• Deanna Utroske

Notes on Luxury Wellness Packaging

Wellness is one of newest beauty categories and it already intersects with cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance at every tier of the marketplace. But “luxury design as usual” doesn’t always apply to wellness and well beauty as readily as it does to conventional products. The sensibility of wellness calls for a fresh approach to both primary and secondary packaging.


What an exhilarating month May was!

I spoke at 3 very different events about 3 very different—and very timely—beauty topics last month: about what the industry can learn from independent beauty brands in a fireside chat at the NYSCC Suppliers’ Day trade show in New York City; about beauty and the human microbiome at the AIRS International Conference on Genomics and Microbiomics in Barcelona, Spain; and for this year’s Luxe Pack New York event, I had the opportunity to develop and moderate a panel discussion on Luxury Wellness Packaging.

Leaders from Well Within, Aba Love Apothecary, and LOLI Beauty joined me on stage at Luxe Pack New York and shared wonderful insights into how indie brands like theirs are delineating this new beauty category and into what luxury wellness packaging design actually is. To open the panel, titled, Bottled Beauty: designing luxury wellness packaging for niche brands, I gave a version on the following remarks:

Wellness is one of newest beauty categories and it already intersects with cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance at every tier of the marketplace. But “luxury design as usual” doesn’t always apply to wellness and well beauty as readily as it does to conventional products. The sensibility of wellness calls for a fresh approach to both primary and secondary packaging.

From my vantage point, as Editor of the business news website CosmeticsDesign.com, I’ve seen wellness become increasingly important over the past few years. And while most of the basic categories fit in the wellness space (skin care, sun care, body care, etc.), a lot of the newer sub-segments in the industry fit here too: categories like sleep care; muscle care; beauty-from-within products like supplements and mix-in drink powders, but also teas and tea-based hair care and skin care. Right now, of course, cannabis and CBD have a place in every beauty category—so there is cannabis beauty in the luxury wellness space. And there are devices and tools in wellness: this article is about some unexpected beauty tools, like a copper tongue scraper from Black Chicken Remedies and singing bowls from a brand called Sound Self Care that are both selling to the well-beauty consumer.

Follow the money

Notably, investors are focusing on the wellness market. And I’m seeing luxury wellness influencing ingredient innovation. At this year’s NYSCC Suppliers’ Day event I spoke with a skin care ingredient maker, for instance, innovating for the boho-chic end consumer—that’s our luxury wellness consumer. So not only are shoppers excited about luxury wellness products, but investors and ingredient makers are getting in on it too, which means it’s a trend that’s not going away any time soon.

Listen to founders

To think further about what wellness is and understand at some of the packaging that’s successful in the space, I highlighted a handful of brands that were not represented on the panel that I moderated.

As soon as I learned about a new brand called Bija Essence (featured in the photo at the top of this item), I knew it should be included in our discussion of luxury wellness packaging. This is a brand that all about “bringing back the power of touch.” Evelyn Subramaniam, the brand’s founder, describes Bija Essence as being “responsibly luxurious, beautiful, environmentally conscious, sustainable, recyclable, and caring.”

If you just heard those words without seeing the packaging or experiencing the product, you might imagine a very green sort of beauty brand—but this is so much more; this is luxury wellness! So I asked Evelyn to help me define both of those terms: ‘luxury’ and ‘wellness’. For Bija Essence, she told me that luxury means “possessing elegance, beauty, power, and quality.” And wellness, for this brand, is about “daily healthy rituals that promote a healthier body, mind, and spirit for yourself and for those you love.” (See there how she talks about the power of touch without referencing the act of touch.)

Another interesting instance of luxury wellness is a line of products from CAP beauty: The O’Clocks, as they are called—because they are meant to be used at 8am, 4pm, and 10pm—are adaptogenic blends, herbal supplements really, that can be mixed in to teas, smoothies, or water.

Like I said earlier, some cannabis beauty products fit in the luxury wellness space, the CBD serum from Saint Jane is a good example. Sleep is certainly a wellness commodity in today’s marketplace; so products like Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil fits in neatly with luxury wellness. And as a final example, the brand called A State of Energy (one of the newer projects from beauty entrepreneur Jennifer Walsh) is all about the energy and benefits of the natural world. And the brand’s crystal mixes have been featured at in-store events with luxury and wellness retailers like Lord & Taylor and Athleta.

Learn by example

So if I had to generalize about packaging design in the luxury wellness category, I’d say that there is a lot of recyclable glass and a design sensibility that’s a little bit mid-century modern—more artistic than it is opulent. Luxury wellness is often about human connection (as we saw with Bija Essence) and about a connection with the natural world (which A State of Energy is a good example of), and it’s about connecting with yourself (so sleep products fit as do the herbal blends from CAP Beauty).

Of course, the panelists stole the show at Luxe Pack! And while I don’t have a transcript of their remarks to paste in here, I strongly recommend that you take time to visit their websites and get acquainted with the work of these luxury wellness brand innovators.

To see the holistic lifestyle and skin care brand that Renee Tavoularis and Lynne Florio have created, visit WELL WITHIN BEAUTY.

To find out about the gorgeous skin care brand with aromatherapy benefits that Aba Gyepi-Garbrah has built, visit Aba Love Apothecary.

And to get to know Tina Hedges’ LOLI Beauty, a zero-waste skin care brand making products with food-grade organic ingredients, go to LOLI Beauty.

Wait, there’s more

Lauren Golik, Art Director at Bartlett Brands, was also meant to join our panel discussion at this year’s Luxe Pack New York. And while she wasn’t able to attend in person, Lauren did send along some great notes via email. Her notes not only bettered our discussion but also added to my understanding of how important firms like Bartlett Brands are in helping brands navigate and thrive in the luxury wellness category—which is all to say that you should visit the Barlett Brands site to find out about the work this boutique branding agency does to help clients with strategy, branding, marketing, and of course design.

And, if you’re curious to learn even more about the luxury wellness category and how it intersects with cosmetics, personal care, fragrance, and all things beauty, I’ve complied a quick list of links to articles and videos I’ve created for Cosmetics Design in recent months that include insights from and about brands actively carving out this new beauty business niche.

  • Panelists Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis and their brand Planted in Beauty by Well Within are featured on my weekly Indie Beauty Profile column here.

  • Insights from Aba Gyepi-Garbrah, of Aba Love Apothecary, can be found in this video.

  • Panelist Tina Hedges and her brand LOLI Beauty are featured on my weekly Indie Beauty Profile column here.

  • An article called The Beauty Industry’s Stake in Worldwide Wellness is here.

  • A recent article asking and answering the question, Does feminine care belong in beauty? is here.

  • My interview with Adi Arezzini of a tea and skin care brand called Teami Blends is here.

  • Here is What you missed at CEW’s ‘future of cannabis in beauty’ event.

  • My interview with Caroline Hadfield about her work on the Biossance brand is here.

  • Julia Albee, beauty buyer and co-owner of the design shop Prevalent Projects, shared her insights on well beauty brands that fit in the lifestyle space for this article.

  • This item considers the modern-day skin care routine.

  • And here, I wrote about Supergoop’s first pop-up shop, which was all about consumer education on SPF and skin wellness.

 

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