.
“This packaging was a great fit for the customer as their brand is bright, colorful and innovative. Their palettes often feature quirky and vivid graphics on the cover, so our Radii range is an ideal choice due to the huge opportunity to customize the decoration with different materials and designs,” Morgan says.
Environmentally-friendly packaging continues to be in demand. And while glass and plastic are typically most referenced in terms of recyclability, interest in aluminum packaging is heating up.
“Aluminum is one of the most sought-after materials for recycling,” explains Mike Warford, national sales manager, ABA Packaging, Holtsville, NY, whose company offers threaded neck aluminum stock bottles that are not made from recycled materials, but they are highly sought after for recycling once the product use cycle is complete.
According to The Aluminum Association, Arlington, VA, aluminum is 100% recyclable and retains its properties indefinitely. It’s also one of the only materials in the consumer disposal stream that more than pays for the cost of its own collection.
“The clear message from most of our primary packaging customers is that they want to try and find the most sustainable packaging options that will work with their products,” Warford says. “ABA Packaging has many options here to help our customers to achieve this goal, [including] using widely recycled packaging materials like glass and aluminum, and integrating certified PCR into their plastic jars, bottles and caps where possible.”
But environmental footprint is only one component in determining a material’s usability as a packaging medium. Warford says packaging options have to pass a litmus test that includes being able to contain the product, protect it, be compatible with the formula, and be safe for consumers. “The integration of sustainable packaging options can be made so long as the requirements above are not compromised,” he says. “On reviewing the more sustainable packaging options that we offer, aluminum has become one of the most popular. Aluminum bottles and cans for fragrance, treatment and hair care applications are a growing trend for us.”
“As important as the issue of sustainability has become, brand owners (and their consumers) are not willing to compromise the brand image, originality, functionality and cost performance to satisfy the needs for sustainability, even when they make use of stock packaging solutions,” agrees Atsko Fukada, senior director, Takemoto Packaging Inc., Brooklyn, NY.
Takemoto’s stock offerings hinge on a selection of more than 3,300 stock molds developed in-house, and Fukada says ecological and sustainable packaging solutions have been an important development theme for the past few decades. “Accordingly, we have been offering various approaches to the question of sustainability for a long time,” she comments. “This once niche market is now expanding as both brand owners and consumers across all markets demand product packaging that has less impact on the environment.”
Takemoto recently worked with Fitglow Beauty, who serendipitously took notice of Takemoto’s environmentally-friendly stock options at a recent Cosmoprof show and used it as a springboard to select a 50ml refillable jar package for its Cloud Ceramide Balm.
“Fitglow uses our original stock colors with silk screening [and] it so happened that our standard white turned out to be an exact match to their brand’s own tone of white,” Fukada says. “This cut development time as Fitglow could skip the color-matching process.”
The brand, which markets a line of plant-based, organic, cruelty-free, gluten-free and vegan makeup and skincare products, told Takemoto that as a green beauty company they liked that the Takemoto jar embodied both a reduction in plastic as well as a refillable system. Fukada says Fitglow is looking forward to expanding the line with a “case and refill bottle set” format next year.
One of HCT Group’s most recent stock upgrades is their Block Magnetic Palette. This palette features a completely customizable platform that can be made from a wide variety of materials and is not limited to any specific pan layout. This simple customizable feature cuts turnaround time in half, and allows the component to be used with a wide range of products.
“We are constantly designing new stock and re-introducing past favorites with simple upgrades that give the client more options in terms of customization. By providing our clients with these flexible stock packaging solutions, they have the ability to achieve a speed-to-market launch without having to compromise the complexity of their design or product,” says Jeremy Wilson, design director, HCT Group.
Giving brands the option to tailor stock to meet their specific needs and reduce delivery times has strengthened the company’s partnerships within the industry’s emerging market and helped support their turnkey business.
Packaging providers are keeping pace with the demand for new and innovative stock packaging. Following are some of the latest market entries.
• SONI 100ml: a tall striking rectangular bottle with a thick heel.
• BOREAL: Coverpla’s newest low MOQ Surlyn cap can be customized with color injection and silk screen, or with a metal ring.
• Leather texture: a new addition to the company’s stock decorating portfolio, leather patterning imparts a rich texture to boost shelf presence.
Yonwoo International/PKG Group
• Oval Clear Drop: Likened to the marriage of a tottle and a dropper, this user-friendly dispenser is available in 30- and 50ml options.
• Powder Sprayer: a simple but effective pump system great for dry shampoos, SPF products and powder sprays.
• Stick RT Long Cap: a useful 20g option for single- and multi-use products such as foundation, cheek and lip products, or SPF applications.
• Radical Ultra: this versatile stock pack features a soft square profile and is compatible with a range of applicators on clear PCTA rods for use with eye, lip, concealer, brow and highlighter products.
• Micro-precision molded mascara brushes: INFINITI builds edge-to-edge lash volume without clumping via a patented arch design; SPIKI features a complex construction with a trio of targeted reservoirs, created with three crossed patented arches to deliver volume, length and lash definition; MINI SPIKI is small version of the original SPIKI brush with a comb tip for fanned lash separation.