AN IPL PERSPECTIVE - Surviving The Supply Chain ‘Storm’

Enormous pressures on the worldwide supply chain have done little to ease over the past few weeks. Frustratingly, more than 18 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the vast global network of ports, container vessels and trucking companies transporting goods around the world remains agonisingly stretched.

A Sea Change

The unprecedented global supply-chain disruption is spurring severe shortages in consumer products and forcing companies to contend with heavily increased shipping costs, all as brands push towards a decidedly critical year-end shopping season.

“The system has been unable to withstand the shocks it has been plagued by: the major port closures (due to Covid outbreaks) in China, labour shortages hampering destination maneuvers and customs processes, container misplacement, weather disruptions such as hurricanes, and now, insufficient vessel capacity due to high seasonal demand,” says Faizal Kassim, Director of Operations for global packaging supplier, IPL Packaging.

“Whilst Chinese manufacturers are pumping out record volumes of freight containers after shippers ordered vast stacks of the steel boxes in an attempt to smooth out disruptions in the global supply chain, shipping executives are warning it will do little to ease the global ocean freight and supply problems,” he explains.

“Supply chain strategies have undergone a sea change from ‘just-in-time,’ with an emphasis on inventory reduction, to building more resilient supply chains better geared to withstand shocks,” says Kassim. “Though of course there are financial implications to stockpiling that are adding to the pressure of increased freight charges.”

Could the fragile system be upset further?

“Whilst the remarkable speed with which vaccines have been brought to market should help bring the pandemic and it’s ramifications under control, the risks are still on the rise. Across the globe, vaccination uptake will continue to impact how the system absorbs any further shocks.”

“Factors such as future Covid and Covid variant outbreaks, and to what extent China and other major port nations are required to impose tough regulations to protect their populations, remains another critical factor,” he states.

“Major weather events are also growing in severity and frequency and the longer-term challenges of climate change will require a dynamic, end-to-end approach to managing supply chain risk,” says Kassim.

“Added to this, Covid lockdowns have caused mismatches in supply and demand that will take time to find equilibrium. This because, with so many people working from home, consumers who traditionally spent their disposable income on services such as leisure, entertainment and tourism are now spending money on ‘hard goods’ and setting up their homes as secondary offices.”

Positive Perspectives

“Nevertheless, 2021 has been a force for change, and not all of that change has been negative,” he states. “The positives include enhanced due diligence, mapping processes and the forging of significantly closer relationships with clients and suppliers.“

“The past 18 months have also engendered higher degrees of collaboration," states Kassim. "Before Covid-19, dealings with logistics providers were of a predominantly transactional nature, but this has completely changed. Pricing has been relegated to just one aspect of the undertaking, with the emphasis now on developing solutions."

“The situation has called for improved planning, increased communication and greater transparency with logistics partners,” explains Kassim. “We’re now strongly focused on shipping efficiency. We're leveraging off our decades-long relationships with logistics partners and ensuring we keep our agents in the loop. This allows us to make preparations for the next vessel into China and ensure adequate space is secured.”

“With supply chain issues affecting many a brand’s balance sheet, senior management is now typically more engaged with these issues than ever before,” notes Kassim. “This elevated level of interest can – and should – remain,” he stresses. “Supply chain strategies will need a sea change from “just-in-time” (with an emphasis on cost reduction), to forging more resilient supply chains geared to withstand shocks but balance inventory costs.”

Diversifying Supply

“Forging and building on our relationships with local European production partners and partners ‘closer to home’ now seems ever critical,” says Christiana Delahaye, IPL’s Senior Purchasing Manager for Europe. “Now more than ever, a dynamic supply chain can ensure clients are better positioned to deal with future global disruptions.”

“At IPL we’ve a number of partner factories in Eastern Europe with small productions already underway,” she says. “Eastern European suppliers are seeing the opportunity presented by the current global situation and are certainly gearing up. Most are unable to absorb the large production volumes required at this point in time, but are motivated to do so for the future.”

“Railage is certain to be a growing trend. The European network is fairly sound but will need to be better maintained and renewed for increased capacity, especially in Eastern Europe,” she explains. “Currently, there are delay issues between the UK and the EU due to Brexit and the implementation of new customs regulations. We trust forwarders in Eastern Europe will work hard to adjust the situation in the future.”

“We expect shipping rates to remain high until February 2022, and then anticipate a significant drop in rates, but not to the historic lows they have been over the previous five years,” says Kassim. “At IPL we remain encouraged by the various governments' scrutiny of these increased freight rates, both in Europe and the USA as well as China.”

“We’re also guaranteed to see a diversification of supply bases amongst many producers, though not a mass migration from one to another. It is prudent not to engage in knee-jerk reactions, especially as the situation is bound to rectify itself over time,” says Kassim. “We've all learnt significant lessons over the past few months. We just have to ensure the lessons learnt are not forgotten.”

IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to gain insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our news section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


This year, Aber Falls Distillery partnered with IPL Packaging to create a sustainable pack for its new whisky; a pack that would ideally complement the Welsh distillery’s heritage and brand story.

James Wright, managing director at Aber Falls Whisky Distillery, said, “We’re a distillery that proudly produces 100% Welsh whisky, capturing the Welsh craft and heritage in every bottle."

“As a result, our products are extremely sustainable, enabling us to benefit Wales at every stage of production. This  includes returning any waste ingredients to local farms for use as fertiliser or cattle feed.”

“They are crafted using 100% Welsh malted barley and rock-filtered water taken from the Aber Falls Waterfall and are crafted by a team of local people.”

A Partnership to Power Sustainable Packaging

Motivated to develop a signature, eco-friendly packaging solution, the Aber Falls NPD team worked in collaboration with the IPL Design team to create a fully collapsible premium drinks pack.

Sustainable materials and processes involved in the design of the pack included:

  • A rigid board structure wrapped in recycled, uncoated craft paper.
  • An integrated push-fit buckle closure (eliminating reliance on magnets or metal fasteners).
  • Minimal colour and print application achieved through food-grade soybean ink and embossing.
  • A fold-over sidewall, base and top fitment structure (removing the need for glue and fasteners to hold the structure together).
  • Water-soluble glue used in the lamination of the paper wrap.
Collapsible, Flat Packable, Sustainable Packaging

The striking result marries functional design with quality, enhances the brand story and ultimately, delivers innovative, planet-friendly spirit packaging for the 21st century.

PART TWO: Ingredients for Creating Greater Brand Value through Packaging

In this second article in our series we address how luxury packaging promotes brand value through its ability to:

  • Use colour to better identify with the brand, target market and location
  • Enhance brand value through sustainable materials & processes, where appropriate
  • Travel well for e-commerce
  • Promote secondary use

Colour to Enhance Packaging Success

The clear connection between colour preference and consumer behaviour underlies the importance of colour selection when boosting brand value and appealing to specific target markets.

The colour of the packaging should subconsciously communicate the message you want to send buyers. Do you want them to think about the product as comforting or fun? Is the product related to wellness or security? Does it evoke a sense of luxury or sophistication? For example, Apple’s classic white colour makes it appear premium. Cadbury’s purple makes it appear regal.

When a brand’s target market includes different cultures we need to understand that their associations with colour can be vastly different to ours.


In Asia, for example, red is the colour of summer, good luck, joy, good fortune and fertility. It is the traditional colour for a wedding dress. Red also has a very strong connection with Communist China.

In Africa red is the colour that chiefs in Nigeria wear but is also very strongly associated with death and bloodshed. In countries like Ghana it is worn while in mourning and in Madagascar it is used for burial cloths.

Studies of western consumer preferences indicate that blue is by far the most liked colour, notwithstanding the age. If you are targeting children, avoid red - your packaging design should mostly be green and blueish.

Teenagers and younger consumers are prone to like purple, which can be a nice novelty in packaging design. Choosing black will also appeal to younger people.


Blue, green and black are good choices for masculine brands. Women like blue too, but purple, pink, red and green are also sound choices when looking to create feminine-friendly packaging.

While experimenting is great, when it comes to packaging a new product, maintaining colour consistency and brand identity remains key.

Consumers should be able to recognise a particular brand no matter what the packaging or colours. Consistency can also be maintained through tint and shade.

Boosting Brand Value through Sustainability

Sustainable packaging design is now not only seen as critical to the circular economy but just as vital to the consumer. According to a recent study, sustainability-marketed products are now growing faster than their conventional counterparts: a clear indication that consumers are becoming increasingly loyal to eco-friendly, sustainable brands.

The fact is, sustainability has become ever more critical to the way the general public makes purchasing decisions. Brands and packaging designers are also now fast producing more environmentally-friendly products that more positively impact planet and perceptions.

There are also now numerous ways to incorporate sustainability into a brandpackaging design and production, and simultaneously boost brand value and perception in the eyes of the new eco-conscious consumer.

Packaging can, for example:

  • be constructed of sustainable, recyclable and/or biodegradable materials such as unbleached paperboard, kraft paper, metal, glass or plant-based packaging materials from biological sources - such as seaweed, corn, mushrooms, and food waste.
  • include a note encouraging buyers to recycle the product - and highlight the crucial role of recycling packaging in protecting the environment.
  • consider water-soluble and biodegradable inks and glues and employ more eco-friendly fitments (such as biodegradable alternatives to plastic vac trays)
  • be flat-packable or collapsible to be more space-efficient for transport
  • employ transport and shipping options with the smallest carbon footprints

Brands that choose more eco-friendly packaging alternatives - and work with packaging suppliers that value sustainability  - demonstrate they are prioritising the planet, strengthening their brand’s eco-friendly credibility and positively impacting their brand image.

Traveling well for e-commerce

Today, E-commerce packaging is a marketing tool in its own right – embodying the brand, helping it to stand out in a crowded market and delivering a memorable experience to consumers.

Even in the e-commerce context, best-practices for packaging design remain similar.

The packaging design should always communicate the function of the product or service and show how the product fulfills a need, even if only the need to satisfy aesthetic taste.

Material efficiency is also key. The physical mess of leftover waste can harm any brand image. So too, utilising quality packaging materials can ensure that the product not only actually arrives safely, but also presents the impression that it has arrived securely to prevent any dissatisfaction.

Logistical issues are another critical factor when shipping products to meet online demand. It’s therefore important to partner with a supplier that knows the specifics of your online distribution process and that designs and produces packaging with due consideration for the transportation methods used.

Secondary Use

The notion of incorporating a secondary function into package design can also deliver a significant added value component.

Beautiful and innovative packaging is generally not discarded by the consumer after purchase. Designing packaging that is attractive or useful enough to be retained to house something else gives it added value.


Secondary packaging can support reuse when designed as a keepsake, with removable inner fitments, or an ornamental feel that looks to promote secondary use (such as the ones produced for French Fragrance brand, Ex Nihlio) as a bespoke jewelry box, for example.

“Creating packaging for ‘reuse’ and giving it a purpose beyond the primary enables the brand to live on beyond the point of purchase-  ultimately creating a greater sense of value,” says LB Odendaal, Head of Design at IPL.

Glengoyne wins Green Packaging Award

Scotch whisky brand and IPL Packaging customer, Glengoyne, won the 2020 Green Packaging Award for the spirits category at The Drinks Business Green Awards. Their structure and design actively promotes reuse rather than recycling.

The judges remarked on the second-use ability of the prestige 25YO and 30YO whisky packaging as something never seen before: The set of beautifully crafted wooden boxes feature personalisable plaques, peelable labels and removable inner fitments.

These factors enable their use as debranded, luxury storage cabinets once the whiskies inside have been savoured to their very last drop.


PART ONE: Ingredients for Creating Greater Brand Value through Packaging

From higher quality materials, to innovations in design and manufacturing technologies, one of the most effective areas to create greater brand value is undoubtedly in the packaging of the product itself.

“It goes without saying that, with the right packaging, a product can add brand value,” says LB Odendaal, Head of Innovation and Design at IPL Packaging. “Whilst this may seem obvious, it illustrates the importance of brands and companies in taking time to focus on the quality, composition and functionality of their packaging.

"In many instances it can also translate into the consumer perceiving a product they may never have used as valuable.”

“This value can be achieved through how the packaging is designed, put together and, in the instance of e-commerce, how it arrives at their doorstep. Now too, with the rapid growth in online shopping, enhancing a product’s value through packaging can be one of the easiest ways to bolster success,” he says.

Packaging’s roles can seem fairly evident but it’s important that, in the luxury sector in particular, packaging solutions look to address the following ingredients when seeking to promote brand value.

@ iplpackaging

Below, in PART ONE, we address how luxury packaging can:

• Build and enhance the brand story
• Display the product in an innovative way
• Capitalise on the unboxing experience

In PART TWO, coming next, we’ll then address how packaging can:

• Use colour to better identify with the brand, target market and location
• Enhance brand value through sustainable materials & processes (where appropriate)
• Travel well for e-commerce
• Promote secondary use

Build on the Brand Story

Almost everything we encounter in life tells a story; an inscription in a book, a medal in your grandfather’s drawer, even an old concert ticket. These objects all have a story to tell - and packaging is no different!

You don’t need to tell your brand’s story through words. Colour, shape, size and visual cues can paint a picture worth a thousand words and evoke positive feelings or perceptions.

For the Bowmore 30YO Single Malt, IPL Packaging produced a packaging solution inspired by Islay’s diverse coastal landscape - and the essence of the whisky itself.

@ David Turfitt

Taking inspiration from the terrain that surrounds the Islay distillery, with cues from the detailed markings on driftwood and whisky casks to the refined polish of sea glass, the packaging solution is in perfect congruence with Bowmore’s ‘The Art of Time’ campaign.

Combining the naturally weathered look of wood with an oceanic-toned side panel reminiscent of sea glass, the packaging reflects how natural elements work in harmony with one another to shape complexity and richness of character. It reinforces the story of how Bowmore whiskies benefit from the power of time, becoming more beautiful and precious over the years.

Display the Product in an Innovative Way

Adopting an ‘outside-the-box’ thinking approach to packaging can lead to discovering new and innovative ways to display your product or encouraging customers to engage with it.

A good place to start is with the type of product or industry a product is in. In the fragrance industry, brands are often limited by crowded shelf-space but this can be overcome by clever design thinking.”

For several iterations of DKNY’s 3-pack travel-ready, rollerball fragrances, the IPL Design team created compact rigid board boxes – with an acetate window and easy to use press-release vac tray providing an easel-like display of the fragrances.

@ iplpackaging

These simple yet effective packaging display solutions for DKNY enable consumers to optimally engage with the product, both when the pack is open and when it’s closed. It also allows the products to stand out in a category acknowledged as difficult to display.

Capitalise on the Unboxing Experience

Choosing fun, exciting, and experience-enhancing packaging fitments and materials is a great way for a brand to show their value - without the product even having left the box yet!

In this way, today’s product unveiling and unwrapping experience plays a vital role in creating strong brands. Just look at the growth of the unboxing video craze!

However, whether your brand is featured in an unboxing video is not always relevant. What’s more important is that the phenomenon has raised consumer expectations of what the packaging and unwrapping experience should be. Now that the bar is raised, product packaging needs to live up to these new standards.

@ iplpackaging

A packaging product, produced by IPL Packaging for Ark Crystal’s is an example of a memorable and interactive unboxing experience. Here the client design was interpreted into a striking hexagonal pendant box complete with walnut veneered lid and base panels and three-layer unboxing experience.

A removable inner fitment inner fitment elegantly transforms into a display mechanism that glorifies the pendant itself, prolongs the joy of the unwrapping experience - and perfectly ‘heroes’ the item of jewellery contained within it.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! …Luxury brands CAN balance consumer preferences AND brand needs through packaging.

Luxury consumers are today demanding products that help them adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. However, these same consumers continue to seek the delight and added value that luxury packaging provides.

Navigating new courses

Demands on brands and businesses are growing as consumers pay more and more attention to the environmental effect of what they buy and how it is packaged. This awareness increased during national lockdowns as consumers had more time to contemplate the effects of their choices. Even before lockdowns, however, the ‘Greta Thunberg effect’ was driving individuals and businesses towards carbon offsetting and more climate-friendly choices.


Many luxury brands have therefore found themselves at a crossroads. They’re under increased pressure to use eco-friendly packaging, in large part due to greater consumer awareness around the environmental impact of the goods they purchase. A challenge forluxury brands is finding the balance between their aspirations to meet new sustainability demands with the need to retain their vital brand image.

Luxury packaging treading the tightrope between demands

”The route to these wins is not necessarily complicated,” says LB Odendaal, Head of Innovation and Design at IPL Packaging. “Luxury brands looking to ‘go green’ now have an increasing variety of sustainable packing solutions to choose from,” he says.


“Gucci, for example, has been using recycled cardboard for its boxes since 2010 without any perceived lowering of it’s brand status. Likewise Champagne producer Dom Perignon now uses recyclable, biodegradable cardboard packaging.”

“Many of these luxury brands traditionally used plastics and other luxurious (though not eco-friendly) packaging materials to convey the exclusive appearance or opulent feelings the products promise and promote,” he continues.

“Now, luxury brands are, instead, embracing the challenge of transitioning toward sustainable packaging,” says Odendaal. “For some, its positive incremental changes, for others more stringent targets are set. For example, PVH - owner of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and other famous brands - is working toward its goal of 100% sustainably and ethically sourced packaging by 2025.”

New innovations, new material choices


“At IPL, we are finding new technologies and efficiencies that will still allow for that premium feel, but with fully recyclable and plastic-free properties,’ he continues. “Molded pulp is adaptable and biodegradable and gaining traction with luxury brands. Many plant-based alternatives to leather, for example, do not diminish the luxury aesthetic at all.”


“As the move towards fully plastic-free gains momentum, we’re witnessing decreased demand for plastic fitments and vac trays, and have an expanding toolbox of recyclable and readily available materials.”

“ Micro-fibrillated cellulose - made of plant waste and stiffer yet lighter than carbon fiber or glass - makes packaging stronger and creates an oxygen and moisture barrier.

In addition to new and sustainable material sourcing, we‘re also increasingly utilising soy and water-based inks and glues, reducing and refining closures and fitments. This helps to eliminate the use of plastic fasteners or magnets.

Maximising Metal

“Many companies are now also maximising the use of metal in their products,” comments Odendaal.

“Metal's low carbon footprint is derived from its high recyclability rate. It has the potential to be recycled an infinite number of times without molecular degradation or loss of structural integrity. Metal and tin is a great option for many premium brands as it help to convey an exclusive look and feel.

Attaining Eco-Credibility

The green packaging industry is forecast to reach a value of more than $440 billion by 2025, according to consulting firm Research and Markets. “Both increased market demand as more brands adopt sustainability to meet consumer preferences — and a surge in innovative technologies and are materials fueling this growth,” says Odendaal.

“As brands become more and more aware of the social and environmental impact of their messaging and adapt to new demands, so this also requires thought and understanding in brand application and messaging from a packaging design point of view,” he says. “It’s an entirely holistic process.”

“One thing is certain,” he concludes. “As a luxury brand, sustainable packaging is an indispensable part of attracting customers and maintaining brand reputation."

"With the right approach, materials, and design and packaging partner it’s possible to create luxury packaging solutions that assist in meeting consumer desires, are environmentally responsible and make supply chains and shipping more economical.”



cosmetic packaging

In the highly competitive cosmetics industry, no brand can afford to be complacent and take brand loyalty for granted. Not all products are 'hits' simply because they carry a specific name, or are heavily promoted through expensive media or brand advocates.

Product performance itself is, of course, critical, but a good percentage of people also judge beauty products on appearance and ‘speed up’ their decision-making based on their impression of the packaging.

Cosmetics packaging, as with most packaging in general, should function to protect, promote, inform and sell, though there’s also a great onus on the packaging to attract customers, stand out on crowded store shelves and and convey beauty in digital spaces.

But as a brand how do you accomplish that when, as the saying goes, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’?



We generally think of the graphic design aspects of packaging as the attractive elements but there’s a lot to be said for the overall structure.

Pack structure should be highly functional (enabling ease of use), sleek and also limit negative space.

A prominent logo, great brand detailing and a good surface treatment on packaging go a long way to selling a brand, but the right physical design complements the decorative effects with sleekness and precision.  Ultimately it’s important that everything should fit neatly, with limited negative space also indicating a level of attention to the product as a whole.


Decorative effects should elevate the brand and catch the consumer’s eye. These should also help the brand’s message to be communicated loudly and clearly - whether that message is to promote elegance, speak to sustainable efforts, or appeal to a particular demographic or target market.

But, there’s also balance to be achieved when it comes to decorative effects.  One of the worst packaging errors is ‘design overkill’, such as a dark coloured font over multiple colours or white font over a light, busy background. Just as it's important to push creative boundaries, so a degree of restraint is also key.

A strong design element can leave a stronger impression than several, especially when combined with the right choice of packaging material and/or surface treatment. This, combined with the trend towards natural, sustainable products and ingredients is one of the reasons many brands are moving to simple, more minimalistic designs.



Heavy investment in innovation for packaging products is an essential characteristic of the market. Alongside the demand for eco-friendly packaging materials and processes, the packaging of cosmetic products requires high-performance materials that function as a barrier to the outer environment.

As a global packaging supplier, we place great focus on the exploration and development of new packaging materials with sustainable qualities and the desired functionalities that help to drive market growth. Materials such as thermoformed paper pulp, bioplastics, cork and recycled papers.

The development of new materials that can fulfill desired functions could open new opportunities for brands, and for us in the packaging industry.  Ultimately too, changes in packaging can expand a customer base by capturing new market segments and influencing shopping behavior.



The packaging of a beauty product forms a huge part of building brand awareness. A combination of design elements speak to the specific brand, help differentiate products on crowded shelves and create a memorable identity.

Overall, it's often the packaging design that stays in people's minds up to the point of purchase - and then the actual product begins to shape brand recognition.

The most powerful aspect of cosmetic packaging is that it needs to communicate to consumers why a product is unique. It should instantly tell a target audience what the brand or product is about and what it means to them.

In this way the packaging is a vital way to retain loyal customers as well as inspire new ones.

It starts with having clear goals from the beginning - and working with an experienced packaging partner who can deliver a solution ideally suited to your brand.


With advances in eco-friendly packaging, luxury fragrance brands are now increasingly able to deliver positive impact through improved design, renewable energy usage, streamlined manufacturing processes and innovative ways of replenishing used resources.

At a time when so many perfume manufacturers are reviewing the methods and ingredients of fragrances themselves, so the containers and the layers of packaging of these fragrances are evolving to meet the changing sustainability requirements of the industry and consumers.

So what exactly makes a perfume sustainable?

Well, good fragrance eco-credentials typically entail some of the following:

  • All-natural, renewable, compostable or biodegradable ingredients
  • An ethical supply chain
  • Minimally polluting manufacturing processes
  • Refillable or recyclable bottles
  • Sustainable, eco-conscious packaging
  • A positive social impact


dynamic supply chain

When you consider all of the above, it is not surprising that, in many respects, the beauty and fragrance industries have encountered significant difficulties when trying to secure quantities of higher quality sustainable materials over the past few years. Factors such as cost-effectiveness and speed-to-market have made the development of fully sustainable packaging a daunting task for many brands. Consequently, L’Oreal and Loop industries signed a multi-year agreement to purchase PET resin manufactured from 100% recycled materials in order to satisfy its packaging needs over the next several years.

“There are many factors for these big-name brands to consider and, for smaller brands that are often focussed on creating wonderful fragrances, the design and manufacture of secondary packaging that can meet all of these criteria, is often a daunting task,” says Jason Roberts, Senior Business Development Manager at IPL Packaging.

“Ultimately though, most fragrance manufacturers seem to understand that its important to also look at sustainability as a whole rather than just assessing a finished product itself,” he says.  “In this way it’s often a good idea to turn to a packaging supplier that offers a full-service solution and that can address sustainability in all the key elements – taking into consideration packaging design, materials, manufacture, transportation, logistics – whilst maintaining their focus on the “3 R’s” – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” he continues. “Through our membership of The Fragrance Foundation UK, we’re able to work closely with brands that need advice on sustainable engineering, materials and CSR considerations, right through the supply chain.”


The concept of reuse has become a prominent one across the fragrance landscape in particular. Lancôme’s Idôle EDP made waves when it launched as the brand’s first refillable fragrance in 2019. Once the scent is used up, the empty glass container can be taken to a Lancôme counter to be replenished at a discounted price (there are at least 200 refill counters across the UK). Also offering refills are Thierry Mugler; Viktor & Rolf, Molton Brown (for its 100ml EDTs and EDPs) and Guerlain, as well as select Chanel and Armani fragrances - amongst a growing list of others.

fragrance packaging
@ Juliettehasagun

Refilling is certainly one way in which fragrance containers are living on. What's more, the great thing about perfume refills (aside from the obvious environmental benefits) is tthat the containers are often so beautiful. This means that, rather than manufacturing and buying the same bottle over and over, consumers get to keep their favourite perfume bottle – and also save on cost. Secondary packaging, such as luxury fragrance boxes, can support reuse when designed as a keepsake (along with removable inner fitments) or with an ornamental feel that looks to promote secondary use.

“The notion of incorporating a secondary function into package design can also deliver a significant added value component for the brand,” states Head of Design at IPL, LB Odendaal.  “By creating packaging for ‘reuse’ and giving it a purpose beyond the original, primary use we’re enabling the brand to live on beyond the point of purchase.”

As with other industries, fragrance brands need to look to create sustainable value throughout the value chain. “Whatever the sector, the approach to process and design in packaging should be built around efficiency, and the fragrance industry is no different,” continues Odendaal. “This means: simplify wherever possible; utilise the most effective, eco-friendly materials possible; minimise the impact on the environment; always strive to be true to the brand values; and never forget the benefit to the end-user.”

@ & IPL Packaging

“Similarly, when it comes to transport, attempt to optimise container utilisation by favouring flat-packaging or part assembly,” he says. “In this way, at IPL we can ship directly to any market in the world, produce closest to the destination and select the transport option with the smallest carbon footprint for each delivery.”

Groen packaging by IPL


Creating the desired emotional connection with the consumer is one of the critical goals brands need to achieve in order to attract consumers for initial and, more importantly, repeat purchases. For beauty and cosmetic purchases, key attributes that engage the consumer are perceived value, performance and style. But how can these factors be supported and advanced by effective packaging solutions?

Enhanced value through packaging 

“Along with the quality and reputation of the beauty or cosmetics product itself, packaging is critical to the perceived value of the product and the buyer’s brand perception,” says Jason Roberts, Business Development Manager, UK at IPL Packaging. “Very often the initial engagement with the product (enhanced by the packaging and its visual appearance) is critical to determining whether a consumer makes a purchase or not.” 

“This means that the outer, secondary packaging needs to be ‘on brand’ and reinforce confidence in the core product. When our packaging designers are able to work with detailed brand guidelines, it allows for more creativity in the packaging design process with the packaging more likely to enhance the core product as intended and attract the intended consumers at the point of sale, or digitally - as is now often the case,” says LB Odendaal, Head of Design at IPL. “If the guidelines are not as detailed as they could be, it might be prudent to relook at these before launching into the actual packaging design process.”

One major consideration for many cosmetics brands is how to create value through enhancing the brand’s sustainability credentials. “Sustainable or eco-friendly packaging will become increasingly important for cosmetic brands as we enter the second decade of this century,” says Roberts. “Value perception for many brands will be improved if care and attention are given to this growing consumer requirement,” he says. “This has led many packaging designers to look at options for dual-purpose, refillable and recyclable components and to re-evaluate what were common material choices.” 

La Mer packaging by IPL

“It isn’t just about how the products are displayed to clients, it is also about the story that the brand is telling their clients. As a supplier we’re consistently being challenged to deliver the ‘wow factor’, as well as a sustainable story,” says Odendaal, Head of Design “But that doesn’t mean doing this without an air of luxury: transparent cellophane made of biodegradable wood pulp, for instance, can add some shiny metallic glamour to the packaging.” 

The environmentally friendly mega-trend has caused a significant shift in packaging design and a move, in many cases, toward simpler, streamlined forms that use eco-materials, mono materials - or fewer materials,“ he says. “Packaging shapes are also resembling more organic, natural forms playing with unique tangible and tactile textures.” 

“Whilst beauty brands will continue to explore refillable/reusable options and post-consumer use materials until these options find long-term positions in brand houses - the simplest path to lessen the environmental impact will be options that utilise less plastic,” continues Odendaal. “At IPL, for example, we’ve investigated and utilsied options such as thermoformed paper pulp and starch-based paper injection moulding.”

“The need to reduce plastic content is easily recognised, understood and celebrated by all levels of the eco-conscious consumer.”

IPL Packaging paper based box

Packaging and product performance 

One can look at the performance perspective from two aspects:

Firstly, in order to be successful, the product itself needs to perform as intended, this goes without saying. However, the packaging also needs to take into account the different environments in which the product will be used. On-the-go consumers require cosmetics packaging to be both easy to use and transport. As global travel resumes and online delivery grows, solid product protection will become ever more important.

Secondly, when it comes to performance in this fast-paced world, one of the highest priorities is to launch products as quickly as possible. “In the fast-moving beauty industry, concept to shelf-ready delivery is increasing in demand in order to capture the latest trends and consumer needs,” explains Roberts. “Speed-to-market has become one of the overarching trends in the beauty world when it comes to product launches and is a major influencer in product and packaging design and development.” 

“Achieving optimal pace of performance requires smartly planned packaging that allows for flexible production and delivery. To achieve this, it is vital to have close collaboration between suppliers, manufacturers and those who handle the packaging,” he continues. “Dealing with a supplier who can vertically integrate all processes from design to delivery is very helpful in making the process more efficient”.

“The speed-to-market factor has definitely altered how brands develop their products and packaging,” agrees Odendaal. Packaging development and innovation processes are moving at the speed of light in today’s market.” 

“This demand for speed is causing brands to think outside the box when it comes to packaging decoration, particularly in the cosmetics industry,” says Odendaal. “A wide range of decorative techniques and customised components can help to effectively express a brand’s personal DNA. But these processes should be effected quickly and efficiently.”

IPL Packaging cosmetic box

Style and substance

On the one hand, brands are exploring a distinctly sustainable directive, on the other hand, the luxury market is booming with unique custom designs and highly decorative packaging that tick the other consumer requirement: style.

“Sustainability in the luxury packaging sector is about quality and truth to material, and less about embellishment - a more minimalist ideal. The idea is that the high value of the packaging comes over in a more subtle way, and the branding is less opulent.” 

“Increasingly, luxury brands are also using iridescent surfaces that shimmer in different colours depending on the viewer’s position and where the light falls,” says Odendaal. “Unique packaging with visual and tactile features such as also offer beauty brands an easy way to create buzz and excitement online via social media. This can be really important for a new brand entering the saturated market we see today.”

Roja Maison box by IPL Packaging


Consumer demands in 2021 are now, more than ever, based on value, performance, style - and packaging that benefits the wider environment. These trends will only continue to gain strength leading to a re-think in design and material choices for cosmetics packaging to be more sustainable, recyclable and refillable; designed and manufactured in ways that fit perfectly into both the sustainable beauty movement and the speed-to-market movement.

Looking into and revising further; we can help major brands to pursue their sustainability goals in terms of their packaging solutions. IPL can assist with guided discussions on how to improve packaging to meet corporate goals.

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IPL‌ ‌Packaging‌‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌global‌ ‌luxury‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌supplier‌ ‌with‌ ‌offices‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌USA,‌ ‌Europe,‌ ‌Mexico,‌ Asia‌ ‌and‌ ‌Africa.‌ ‌Approved‌ manufacturing‌ ‌is‌ ‌available‌ ‌in‌ ‌several‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌countries,‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌sites‌ ‌in‌ ‌Eastern‌ ‌Europe.‌ ‌We‌ ‌create‌ ‌bespoke,‌ ‌tailored‌ ‌and‌ ‌exclusive‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌for‌ ‌any‌ premium‌ ‌or‌ ‌luxury‌ ‌brand‌ ‌and‌ ‌manage‌ ‌the‌ ‌entire‌ ‌process,‌ ‌from‌ ‌conceptualisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌design‌ ‌to‌ ‌production‌ ‌and‌ ‌delivery.‌ ‌ ‌

For‌ ‌more‌ ‌information‌ ‌on‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌solutions‌ ‌or‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌an‌ ‌insight‌ ‌into‌ ‌our‌ ‌latest‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌trends,‌ ‌follow‌ ‌us‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌LinkedIn‌,‌ Facebook‌,‌ ‌‌YouTube‌‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌Pinterest‌.‌ ‌Keep‌ ‌an‌ ‌eye‌ ‌on‌ ‌our‌ ‌‌news‌ ‌section‌‌ ‌for‌ ‌insightful‌ ‌articles‌ ‌and‌ ‌innovative‌ ‌ideas‌ ‌around‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌materials,‌ ‌product‌ ‌development‌ ‌and‌ ‌design.‌

Angostura 1919 premium rum gift box and glass tumblers

Angostura in a Glass of its Own

“Reviewing production facilities and investigating and testing new, cutting-edge supply channels is a key aspect of ensuring that, as a full-service global packaging supplier, you’re addressing your client’s needs around budget, materials, transportation and the like,” says Christiana Delahaye, IPL Packaging Senior Purchasing Manager Europe.

“Strategic sourcing can really assist clients in best meeting their procurement objectives without compromising product quality or supplier service levels,” she says. “It can help to create distinctive value and also, maintain a competitive edge. A recent example of this is a packaging solution designed and produced by IPL Packaging for Angostura,” says Delahaye. 

Supply chain cargo ship in port

Angostura premium rum

Located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Angostura, the world’s market leader for bitters, is also one of the Caribbean’s leading rum producers with a superb collection of rum brands.  With quality and distinction long being the cornerstone of the Angostura business, the company approached IPL Packaging to design and produce a high-quality gift box containing a bottle of Angostura 1919 Premium Rum and two high-quality glass tumblers.

“The rigid board packaging solution was designed by our IPL Design team and manufactured by our longstanding manufacturing partners in Asia,” she states. “When it came to sourcing the best quality glass tumblers, quality and personalisation were also therefore two of our key objectives, this along with working with a glass supplier who supports sustainable and environmentally-friendly production processes.”

Angostura premium rum and glass tumblers in packaging

Bespoke crafted glasses

“With IPL having established several strategic contacts in the Polish glass-making industry, we approached a well-established and traditional glassmaking facility, famous for its meticulous quality and know-how,” says Delahaye. “Carefully crafting glass and stemware for nearly a century, the factory maintains a distinct focus on sustainable, eco-friendly artisanship.”

The glass is smelted while maintaining rigorous European standards for environmental emissions. The complete absence of lead and other heavy metals harmful to health and the environment ensure that these glasses can be 100% recycled and also allow them to showcase a high level of transparency and brilliance. 

“In close collaboration with the client, we ultimately selected a glass tumbler with a distinct ‘wavy’ base that provided an interesting textural element, ” explains Delahaye. "The tumbler was further personalised with a white and gold printed logo, adapted to the client needs.” 

Complete Angostura gift pack

“The result is an Angostura gift pack as distinctive as it is practical; glassware and packaging that perfectly complements the product it accompanies and further entrenches the quality of the prestigious rum itself,” she states. “What is key is that, through close collaboration with our client and our key manufacturing partners (though which we are able to effect complex logistics and manufacturing procurement), we’ve produced a gift pack that is both impactful and highly functional,” she says.  

“In today’s competitive economy, and when servicing global industry players such as Angostura, we need to consistently engage in new and creative collaborations that assure and improve the quality of the final product, attain differentiation and achieve a faster time to market.”

Global supply chain graphic depiction

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IPL‌ ‌Packaging‌‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌global‌ ‌luxury‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌supplier‌ ‌with‌ ‌offices‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌USA,‌ ‌Europe,‌ ‌Mexico,‌ Asia‌ ‌and‌ ‌Africa.‌ ‌Approved‌ ‌manufacturing‌ ‌is‌ ‌available‌ ‌in‌ ‌several‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌countries,‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ sites‌ ‌in‌ ‌Eastern‌ ‌Europe.‌ ‌We‌ ‌create‌ ‌bespoke,‌ ‌tailored‌ ‌and‌ ‌exclusive‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌for‌ ‌any‌ premium‌ ‌or‌ ‌luxury‌ ‌brand‌ ‌and‌ ‌manage‌ ‌the‌ ‌entire‌ ‌process,‌ ‌from‌ ‌conceptualisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌design‌ to‌ ‌production‌ ‌and‌ ‌delivery.‌ ‌

For‌ ‌more‌ ‌information‌ ‌on‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌solutions‌ ‌or‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌an‌ ‌insight‌ ‌into‌ ‌our‌ ‌latest‌ ‌packaging‌ trends,‌ ‌follow‌ ‌us‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌LinkedIn‌,‌ ‌‌Facebook‌,‌ ‌‌YouTube‌‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌Pinterest‌.‌ ‌Keep‌ ‌an‌ ‌eye‌ ‌on‌ ‌our‌ ‌‌news‌ ‌section‌‌ ‌for‌ ‌insightful‌ ‌articles‌ ‌and‌ ‌innovative‌ ‌ideas‌ ‌around‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌materials,‌ ‌product‌ development‌ ‌and‌ ‌design.‌

IPL Packaging news USA address

A New USA Address

IPL Packaging is happy to move into our new office and showroom on the East Coast of the USA. It's in Westchester County, adjacent to New York City (a 45 minute commute from Manhattan) and convenient to virtually anywhere. 

“In the face of profound change in work and commuting patterns, we see the new offices as a way to offer greater accessibility and flexibility to so many of our clients,” says Michael De Carvalho, IPL Senior Business Development Director. 

“In discussions with existing clients we understand that many employees will return to the office, though not necessarily ‘as before’,” he says. “The pandemic has highlighted how people in many industries can work remotely in a productive manner. Despite this, there is growing recognition that being able to spend face time together adds much benefit to a project, especially at the ideation and innovation stage,” he says. 

“As a global packaging supplier, this means adapting to and adopting new ways of working and servicing these clients, including the ability to sit down and physically review samples together in a great environment."

New address in the USA offers more convenience

“We need to remain physically present and available to those clients still working at home in the suburbs (many from areas such as Westchester County) and yet also remain in close proximity to NYC where, effectively, almost every major company has an established presence,” states De Carvalho. “City-based clients value a quick commute that enables them to gain further insight into our processes and review briefs and prototypes face-to-face and in real-time.” 

“Events, expos and conferences are being booked up from Fall, we’re working on some exciting holiday and ‘counter’ projects for the beauty and cosmetics industry and the tech side of our packaging business is also thriving,” he says. “We’re witnessing the economy opening up and vaccination roll-out progressing and, at IPL, we’re happy to tap into this more optimistic new energy.”

“Together with our presence on the West Coast and our teams in the Mid-West we look forward to continuing to successfully support and grow our US-based market and their global affiliates with exceptional end-to-end packaging solutions.”


340 US-202

Suite D

Somers, NY. 10589


M |  +1 914 334 0972

T |  +1 914 902 0319

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IPL‌ ‌Packaging‌‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌global‌ ‌luxury‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌supplier‌ ‌with‌ ‌offices‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌USA,‌ ‌Europe,‌ ‌Mexico,‌ ‌Asia‌ ‌and‌ ‌Africa.‌ ‌Approved ‌manufacturing‌ ‌is‌ ‌available‌ ‌in‌ ‌several‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌countries,‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌sites‌ ‌in‌ ‌Eastern‌ ‌Europe.‌ ‌We‌ ‌create‌ ‌bespoke,‌ ‌tailored‌ ‌and‌ ‌exclusive‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌for‌ ‌any‌ premium‌ ‌or‌ ‌luxury‌ ‌brand‌ ‌and‌ ‌manage‌ ‌the‌ ‌entire‌ ‌process,‌ ‌from‌ ‌conceptualisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌design to‌ ‌production‌ ‌and‌ ‌delivery.‌ ‌

For‌ ‌more‌ ‌information‌ ‌on‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌solutions‌ ‌or‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌an‌ ‌insight‌ ‌into‌ ‌our‌ ‌latest‌ ‌packaging trends,‌ ‌follow‌ ‌us‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌LinkedIn‌,‌ ‌‌Facebook,‌ ‌‌YouTube‌‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌Pinterest‌.‌ ‌Keep‌ ‌an‌ ‌eye‌ ‌on‌ ‌our‌ ‌‌news‌ section‌‌ ‌for‌ ‌insightful‌ ‌articles‌ ‌and‌ ‌innovative‌ ‌ideas‌ ‌around‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌materials,‌ ‌product‌ ‌development‌ ‌and‌ ‌design.‌