Speed to market is a necessity in the beauty segment, making at-the-ready stock packaging items, quickly customizable packaging options, and “family” packaging options exceedingly helpful to beauty and personal care brands seeking to expedite the process of getting their products to market.
In addition to instantaneous availability, in-stock items like bottles, tubes, jars, caps and closures give beauty and personal care brands the benefit of a quick turnaround, cost effectiveness and an innate receptivity to speedy customization. Packaging suppliers fluent in need-for-speed packaging are a bonus resource, helping brands choose the packaging that ticks all of their “must have” boxes with flexibility and agility.
“In a trend-led industry, the quicker a brand launches a new kind of product, the greater its competitive edge,” comments Chris James, vice president of sales, East Hill Industries, Carrollton, TX. “In-stock packaging gives instant access to ready-to-go, validated solutions. When coupled with in-house decoration, you can put together a full collection virtually instantly, then have it decorated and shipped in a matter of days or weeks.
“Packaging from stock also often permits a lower MOQ than a standard catalogue, so brands need only buy what they sell, with less waste,” he continues, emphasizing that stock packaging is not just for smaller brands. “It can be a good option for large brands, too. With the right references in stock and the capacity for professional decoration, packaging developed from standard stock can be dressed up to look truly exceptional—and is much faster to develop than a custom project.”
Packaging providers can also use their purchasing power to negotiate large quantities of client-specific items at attractive rates and maintain them in stock exclusively for these brands–much like a brand’s own personal packaging stockist.
James explains that bottles, tubes and jars are typically core in-stock packaging formats because they can quickly be assembled to produce a product family with a unified look. And while demand usually dictates which items warrant stocking, increased calls for premium packaging are causing packaging suppliers to stock more uncommon packaging formats. “We are seeing an increase in stocking of more premium packaging components, which were previously in the realm of custom development only, such as wood or airless systems,” he says. “Intelligent stocking is on the rise and the offer is becoming more sophisticated.”
East Hill has a modular quick-to-market packaging focus, with airless bottles, jars and tubes and complementary pumps and closures that can be mixed, matched and decorated to create a unique look. The company currently offers in-house labelling and silk-screening, and James says the company is in the process of adding foil hot stamping to its menu of decorating services.
East Hill’s curated Q-Line jar collection and foundation bottles from Quadpack consists of acrylic jar formats with matching caps, including some in sustainably-sourced wood with a choice of dispensing systems to suit the formula, including atmospheric pumps, droppers and flock applicators.
For heightened expedience, East Hill has launched InStockPack.com, an online packaging resource with an extensive range of beauty packaging options ready to ship within 48 hours. James says InStockPack is a go-to website for burgeoning Indie brands, entrepreneurs, students, testing labs or anyone else in search of something “a little more premium” than average e-commerce offerings and unhindered by traditional MOQs.
David Greco, executive vice president business development, HCT Group, says that in-stock, quick-to-market packaging has the baked-in benefit of being tried and tested to eliminate potential issues for brands down the road. “They have a component that has been already ‘industrialized’ so they can be assured of performance and function,” he says.
Greco’s colleague, Nicole Amorosino, vice president of product sales, agrees, adding that these types of packages also give brands the flexibility for unique customization, which she says can be achieved with molding colors and decorative finishes like vacuum metallization, soft touch spray, pearl spray, water transfers and heat transfer labels. “In-stock packaging offers a faster approach to market versus going the custom tooling route,” she says. “Our stock portfolio not only includes specific pieces and categories but entire ranges [that] are great for brands who want a cohesive look and want to build out their brand as a whole.”
In addition to powder compacts, blush-sized compacts, mascara, lip gloss, lipstick and eyeshadow singles and palette formats, Greco points to HCT’s Block Magnetic Palette as a stock item that’s particularly customizable. “[It] comes with a completely customizable platform,” he says. “It can be made with any material or pan layout making it a great option for a wider variety of formulations.”
Staying ahead of trends is always key in packaging. HCP Packaging invests significantly in stock packaging research, according to Cheryl Morgan, the company’s creative marketing manager, to ensure new developments are in-line with future trends, and to provide new options that suit the fast pace of the cosmetics industry. The company offers stock packs manufactured at its factory locations in China, the U.S. and Germany, which aids both in speed-to-market and in-region manufacturing solutions.
HCP’s standard product collection is an extensive, adaptable and cost-effective range of full color cosmetic product lines for mascara, lip gloss, lipstick, compacts, palettes and kits with innovative skincare items such as pots, jars, tottles and bottles, as well as SIMP plastic molded mascara brushes (with SIMP expertise in Paris, France). The company works closely with leading filler/formulators to qualify popular and versatile stock packs to expedite project development and new product launches.
HCP recently created several on-trend items for Cyber Colors, a professional makeup brand sold exclusively in SaSa and known in the Asian market for its creative edge; providing accessible cosmetics that can create endless beauty looks, from classic to contemporary.
For their limited-edition Viva Snow Collection, the brand worked with HCP to select three stock items: the organically shaped Luna Square Wet & Dry compact; the soft, square, Radii full size lipstick and the complementary Radii Rectangular Palette. Both compacts feature a full-sized mirror and the Radii Rectangular Palette displays products in a custom insert with six wells plus a recess for an applicator.
“Each has been decorated with HCP’s dazzling metallic crystal glaze finish in cool silver; a technique that achieves a unique result each time like a frosted pattern appearing on a window pane,” explains Morgan. “To allow the decoration to take center stage, the brand’s logo has been simply screen printed in black on each item.”
Decorating techniques continue to be a trendy focus in the quick-to-market packaging realm. Morgan points to the increased demand for speed-to-market finishing techniques such as digital printing, which is ideal for smaller quantity runs to achieve multi-colored designs with a high level of detail. “Digital printing offers lower origination costs than the heat transfer labels that are often used for designs with a high level of detail and requiring four-color/CMYK printing,” she says, noting that it can also be used in tandem with other decorating options to create an ultra-unique look.
Quick-to-market packaging can be of particular benefit to burgeoning and Indie brands.
“Indie brands typically have low minimum requirements since they are just starting out and may not have been picked up by a larger distribution channel yet,” says Sari Sternschein, vice president of marketing, Qosmedix, Ronkonkoma, NY. “But as they begin to grow, they may not have the flexibility to wait for customized packaging that has longer lead times.
“While it is often more expensive to decorate a package locally, it may make sense for brands to pay a little more to get the small quantities they need in a timely manner,” she continues. “And with the advancements made in labeling, they can beautifully decorate a package with a label that includes their brand’s artwork. In many cases, they can even apply the labels themselves if need be.”
Qosmedix, which has been in the stock and custom packaging business for more than three decades, recently supplied an up-and-coming San Diego CBD brand called PurBlend Science with stock packaging for many of its products including airless jars for Vitamin C and antioxidant moisturizers, along with twist-up balm containers for full- and sample sizes of Arti-Rub and Sport-Rub.
The brand paired the packaging from Qosmedix with its own labels to create a complete product line with consistent brand imagery that has a high-end look and feel.
“The proper packaging and labeling is as big of a task as the creation of the product,” comments Mark Vuozzo, chief technical officer, PurBlend Science. “Packaging defines the brand and personality of your product which makes this task so difficult or even harder than the formulation.
“The variety and options available by Qosmedix made this task so much easier,” he says. “Being able to get the high-end packaging solutions in small quantities has a positive impact on our product roll out.”
Not all quick-to-market packaging is “stock.” Companies like New York-based Arcade Beauty specialize in partnering with brands to help streamline the process of creating a brand’s ideal package, which in this case translates into sample packaging.
“There is no contesting the importance of speed to market, especially today,” comments Larry Berman, senior vice president, sales, North America. However, he says, “For Arcade Beauty it’s about more than speed, it’s about marrying the company’s expertise and technologies with beauty brands, to help create quality, customized and affordable items to market”.
With over a century of expertise, “Arcade Beauty offers companies the ability to tap into our full spectrum of technologies in order to deliver customized and meaningful moments to customers,” Berman says. “We understand the need for beauty brands to offer discovery experiences that are tailored, but do not come with long lead times and high price tags attached. That’s why we launched SamplingMadeSimple.com, a customizable sampling platform that offers fragrance brands the opportunity to sample easily and quickly, without the worry of high set-up costs or quantity requirements.”
The SamplingMadeSimple.com platform is especially appealing for Indie brands and established brands alike because of its low-minimum, high-quality and personalized hallmarks. “Whether a brand needs 1,000 or 5,000 samples, they can create their samples on our website to reflect their brand codes,” Berman explains, noting that the turnaround time is typically 2-4 weeks from the time Arcade Beauty receives the bulk fragrance needed to process the order.
Berman points to New York apparel company Rag & Bone, which chose Arcade Beauty’s at-the-ready fragrance vial format to create a small quantity of customized fragrance samples across four scents. “A vial/vial on card is the most cost efficient multiple-use sample to distribute actual fragrance and is available in various sizes, shapes, materials, closures, and applicators,” he says.
The package was also personalized using silk screen decoration.
Outside the realm of fragrance, Laura Mercier utilized another of Arcade Beauty’s thermoform technology solutions to bring a one-of-a-kind loose powder sifter to market for their Translucent Loose Setting Powder. “Highly customizable and appropriate for a wide range of formulas, our Thermoform samples can hold up to 15mL of product and come in a variety of custom shapes, opening features and applicators,” Berman says. “This particular package was customized via extensive engineering to affix a sifter fitment to the card, allowing the sample to very closely replicate the user experience of the full-size retail item.”
The package is also reclosable, giving the consumer the opportunity to test drive the product multiple times for an accurate usage experience. The attached card is dual-sided with plenty of space to include branded content.
As with all packaging endeavors, the more customized the product, the longer the turnaround time. In the case of Arcade Beauty, fragrance vials created using SamplingMadeSimple.com have a shorter turnaround time, whereas samples requiring a higher level of customization and engineering require longer lead times.
The double-digit growth rate of e-commerce retailing and increasing fees from retailers is driving demand for quick to market e-commerce solutions to help brands avoid potential prep fees and protect against leakage. Aptar recently worked with Procter & Gamble to devise a stock, e-commerce-friendly solution for its Old Spice Beard Wash that’s both “visually appealing and ruggedly functional.” The 7.6 oz plastic package features Aptar’s new E-Clip on a stock F6 actuator and stock 24-410 GS dispensing pump with a distinctive, silver metal shell. All of the items are produced locally in Aptar’s Stratford, CT plant.
“The clip allows Old Spice to have a consistent brand image by using the GS F6 across retail channels while avoiding unsightly and costly add-ons to prevent leakage in e-commerce channels,” says Lisa Petersmark, vice president regional market development, personal care, Aptar Beauty + Home. “Thanks to the E-Clip, Old Spice consumers can order their beard wash online and not worry about it leaking or damaging products in transit, giving them the peace of mind to focus on caring for their beards rather than worrying about having to make a potential return.”