‘Open development’: a new initiative from the L’Oréal Group

Already brought forward at the gala evening organized last September during the MakeUp in New York event, by Stephanie Martin Vice President of Packaging & development, recently developed by Philippe Thuvien, Packaging & Development Director, in a recent interview with PremiumBeautynews.com and echoed by Anthony Drouin, Technical Product Development Manager at MakeUp in Sao Paulo, this new initiative is undoubtedly an important milestone in the relationships that L’Oréal wishes to establish with its suppliers. Details… The globalization of markets… a competitive environment getting stronger and stronger, the need to reduce the environmental impact…,the will to conquer a billion new consumers and to be always at the forefront of innovation…, are the challenges of the Product Packaging and Development Teams of the L’Oréal Group.

As Philippe Thuvien recently recalled “the cosmetic world is facing a competitive environment, which is becoming stronger and stronger. Packaging is making beauty more easily accessible to women and men on the planet with “products answers” tailored to their needs. Our objective for the years to come is to actively contribute to the conquest of a new billion consumers by developing attractive and functional designs, visible and sustainable innovations, total quality and safety control, which are all values perceived and expected by our consumers.”

A year 2014 marked by many launches!

To note that the year 2014 was marked at L’Oréal by significant launches with innovative packagings, such as the Mascara Grandiose with a transparent cover and a straight standing rose embedded in the transparent material, a ‘Swan’s neck’ wand and its ‘wiper’ adapted to the shape and a elastomer brush for ergonomic and precision gestures. This mascara enables to achieve a balanced make-up of the two eyes, and an easy access to all lashes, from corner to corner and root to tip. To note also Maybelline’s Color Elixir, a liquid lipstick with a design recalling traditional Lipstick codes and whose performance is based on a flexible applicator with an extra-soft flocking for a controlled and precise application. While the double tube from L’Oréal Professionnel, combines a styling gel and a hair care cream in the same packaging: the challenge being to manage to deliver homogeneously and with the same quantity, two types of formulas with different viscosities. Finally Bonbon by Viktor and Rolf, with its pump bottle and a slightly pulled in neck into the wing-shaped shoulders of the bottle, a significant glass weight considering the size of the bottle, folds in the ‘wings’ that make it difficult to ‘load’ the glass into the mould and finally the lacquering of the bottle.

“Conquering a billion new consumers, explains Philippe Thuvien, means for the L’Oréal Group, developing products that meet their needs and expectations. Packaging must enable emerging markets to access to beauty, with accessible innovation meeting beauty routines and aspirations, climate and culture. Visible innovation, perceived value, and products performance will be the keys to conquer these new consumers but also to retain our existing customers.”

Stability and the container/content compatibility are key issues in the development of our new products. Packaging protects the product from external conditions (contamination, light oxidation, gas…) but its interaction with the formula must not present a risk to the stability of the product and therefore its performance. The role of our Compatibility teams is, of course, to perform tests on products, but also, to take part upstream to the packaging design stage by making recommendations on the basis of formulas characteristics, to perform risk analysis in order to move towards standard, reinforced or reduced tests, or extrapolations.

Open development: an innovative approach

“It is a ‘win-win’ partnership, we were told at L’Oréal. With our suppliers presenting us exclusive innovations in Packaging and ‘Finished Goods’. Our goal being to speed up the time to market of these innovations, we work with these partners to the delegation of their certifications.”

“The L’Oréal Group, highlights Stéphanie Martins, spends over a billion dollars annually with contract manufacturers, with a large percentage on vendor owned technology. The colour market becomes more and more fragmented with independent and developing brands. Success is achieved by these brands using ‘non-traditional’ launch processes. L’Oréal, in order to regain competitiveness, needs to break its current paradigms A key global learning is that L’Oréal can benefit from becoming more reactive to trends. A heavy focus on Quality and Efficiency has enabled a process focused environment. In the ‘Old Way’, we thought that everything had to be invented here! In the ‘New Way’, it’s better to leverage the expertise of component suppliers and sub-contractors. We need quality focused partners that we can build a pipeline with. We DO NOT want to turn them into L’Oréal, we want to leverage them in market experiences to create a better way to launch.”