Portable Particulars

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | May 28, 2010

Winning personal care packaging for 2010 is travel-friendly and features unique designs.

It’s the little things that matter in powerful packaging this year, according to industry insiders. Successful household and personal care products cater to the up-to-the-second demands of those with action-packed lifestyles. Whether it’s multi-tasking, travel-sized SKUs or trendy, eye-catching prints, colors or shapes, there is a fine line between a “must have” and a “maybe not” in the shopper’s perspective. After all, while some products end up in a cosmetics bag, rarely seen besides a quick touch-up, some SKUs are displayed on the bathroom shelf for all guests to see—reflecting the lifestyle of the consumer. Some products even take place in the recent “hauling” trend, where shoppers display their wares through YouTube videos online.


“Most shoppers are not consciously looking for qualities in the packaging for the beauty products they buy,” said Benjamin Punchard, head of global packaging research, Euromonitor International, London. “In many cases, the most important aspect is for the packaging to reflect and build upon the relationship that the consumer already has with her favorite brand. Many are loyal to one or two brands and will look for related and extension products within these brands first before exploring beyond. As such, brand recognition is of prime importance. This can be through use of color, shape, logos or a combination of aspects that come together in a recognizable way unique to that brand.”


“Today’s consumers expect exciting, surprising, high-function and fun-to-use packaging features,” added Jill McCurdy, innovation center director, Rexam, Buffalo Grove, IL. This “premiumization” in terms of technologies, functional features and decoration techniques impacts every market segment from mass to prestige, she said. It also addresses attention to detail, such as the smoothness of a pump actuation or lipstick mechanism, or the quality of a closing feature.


“In product packaging, it is necessary to have something that is appealing to the eye,” agreed Woody Pearce, head of Pearce Plastics, Inc. and Innovation Update, LLC, Pasadena, CA. According to Pearce, consumers are also looking for an assortment of injection molded plastic caps that correspond with labeling in the marketplace.Pearce Plastics also offers a unique array of jars and choices of Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors as a point-of-sale option.

Traveling concealer ‘diary’ palette from Benefit Cosmetics.

Poetry in Motion


Portability has been given a boost by a number of trends, according to Punchard of Euromonitor. The growing number of women in the workplace—a concept still gaining ground in developing countries —results in less time for use of beauty products in the home, and on-the-go application is a time-saving boon. Small sizes have also been given a boost by the airline carry-on luggage liquids restrictions that have encouraged brand owners to launch small size packages in personal care.


“These have been warmly received by many consumers who are not travelling, but like the flexibility of small sizes in enabling trials of products as well as the convenience of having small containers of a product in a number of places in addition to a main pack at home,” said Punchard.


“Today’s on-the-go consumers appreciate easily-transported mini-products, which are exact versions of the full-sized retail products they have at home,” McCurdy of Rexam told Happi.In response to the trend, her company works with customers to develop “mini-product programs” to build their brands and promote their products worldwide.


Portable packaging also needs to be lightweight, shatterproof and small enough to bring onto an airplane in your carry-on luggage (100ml or less), said Marny Bielefeldt, marketing manager of Alpha Packaging, St. Louis, MI.


“We’ve had a lot of custom projects where we’ve designed 60ml and 90ml sizes that replicate a company’s larger bottles,” she said.


As seen in the marketplace, G2 Organics, the company known for its crystal-charged nail polish removers, recently launched three hues of nail lacquers that are each sold with a “sidekick”—a miniature, portable polish vial with a brush. As G2 Organics Nail Polishes are odorless, users can carry the “sidekick” in their purse and pull it out whenever they need to unassumingly fix a chip or dent.

Another portable product trend is the mini-size daily essential, such as hair spray. Inspired by the company’s signature salon blowouts at their New York City headquarters, Blow’s newest product debut is a hair spray that is sold in a purse size for easy transport, according to the company.


“Portability is key, as people want to use their products wherever they go,” said Laurie Larkin, package development consultant, Blow. “It could be the gym or a weekend getaway. Colors and textures are fun. They create the first impression of the product before it is used.”


New nail polishes from G2 Organics offer ‘sidekicks’ for touch-ups.

Also in the hair care sector, Pravana recently rolled out its Fresh Volumizing Dry Shampoo. Natural absorbents trap and remove oils, leaving tresses fresh and replete with volume in a mini-size canister.


Pravana president Steve Goddard contends, “With the jam-packed schedules and the breakneck pace of our lives, sometimes there isn’t enough time for the conventional shampoo and styling regimen. For those days, we’ve come up with Fresh.”


Cosmetics ‘To-Go’


Novel designs for portable beauty also have hit the makeup realm. For example, Jouer Cosmetics, a collection sold exclusively at Henri Bendel and online, offers women “personalized beauty” through its color cosmetic compacts that connect to create custom makeup palettes. This unique concept of products that “click” together has generated a cult following with celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Brooke Shields and Leighton Meester, among others.


“Jouer packaging offers interlocking compacts that can be mixed, matched and attached to build a personal makeup palette,” said Christina Zilber, founder and creative director, Jouer Cosmetics, Los Angeles. “Consumers are looking for reliability, ease and practicality mixed with fun. They also want smart solutions for their beauty needs; as well as products and packaging that works well for their lifestyle.”


For those who want to perk up their pucker on the go, Twist & Pout offers a constantly-changing range of lip balm “balls” that are sold with a trademark Lip Clip that anchor the product to a key chain or handbag. Manufactured by DGL Consumer Products, Inc., Twist & Pout’s patented round packaging is refreshed in eight new prints and colors every 120 days to reflect the season at hand and the prevailing fashions of the moment, according to the company.


The transportable trend also applies to face powders and fragrances. One of the hottest debuts at Sephora this season is the Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil Mini Refillable Buffing Brush. The special-edition SKU is pre-filled with BareMinerals Original Mineral Veil for touch-ups on the go. The brush contains a locking mechanism that prevents leakage—but is also refillable with the brand’s complexion products.


Sephora is also stocking a limited edition Stella by Stella McCartney fragrance necklace this season. Tucked away in a round locket stamped with the Stella McCartney logo, this embellished item allows for a discreet dab of perfume anytime, anywhere.


Pretty Please


The use of color and texture combinations in packaging can enhance the emotional response that the brand owner is trying to associate with its products. Is it bold and sassy? Deep and alluring? Rich and opulent?


According to Punchard of Euromonitor, using unique prints, hues and surfaces is a continuation of the consumers’ desire to have the products they buy increasingly reflect the lifestyle that they wish to project for themselves.


Textured packaging also provides a practical benefit if you are reaching into a purse looking for a particular beauty product, as “when you feel the one with a unique texture on it, you know you’ve found the item you were looking for,” noted Bielefeldt of Alpha Packaging.

As for decoration and embellishments, McCurdy of Rexam noted that marketers wish to communicate a certain “fun factor” through prints, colors and textures—especially with brands targeting a more junior audience. This follows a similar fashion in jewelry and mobile phone accessories. Embellishments enhance the link with the fashion house and distinguish the package.


For example, this trend is seen in Rexam’s colorful closures for the Pucci Vivara fragrance. Another key example is Rexam’s new collection of Glossy Days lipgloss applicators, which offers bold new shapes and textures that completely shatter the old-school thinking that dominated this product category for years, according to McCurdy at Rexam.


On the marketer’s side of the business, drug store hair care brand göt2b revamped its packaging this season. All products now all have a “unified, modern” look, according to the company. Each mousse and spray has a similar shape and look, no matter the variation, so that the brand is instantly recognizable. Also, each SKU is now packaged in brushed silver canisters for a more unified effect.


Noah’s Naturals also recently got a makeover. The “eco-luxe” mass market natural beauty brand traded in its familiar green-and-amber packaging for a modern new look, which boasts shades of purple and gold with a floral motif throughout its entire line of products.


“We wanted to shake up the natural space by creating beautiful, prestige-inspired packaging,” said Noah’s Naturals founder Noah Bremen. “Our goal with this repackaging initiative is to make Noah’s Naturals appeal to the masses, rather than just the traditional natural products consumer.”


At Pangea Organics, well known for its eco-friendly packaging, as previously reported in Happi, is rolling out a “2.0 edition” in its product exteriors with information about the brand’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The company is also breaking barriers with its new, glueless, “origami fold” box printed on recycled paper using vegetable inks. Inspired by the desire to simplify box assembly, minimize packaging waste, update its brand presence and maximize the opportunity to communicate with consumers, Pangea’s collapse-fold carton with tab locks eliminates the need for adhesive.


“Powerful packaging is packaging that maximizes real estate without building another building, so to speak,” Joshua Scott Onysko, founder and chief executive officer, Pangea Organics, Boulder, CO, told Happi in an interview.


Some brands are banking on the interests of the younger consumer, like journaling or listening to music. Consider Benefit’s new Confessions of a Concealaholic palette, a portable cosmetic kit resembling a diary. The outer packaging sleeve, which encloses the volume within, resembles a fine book cover, printed with a gold gilt title and a heart and key dangling from a ribbon. Open the “diary” to find a mirror on the left. On the right, inside the diary are five concealing cosmetic products along with step-by-step instructions on makeup application. The brand also recently released Celebutante, a “personal stylist makeup kit” of bestsellers that is printed to look like an evening bag.


Another novel cosmetic rollout this year is the Stila Makeup Player. Part makeup artist-style train case, part media player docking station with speaker system, this portable vanity provides women with the ability to listen to music by way of their cosmetics carry-all. Users download tutorials from StilaBeautyTube (on iTunes, YouTube or from Stila directly) to their mobile device and dock it into the Makeup Player.


The Shopper’s Perspective

Most suppliers and marketers are proud of the finished product, but how does its packaging fare attracting the attentions of the fickle consumer? In a recent report from Mintel, “Beauty Retailing in the U.S.,” most women say they prefer to see products displayed by brand, although more than a quarter prefer products separated by type, and nearly two in 10 like to see products categorized by price.

A full third say that they find most packaging hard to open without scissors or a knife. Retailers should really consider packaging products that can fulfill the security issues (nothing too small) but also provide easy access (i.e. does not require a box cutter to obtain the contents). Customers are more likely to appreciate the packaging efficacy above aesthetics, especially more mature customers, according to the report.

Three in 10 say that they find the packaging far too large for the products they contain. Nearly three in 10 find the ingredients list difficult to read, and again, as women age, they are more likely to report this. Nearly two in 10 look for eco-friendly packaging, although women aged 55 and older are significantly less likely to go green in this format.

More info: www.mintel.com

Prospects in Packaging


So, what does the future hold for the burgeoning packaging industry? According to McCurdy of Rexam, powerful packaging depends upon the ability—and willingness—of the supplier to work in collaboration with the brand owner, to develop solutions that offer flawless, easy and fun operation for the life of the product.


“It is the end-result of a dedication to excellence, and the understanding and appreciation of brand fundamentals and core values. So we see more collaboration on solution development between suppliers and customers.”


McCurdy also added that premiumization will continue to be a big trend in the mass, masstige and prestige markets.


Further personalization will also remain a driver in 2011, noted Punchard of Euromonitor International, as consumers want to feel the product is “just for them.”


“This will boost sales of specialty and bespoke packaging solutions that will stand out on the shelf against the more commonplace tubes, jars and bottles,” he told Happi.


Larkin of Blow noted that ultimately, the devil is in the details of proper packaging—making or breaking the final sale.


“I think it depends on the product,” she said. “Fragrances are always expected to be eye catching and have more embellishments in the packaging, as it is the first impression of scent. Personal care should be simpler, easy to use but attractive in shape and color so that it looks good on vanities.


“And, of course, the customer will be expecting value. During the recovery of this economic environment the purchases will be more deliberate.”

Related End-User Markets:

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