With innovation-forward formulations and packaging technologies, turnkey service providers enable brands to cost-effectively maximize convenience and speed to market. While turnkey manufacturing and packaging have always occupied an important place in the beauty and personal care landscape, the Covid-19 pandemic has shined an even brighter light on the benefits of one provider overseeing the creation of a product or line, from ideation through to formulation and packaging.
A key benefit of utilizing a turnkey services company is that they typically invest heavily in new innovations. Jackie Paterno, vice president, CTK Cosmetics, says partnering with a turnkey provider gives brands a unique opportunity to explore and implement packaging and formulation innovations without exceeding their budgets.
“Turnkey allows the brand to bring innovation across two categories while leaving the heavy lifting of testing, coordinating, QA and QC to the manufacturer,” she says, noting that on the formula side for example, CTK partners and invests in several raw material suppliers and university think tanks to help cultivate a real point of difference. “The beauty of this, is that it allows us to drive the development process from both sides. For each turnkey product coming from CTK, the inspiration could be coming from a unique formula which drives a new pack, or vice versa, a new pack which allows us to see a formula in a whole new way.”
Another benefit to the turnkey approach is that it frees brands to focus on their marketing goals.
“Using a turnkey supplier…allows the brand to focus on the brand DNA and rely on the turnkey supplier for the complex time-consuming management aspect of supply chain,” says Elizabeth Forsyth, CEO, Sheencolor USA.
Turnkey packaging in particular, she says, gives brands more time to be creative with their artwork and make more informed decisions on how to customize stock packaging using trend-forward techniques such as heat transfer labels, metallization or soft-touch accents. “The same package can be used for two different SKUs within a brand for the same type of formula, but which have a completely different aesthetic, thus allowing a cost savings to the brand by leveraging the volume purchase on the package, yet deco can still differentiate it,” she says.
“Having a single point of contact through the entire process allows the brand to concentrate on marketing and sales of their products,” comments Jesse Miller, vice president of business development, QRS, where the company’s turnkey programs assimilate to customer infrastructure to handle product and package development, resourcing, custom tooling, creative use of stock packaging and final supply. “The approval processes are streamlined, allowing the brand to expend energy in other areas.”
The concept of “turnkey” can be an asset to both emerging Indie and established global brands. It can also mean different things to different brands, depending on the breadth of service they need performed.
“At WWP Beauty, we allow customers to leverage and integrate our full-service capabilities into their businesses creating holistic partnerships with prompt and transparent communication and collaboration,” says Josh Kirschbaum, CEO, WWP Beauty. The benefit, he adds, is “the convenience of one beauty partner.”
The convenience of keeping tabs on a single supplier is matched by the cost factor. “[The] simplicity [of] having a single supplier makes it easier to calculate the total cost as it’s a single price, all inclusive,” says Walter Dwyer, president, Cosmopak.
“Turnkey is so much more that providing components or product; it’s really about providing solutions,” summarizes Doug Rofheart, senior sales executive, JP Packaging LLC. Rofheart says JP’s expertise is asking the right questions and listening to most effectively interpret and meet a brand’s needs.
“At JP, we are listeners first, speaking with brands about needs and wants, and then matching them with the right products, components and services geared directly to each unique and specific need,” he says. “We understand brands and their needs and create a clear path and road map to get to the finish line, which is the brand’s success.”
Turnkey Packaging TrendsTurnkey service providers have observed a number of trends impacting their business and the industry at large.
Among the biggest trends influencing the segment continues to be sustainability and, to a similar degree, clean beauty. “Packaging recyclability, reducing plastic and PCR resins are key,” comments CTK’s Paterno. “Formulas need to be clean and meet strict blacklist criteria.
“The ability to combine a sustainable package and clean formula is an enormous turnkey benefit,” she continues. “These trends are forcing us to think in new ways, how can we retrofit what we currently have to improve and how to invest in new raw materials for both formula and pack.”
One of the biggest trends in turnkey packaging observed by Sheencolor has been the ability to decorate stock packaging with unique processes and/or create a formula shade that coordinates and complements its package.
JP Packaging’s Rofheart says speed to market continues to be in high demand, as does the need for lower minimum order quantities (MOQs) and requests for multiple SKUs across product offerings. “Brands are relying on our expertise and supply chain knowledge to execute programs quickly, seamlessly with a high attention to detail, quality and speed,” he says. “From package design, artwork, as well as fulfillment, the demands on us are greater today than in the past.”
Another interesting adaptation to the world of beauty amidst Covid has been a bump in demand for skin care and wellness products. In color cosmetics, “The eyes are taking on a larger appeal with beauty consumers now wearing masks in their daily activities,” says Kirschbaum. “Moving forward, we predict most customers will continue to focus on skin care and wellness due to the ongoing trend of taking care of oneself at home, as well as masks continuing to be worn.”
Beauty Industry Suppliers Adapt to Covid-19At a time when industry slowdowns and social distancing protocols are at the forefront, turnkey is uniquely positioned to help brands continue meeting their beauty product goals.
Sheencolor USA’s Forsyth points out that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for turnkey services was significantly increasing in the global beauty industry. “The trend continues to rise as we see brands with leaner teams minimizing their supply chains and showing a demand for outside resources,” she says. “As a turnkey supplier, we offer all aspects of development, product development, R&D, packaging and quality. More brands are relying on our in-house testing capabilities in order to meet speed to market and leaner timelines.”
QRS’s Miller says there has been much more interest in turnkey this year and he sees it continuing into 2021. “Covid has brought many challenges to our industry,” he comments. “Like in other industries, companies are reevaluating overhead costs that have put many brands in a tough situation.”
In response to the pandemic, QRS has dedicated its team to handle the operations as well as back office work through its turnkey program.
Covid restrictions have also forced turnkey companies to get flexible and creative with how they do business, modifying traditional practices with new and exciting ways to present concepts and products to customers while in-person meetings are on pause. “Things like, short video makeup tutorials, video reels and interactive Zoom meetings have replaced the commonly used PowerPoint product presentation,” says Forsyth. “Things such as hand delivering samples to our customers’ homes if we can or taking calls on ‘off’ work hours as many juggle working from home with children and other family obligations have become the norm.”
JP Packaging’s Rofheart observes that despite Covid, doors continue to open to new opportunities, especially in the realm of hand sanitizer and related cleanliness products. “During this Covid-19 interruption it has created opportunities for brands to quickly launch product that was not even on the new product boards ten months ago,” he says. “Using sanitizing products for example, we have ‘turnkeyed’ hand sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer gel sachets in record time for customers.”
And speaking of hand sanitizers, the ramped-up global need for germ-mitigating personal products has created a cottage industry of sorts for turnkey service providers since many are already FDA approved to produce these items.
“OTC is very detailed, you need FDA approved factories, and synchronizing pack and formula is essential,” explains CTK Cosmetics’s Paterno. “We have a special OTC team dedicated to understanding the global requirements of different markets for OTC.”
In April, CTK Cosmetics launched its OTC hand sanitizer and hand care series consisting of liquid and gel hand sanitizer, sanitizer wipes, hand lotion and a hand mask.
Although businesses continue to adapt their approach during these strange times, the human element is sorely missed. “Meeting in person is a critical aspect of our business and the pandemic has changed the way business is being done,” comments David Berkman, president & CEO, Allta International Inc, a vertically integrated turnkey provider that manufactures completely custom products for its beauty brand partners. “We’re taking a lot more lead from the brands themselves, doing Zoom meetings and in some cases, sending samples to customers’ homes, but I prefer to see the emotion in my customers that comes with the personal interaction with the products.”
As global markets continue to flicker back to life, Berkman believes turnkey is uniquely positioned to help brands climb back. “Turnkey certainly speeds up the process and it makes more sense for brands to work with a partner who can control the process from start to finish,” he says.
But no one has a crystal ball capable of predicting what lies ahead post-Covid. “It’s still too early to conclude the full impact given the long lead times in the manufacturing of beauty,” says Cosmopak’s Dwyer. “Covid-19 started in March so many projects that were started pre-March only completed in July or August, and some that were put on hold in March and April have since moved forward.”
But traditional in-person product sales certainly haven’t ceased. “We have definitely noticed less impact on brands that sell direct to consumer than those using traditional retail,” Dwyer comments. “We have also seen that TV sales, which were decreasing prior to Covid, have been very resilient.”
WWP Beauty’s Kirschbaum agrees, and adds that with the environment changing daily, there’s been an increase in e-commerce shopping, making turnkey’s capacity for speed to market an asset for brands. “Many brands are having to shift their product offerings to include a PPE product or a skin care product and choosing turnkey for these types of products makes it easier for them to navigate the new space for their brand,” he says.
“Turnkey is so much more than providing components or product,” concludes Rofheart. “It’s providing knowledge and a clear path to success, one brand and one package at a time.”
What's New in Turnkey?
New offerings from some of the industry’s leading turnkey service providers.The beauty industry thrives on innovation and so does the turnkey segment. Following is a brief roundup of new offerings from some of the industry’s leading turnkey service providers.
CosmopakSpecializing in work with Indie brands and startups in search of a strategic partner, Cosmopak recently produced a customized stock vial featuring gunmetal metallization and silk screening for Roen Beauty’s Cake Mascara. The company is also prepping a new Cyberglam Turnkey Collection for launch in the near future.
CTK CosmeticsAs one of the first turnkey vendors out of Korea specializing in complexion makeup and skin care, CTK Cosmetics is preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2021. The company also has an aggressive new product launch calendar characterized by the launch of two new turnkey offerings a month. This follows on the heels of the launch of more than 25 new items across skin care, complexion, color, body care and OTC in 2020.
The company’s latest launch is its Prism Shield Mist, composed of a colorful oil layer with anti-inflammatory ingredients (essential lavender oil and tea tree oil) and a moisture layer containing 8 types of hyaluronic acid providing deep hydration while soothing the skin, in a mist pack package featuring a worry-free, non-clogging pump developed for the product formula.
Sheencolor USAWith decades of expertise in powders such as pressed, slurry, wet, multi-press, baked and loose varieties, in 2020 Sheencolor expanded its global footprint to include USA manufacturing. This expansion is part of a strategy to service clients across the global landscape in a cost-effective and time-sensitive way. The company’s Piscataway, NJ, factory has opened and will provide color cosmetic turnkey USA manufacturing.
WWP BeautyAdding to its repertoire in color, skin care, personal care, hair care, accessories, fragrance and PPE for beauty, in 2020 WWP Beauty launched its Intentional Beauty Collection, a range of products that includes color, complexion, skin, body, self-care and PPE items. The collection was “intentionally designed and developed to uplift, protect, and bring balance” and bears an emphasis on natural beauty and an overall focus on wellness.
Profile: Cosmetic Solutions Provides Better-for-You Beauty
The turnkey supplier is meeting an increasing demand for clean, organic, and sustainable beauty.The heightened interest in natural, organic and clean beauty and personal care products has prompted turnkey beauty providers to invest in new technologies that improve efficiencies needed to meet intensified demands
Cosmetic Solutions specializes in the development and value-added manufacturing of scientifically-proven, clean and naturally effective face and body care products. For nearly 30 years, the company focuses on research and development, manufacturing and delivery, creative design, packaging, and product marketing— for skin care, body care, specialty hair care, OTC and professional care formulations.
According to Warren Becker, CEO of Cosmetic Solutions, this year has been characterized by an increase in inquiries for clean and organic formulations, as well as sustainable packaging options.
“Covid put a spotlight on the wellness movement as it relates to skin care and the value of healthy skin as an investment in well-being,” he comments. “As consumers have moved away from color cosmetics, they’ve gravitated much more to skin care products that will keep their skin looking and feeling great.”
In a similar vein, Becker adds that there’s been a parallel interest in active ingredients that support skin health in the form of adaptogens and probiotics, as well as ceramides for skin barrier function and ingredients that calm and soothe the effects of constantly wearing a mask or PPE.
To meet demand, Cosmetic Solutions has spent the past year investing in its facility and manufacturing capabilities. “Some of the new, advanced machinery we have coming online in the next couple of months includes a state-of-the-art Reverse Osmosis Water System (RO), additional tanks and kettles to expand our compounding capacity, new hot fill formulation batching and filling capabilities that allow us to address the increase in marketplace demand for products in the form of sticks, balms and salves,” says Becker. “We also have a new, fully automated liquid filling line which is meant for liquid filling 1/2oz-8oz bottles, jars and airless pumps.”