Bottles, jars, caps, droppers, tubes—for skin care, hair care, makeup, and more—are all available as stock packaging, or “standards.” Some suppliers say there is a current surge in stock packaging orders for hand sanitizer due to Covid-19—depleting supplies of stock bottles, pumps, and tubes.
Shown above are ABA's recycled aluminum bottles, which are designed with sustainability in mind. (Read more about them in the section below.)
Beauty Brands Choose Stock PackagingSeveral beauty brands are taking advantage of all the benefits that stock packaging offers. Nature Of Things, shown in the slideshow above, chose SeaCliff Beauty’s stock glass jars. “The jars are sprayed with an amazing stone finish, and the wood caps are lacquered,” says Vonda Simon, the company's founder and president. Airless packaging and droppers are among SeaCliff Beauty’s most requested stock packages.
Kate Somerville chose a custom version of APC Packaging’s 'ZHPJ' droppers. “We have the same mold available in a simple frosted or clear glass option, and it is sold by the case as a stock component,” says Jonathan Chess, the supplier's inside sales manager.
Ama Sea Beauty, also shown above, chose APC’s stock 'SXB' frosted glass bottles for its Sea Glo serum. “Ama Sea, like several other brands that purchase our stock bottles, works with a U.S.-based decorator to complete their branding,” says Chess.
Stock Packaging Gives Brands A Competitive EdgeOne of the most compelling reasons for a beauty brand to choose a stock package is to shorten development time. “Timing is often the most important consideration for brands that decide whether to use a stock package or custom,” says Chris Suda, director of operations, Cosmopak USA.
James Farley, EVP, global business development, WWP, agrees, and says, “Time is money. Stock packaging decreases the time frame to market significantly, as opposed to custom components.” Farley adds that using stock packaging means a brand will save money on custom tooling, mold components, assembly, and more.
Since tooling is such an investment, beauty brands are pressured to sell higher quantities of a product if it’s in a custom package, to make sure it was worth the expense. “Stock packaging makes it possible to ‘test the waters’ with a limited run and gain valuable consumer insight. Brands can test the market by ordering smaller quantities for a new launch, and stay under budget,” says Estefania Comella, product development manager, New High Glass.
Choosing a stock package may give a brand a competitive edge, some suppliers say. “Developing custom tooling adds months to a project’s timeline—and less time to get to market is so important in the beauty business,” says SeaCliff Beauty’s Simon.
Cynthia Ellis, sales representative, Precise Packaging, agrees that shortening the required lead time for a new package before a launch is often essential for a beauty brand. “This relieves some of the pressure associated with speed-to-market demand,” she says.
Most suppliers that produce stock packaging have already perfected the design, and may have also completed compatibility testing for certain products. HCP Packaging offers stock packaging that is compatibility tested and available in cohesive ranges. “Our ranges enable a brand to keep a consistent look across different product categories,” says the company's creative marketing manager, Cheryl Morgan.
Neopac offers a stock line of tubes. Cornelia Schmid, Neopac’s head of marketing, says, “Our stock tubes offer hassle-free specification. All a brand needs to do is deliver the artwork, and our tubes are printed and dispatched to retailers.” Schmid says its most popular tube is its 75ml with a flip-top cap.“Currently, there is a shortage in the EU market for these tubes, so we are stepping up production initiatives,” she says.
Baralan also offers a wide range of standard and stock packaging. “We are recognized as a point of reference in high-quality, primary packaging for cosmetics,” says Maurizio Ficcadenti, the company's global R&D manager. “Our strength lies in having widespread distribution around the world. This helps to reduce transportation time and costs, and ensure logistics run smoothly,” he says.
Fast Turnaround TimesTime constraints are a major reason for choosing a stock or standard package, since it eliminates the lead time for tooling. Brands will often need to factor in time to customize and manufacture—but some suppliers say they are able to deliver stock packaging with the fastest turnaround times.
“Speed to market has become the norm for almost every project that we work on, so we have many stock packaging options that could be available and fully decorated in a matter of weeks instead of months,” says Mike Warford, national sales manager, ABA Packaging.
ABA offers a range of Boston round bottles in glass, plastic, and aluminum. “Many of our stock designs are available at our warehouse in Holtsville, New York—and we can decorate them in a matter of weeks,” says Warford.
Warford says there is a move toward apothecary looks, especially for cosmetic treatment products and skin care brands. Straight-sided glass, plastic, and aluminum jars with exposed-thread aluminum caps are also being requested by brands trying to convey this look, as well as Boston round bottles.
“Our glass Boston rounds are available as shelf-stock in many sizes. We also have stock tooling available for these bottles in plastic and aluminum.” Straight-sided glass, plastic, and aluminum jars with exposed-thread aluminum caps are all being requested by brands, he says.
APC Packaging is another supplier that says fast turnaround times are frequent requests, from companies of all sizes. “We have many options in our U.S. warehouse that can ship immediately,” says Chess. “Our diverse stock collection offers start-up brands an economical way to launch new lines without spending their entire budget on packaging. And larger companies often take advantage of our low minimums to ‘test launch’ without committing to a large purchase,” he says.
APC recently launched a new line of Boston round amber and clear glass bottles. They can be paired with either a black bulb glass dropper that has a child-resistant closure--or a tamper-evident orifice reducer cap, which has an inverted dropper tip and tear ring. “Both our amber and glass bottles are available in 15- and 30ml for oils, serums, and CBD products. These bottles, droppers, and orifice reducer caps are stocked in our warehouse for shipping within 24 hours—and we can fulfill orders as low as a single case,” says Chess.
Also stressing the beauty industry’s “need for speed,” Marny Bielefeldt, vice president of marketing, Alpha Packaging, says, “Speed to market is an increasingly important trend.” She says Alpha often helps facilitate rapid market launches for all types of personal care products.
“We are expanding our stocking programs for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and jars in our most popular sizes, styles, and colors. This makes it easy for personal care brands across North America to get smaller quantities of stock packaging faster than if they had to wait for a make-to-order run,” Bielefeldt explains.
Baralan’s Ficcadenti says, “A ready-to-use package means a quick reaction to market demand. Our catalog of more than 1,500 products is largely available in stock and in various locations, globally.” He adds, “Brands that choose our stock packaging benefit from our efficiency in fulfilling requests, and the various customization options that we offer.” He says the company also offers numerous sustainable options.
An Array of New Stock PackagesStock packaging is available in a wide assortment of shapes and styles, and suppliers are continually launching new collections.
HCP’s stock packaging options, especially its refillable and stick designs, are often requested. “They are very popular for cosmetics and suncare,” says Morgan. Due to its exclusive partnership with Pum-Tech Korea, HCP now offers more innovative packages, as well as dispensing systems. “Pum-Tech Korea brings hundreds of innovative packs for airless categories including bottles, compacts, pumps, pouches, tubes, jars, twist-up and dial-less sticks and droppers,” says Morgan.
Coverpla manufactures high-end caps for fragrance and skin-care packaging. The supplier has two new Surlyn caps, Nissa and Tyron. “We also recently introduced a Zamac cap line, which can give a bottle a high-end look and feel,” says Gilda Cutri, vice president of operations and business development. “We have hundreds of different stock caps in our library and we strive to design two to four new styles each year. We also offer customizing services, including coloring and decorating,” she says.
New High Glass has two new stock jar lines, Sage and Marigold. “Both have standard finishes to give brands more flexibility when choosing a cap. We also have different stock caps available for our jars, made with plastic and metal overshells,” says the company's product development manager Estefania Comella.
New High Glass is known for its extensive range of stock packaging options for skincare, including bottles, jars, and closures. “We have a comprehensive catalog—the largest in the market,” says Comella. The supplier also has new droppers and treatment pumps, which are described in more detail below.
Stock Caps & DroppersStock bottles, jars, and tubes need coordinating caps and closures, and there are a variety of options. Suppliers sometimes suggest focusing a decoration on a stock cap or closure, while keeping a bottle simple for a clean, modern aesthetic.
“There are easy ways to create custom looks by choosing the right type of cap or closure,” says Coverpla’s Cutri. “The type of decoration depends on the message a brand wants to convey. Some of our customers prefer to brand their components through bottle deco and others prefer to emphasize the cap,” she explains.
In addition to decorating, a stock cap can be weighted. “This elevates the package, to a level of luxury,” says Cutri. “The consumer feels like they are holding something expensive in their hand when holding a weighted item,” she says.
Skincare brands that choose stock packaging often require droppers and pumps. New High Glass offers a range of droppers and treatment pumps with UV metallized ABS collars. “Both closures can be metallized in any custom color. We also offer some standard colors that are in stock, such as silver and gold,” says Comella.
New High Glass also offers a new line of droppers and treatment pumps designed to pair with Boston round bottles—and elevate their look. “We noticed many new brands choosing this bottle shape to start their lines and launch new products because they are readily available, usually at low price points,” says Comella. “To make it easy for a brand to upgrade the look of its line and differentiate from competitors, we created high-end accessories for Boston rounds.
Our dropper is designed with a lowered collar, which covers the neck of the bottle for a more sophisticated look,” she explains.
Decorating a Stock Package for a Custom LookStock packaging is highly customizable. “The beauty of stock packaging is that it can be decorated effectively to create any type of brand image,” says ABA’s Warford. “Hot-stamping shiny and matte metallic images are a strong trend, and we offer this decoration for our glass, plastic, and aluminum packages,” he explains, adding, “Spray color coatings are also popular, for glass bottles and jars—and are ideal for brands seeking apothecary looks.”
HCP’s Fluted Collection is a luxe stock range for color cosmetics. It includes packaging for lip gloss, mascara, lipstick, compacts, and palettes. It also includes mini and promo sizes for mascara and lipstick. “The fluted aspect of the pack can be molded, metallized, or spray-finished for a stylish look that highlights the distinctive feature of this range,” says Morgan. She adds, “It has a look that ties in well with the trend for vintage style designs.”
Róen Beauty chose Cosmopak’s clear round vial package and a triangle applicator for its new ‘Kiss My…’ Liquid Lip Balm. “The stock package is decorated using our 360-degree gunmetal decoration with a UV coating, silkscreened logo, and white deco bottom label,” says Syeira Simon, product development and formula innovation manager, Cosmopak.
SeaCliff Beauty’s Simon says over 80% of the brands the company works with are using customized stock packaging. “When a stock package is customized with a spray finish and metallization, its look changes drastically. Dropper bottles can even be metallized with custom droppers,” she says.
Baralan’s Ficcadenti also discusses the importance of decoration--and custom looks. “There are many ways to make a package unique through various decorations and graphic techniques. In recent months, we have noticed that varnishing is being requested for its versatility. It can range from glossy to opaque, full color to degradé, as well as metallization, shiny and matte finishes,” he says. “Brands are always looking for new custom solutions and we have the dual ability to keep pace with the market’s requests—and above all, to define new decorative trends that will never go out of style,” he adds.
The team at WWP say they often tell brands that a custom decoration “will bring their aesthetic to life.” WWP’s Farley says, “We strive to provide every type of customization desired.” He says, “Right now, many brands are choosing direct package labeling with metallization, silk screening, tampo-print, hot stamping, aluminum overshells, and thermal transfer labeling. All of these options are readily available, and we can provide unique designs, as well as unique ways of applying them.”
Alpha Packaging’s container decorating division, Technigraph Corporation, offers an environmentally-friendly UV spray frost decorating process, Eco-Frost. “Technigraph has seen a significant increase in the number of beauty brands that are purchasing stock bottles and jars, then spray-frosting them for a high-end look,” says Bielefeldt. “Round bottles, as well as oblong and oval bottles, can be decorated using the Eco-Frost process--and once the bottles have been spray-frosted, they can then be screen-printed or labeled for a dramatic decorative effect,” she explains. “Customers requesting this process often tell us they want the high-end look of etched glass without the costs of transportation and breakage,” she adds.
Technigraph’s most popular frosted effect is a matte finish, which will make a shiny plastic bottle look almost “soft” to the touch. “In addition to the visual effect, there is also a tactile difference between a coated bottle and an uncoated bottle,” Bielefeldt says. “Another very interesting effect on a frosted bottle is to screen-print it with a clear UV ink in a pattern or in a ‘window’ that knocks down the frosted effect—allowing the consumer to see the product through a clear space in the graphics,” she adds.
Depending on the decorating process chosen for a stock package, however, sometimes a brand will need to factor in extra development time. In addition, higher minimum quantities are often required to ensure that a decoration won’t be cost-prohibitive.
APC’s Chess says that when a smaller company orders low quantities of its stock packaging, sometimes as low as one case, he refers them to other fillers and decorators in the U.S. “Once a brand’s needs increase, and depending on their timeline, we can offer full decoration capabilities including silk screening, gradient color, in-mold colors, hot stamping, water transfers, and more,” he says.
Brands using tubes—and who have a short lead time—may want to take a look at Neopac’s new direct-to-shape digital decoration service, DigitAll360°. “It addresses the growing demand for high-quality variable printing, precision color-matching, flexible batch sizes—and expedited delivery,” says Cornelia Schmid, head of marketing for Neopac.
The process prints photorealistic graphics and text on the entire surface of cylindrical containers. “It is available for a wide variety of substrates, in an almost unlimited color palette,” adds Schmid.
Stock Packaging Designed for SustainabilityNearly every beauty brand wants to use more sustainable packaging, even when it is a stock or standard collection—and many suppliers are offering eco-friendly options.
Alpha Packaging recently introduced two new lines of light-weighted packaging for the beauty industry. “The first is a series of PET bottles that use 19% less plastic than our previous bottle families,” says Bielefeldt. “We achieve the weight reduction using a reheat-and-blow molding process with preforms that are 19% lighter than our traditional injection stretch blow-molded bottles,” she explains.
Alpha Packaging’s second new light-weighted collection is a line of PET jars in two sizes. “We reengineered and redesigned these jars to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic used in each,” says Bielefeldt. “Our 32-ounce jar went from 90.5 grams to 65.8 grams, which is a reduction of almost 30%,” she says. “And all of our HDPE and PET jars can be run in 100% post-consumer resin,” she adds.
HCP’s “Hush” line has a nature-inspired look and showcases several of the supplier’s new stock packages in sustainable materials. Their stock packaging includes many options in PCR. “We also offer an exclusive eco-material, EcoWood,” says Morgan. “It is a plastic-free bio-based alternative material,” she says.
HCP also offers paperboard palettes made with tray-locking systems instead of magnets, which makes recycling easier. “We also offer covers for lip gloss, mascara, and lipstick that can be made from recycled and FSC certified paper as a ‘reduce’ story, for a brand,” she says.
SeaCliff Beauty offers a variety of stock packaging in PCR, and tubes made with plastic derived from sugarcane. Refillable designs are also available.
ABA's Recycled Aluminum Bottles, Shown AboveABA offers a stock line of glass jars and bottles, which continue to be in high demand. “Many brands are choosing glass, due to environmental concerns. Our stock bottles and jars are perfect for fragrance and skincare treatment products,” says Warford. “For brands choosing plastic, we offer bottles, jars, and tubes made with PCR, and our stock tooling. We offer hundreds of sizes and shapes,” he says.
ABA’s most popular sustainable stock packages, however, have been its recyclable aluminum bottles (shown above) and jars. “These include threaded-neck styles. These are made-to-order with quick lead-times and low minimums,” says Warford.
Aluminum is 100% recyclable and retains its properties indefinitely—and nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today, according to Warford. “It has been reported that aluminum is one of the only materials in the consumer disposal stream that more than pays for the cost of its own collection,” he adds.
More Sustainable OptionsCosmopak offers stock packaging made from PCR, RPET, RPP, RABS, sugarcane, and recycled paper, as well as refillable styles. “Our new refillable airless pump from our Terra collection is made with PCR. It is perfect for cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and liquid foundations,” says Simon.
The team at New High Glass often advises brands on how to make their packaging—including pumps—more sustainable and eco-friendly. “Most of our stock products are glass, so they are all recyclable and sustainable. We are also encouraging some of our fragrance customers to switch their pumps to 18/415 spray pumps instead of crimp. Then, consumers can separate the glass and aluminum parts, to recycle each component separately,” says Comella.
WWP’s Farley says, “We offer multiple sustainable materials for a majority of our stock packages including PCR, PE, PET, and ABS. Our line of flexible tubes also stands out as an extremely sustainable option made from sugar cane bio-PE.”
Courrèges’ new Colognes Imaginaires collection includes four different fragrances in refillable bottles. The brand selected a Coverpla bottle—the Verdi model, in lightweight glass. Designed by Coverpla, the Verdi bottle is part of the Ecoline range. The 100ml bottle is made using 100g of glass, representing a 40% reduction in material usage.
The bottle is paired with Coverpla’s adjusted pump and screw-on collar, which are designed to easily take off and separate. This design makes it possible for the bottle to be refilled at the point of sale, and also recycled after separating the pump and metallic parts from the glass bottle.
What's Next?There is no shortage of design options for stock packaging, and suppliers continually work toward expanding their offerings, and are especially focused on sustainability. Neopac will soon offer tubes made with 64% recycled content.
HCP is developing a new stock range of refillable packaging concepts. “Our new range will be designed to elevate refill to luxury status,” says Morgan. “We’re also investigating the use of mechanically recycled resins, recycled aluminum from certified sources, and bamboo,” she says.
Coverpla is currently developing a new wood cap, which will be more sustainable than the supplier’s existing wood caps. “We are in the preliminary stages of launching this new line,” says Cutri.
A final tip: Cutri advises brands to choose a supplier willing to communicate and be a true “partner.” She says, “We listen closely to the beauty brands we work with, and after listening to a brand’s ideas and understanding their story, we present our suggestions. We always look for ways to use stock packaging to elevate their look.”