By  on June 22, 2007

London-based personal care brand Natural Products is clearly operated by neat freaks.

The company, which makes everything from pedicure flip-flops to cupcake lip gloss pots to frog-shaped bath fizzers, has repackaged its kitschy line of dissolvable paper strips, each of which is formulated with a different cleansing function. The packaging aims to better represent products, be more consumer-friendly and boost cost efficiency. According to Jules Vertrees, U.S. sales and marketing manager for Natural Products Worldwide, "Instantly, people know what the product is and what to do with it."

The newly packaged products have even garnered the attention of at least one national drugstore chain, which NPW is in negotiations with for distribution in 5,000 of their stores. In addition, NPW, which generates $10 million in annual sales, reduced costs by 40 percent after closing its U.S. distribution center in August 2006. Now products are shipped directly from the company's head office in London using the UPS service Trade Direct.

The Paper Cleansing Product line, which generates $1.5 million in annual sales in department and specialty stores, includes Paper Soap, Paper Shampoo, Shaving Paper and Laundry Paper, each packaged in a plastic "pod" small enough to fit in a purse for on-the-go travel. Formulas are scented in either wild rose, citrus, ocean or mint.

Natural Products entered the U.S. market in 2005 via independent drugstores and beauty boutiques with Paper Soap, which when mixed with water melts away into a sudsy lather. Inspired by an old Japanese delivery system, the product quickly created a buzz among consumers.

"The success of this one item led us to start thinking about expanding the line, and it made sense bringing in more items that would be used when traveling," said Vertrees. "Shave, shampoo and laundry are all things that come in handy if you are traveling on business for one or two days or backpacking through Europe for a month."

Subsequently, NPW prepared to unveil three new products — Shaving Paper, Paper Shampoo and Laundry Paper. Pre-product samples went to market in August 2006. NPW learned timing is everything: That same month, the plot to blow up planes in flight from the U.K. to the U.S. was uncovered, prompting airline authorities to implement a ban on fluids in carry-on luggage. NPW capitalized on these restrictions by marketing its paper toiletries as carry-on safe since they provided an alternative to packing shampoo and other liquids.For 18 years, NPW has been no stranger to success. Top-selling products include a Shea Butter Collection manufactured in Provence, France, and the We Live Like This bath and body line featured in 11,000 InterContinental Hotel rooms.

Paper Cleansing Products are currently available in about 600 independent drugstores and beauty boutiques across the country, as well as online at flight001.com.

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