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AGRATE BRIANZA, Italy — Intercos, a leading global color cosmetics supplier that is expanding into skin care, opened its annual trend forecast presentation this year with a clearly defined point of view.
“This year we are taking action to become visionaries changing the cosmetics world,” declared one executive as a preamble to the trend report. “We’re more global than ever; we breathe the global beauty atmosphere.”
Its latest initiative into the emerging global world — a new factory in Brazil — is now up and running. The Brazilian plant is the company’s 11th factory, alongside three in Asia, five in Europe and two in North America. Executives also made the point that 18 percent of the company’s 3,521 employees are involved in innovation. “The word most important to us this year is visionaries changing the cosmetics world,” the program narrator added.
Last year, the new wrinkle in the Intercos lineup was the company’s entry into nail enamel, with acquisition in July 2013 of DropNail Slr. This year the new direction was the news that the supplier had entered the market for “delivery systems,” or where packaging merges with formula application. There has been a closer alignment between product categories and business units. The flow of development and production moves from raw materials to formulations to marketing and to business units, with staff divided into product and business categories. The old Interfila pencil business is now the Delivery System Business Unit with a concentration on brushes, applicators and new forms of pencils. Intercos showed off some of its proprietary designs.
Under the category of The Digital Experience there is an applicator that holds powder and also fits on a customer’s fingertip so she can dab the product on her face, merging compact and applicator. There are also other direct applicators for face and hair. Another device category is called The Beauty Duets for the highly efficient double-ended applicators. Some have gloss with sheer lipstick on the other side, or mascara and eye shadow. Also there are chubbies. They have been such a success in the market that Intercos is reinventing them with sponge on the other side. Intercos has put an emphasis on functionality with double-ended componentry to maximize versatility. The company believes the applicators change the implications of a category of product. For instance, the company is redesigning thinner liquid eyeliners so a user can have a very precise application.
The CRB skin-care division has been rapidly growing, and Intercos has been developing products that can form a bridge between treatment and color, such as primers and concealers. The company also is focusing on Retinol serums and colored oils for treatment. Turning to future trends, the presentation features “creams transformed with cutting-edge technology,” which includes a new generation of the company’s Prisma technology, combining light with powder for a dynamic effect.
As for the famous Intercos color effects, the company pinned four key themes to its mood board: Fluid Trance, Nomadic Luxe, Live Animation and Beautiful Illusion.
• Fluid Trance: With a focus on wet, mirrored finishes and liquid-effect powders and a techno vibe in the color scheme — from aquamarine and electric pink to rave violet — the products in this category featured innovative delivery systems such as a metal roller ball applicator and sponge on extra-large pencils.
• Nomadic Luxe: Earthy metals, desert landscapes and Seventies fashion were the backbone of this section, with colors such as burnt copper, fresh cactus and cracked gold. Here, the emphasis was on loose powder embellished with intricate designs, and delivery systems included a stamp-on tattoo pen, among other innovations.
• Live Animation: Think Japanese fashionistas with a fondness for blue mascara on the loose in a major metropolis. The inspiration for this category was humorous, full of references to Legos, Hula-Hoops, cartoons and neon lighting, balanced by the hard gray concrete of big cities. Makeup was offered in new shapes and vibrant colors — think acid-yellow and pill-blue — and available as directly applied hair chalk or lipstick bullets, to name a few.
• Beautiful Illusion: Now you see it, now you don’t. With this trend segment, Intercos played with volumes, shadows and light, relying on a more muted palette of colors such as nouveau nude, nouveau prune and Ceylon. Double-usage mascara and pencils were designed to exaggerate the natural contours of eyes and lips, while professional powders aimed to give skin a surreal, otherworldly texture.
After the presentation, Intercos founder and president Dario Ferrari discussed the future. He described his company’s growing interest in Korea. “I’ve been three times in Korea in the last six months. It’s like Italy 25 to 30 years ago, [there is] lots of creativity and design, especially in cosmetics,” he said, adding: “Made in Korea has become fashionable.”
Ferrari said Intercos is gearing up for a new “R&D innovation center” in Korea, which he expected to open by the end of the year, with a focus on raw materials and packaging, a hot category for the firm.
A couple of days later, at the Cosmoprof Fair, Simone Gibertoni, general manager of Intercos’ CRB skin-care division, said the firm would open a new lab in China by the end of the year. “Asia is not only making us grow locally, however: More and more local brands are interested in producing in Switzerland,” he said, noting the innovation and tradition associated with Swiss skin-care labels are important to many Asian consumers.
CRB expects to hit 50 million euros, or about $69 million, in 2014, and 100 million, or $138 million, by 2018.