BOLOGNA, Italy — At a time when the market is clamoring louder than ever for innovation, packaging designers, suppliers and manufacturers have decided the only way to provide it is to increase the dialogue.

Last week at Cosmoprof, a group of them took the first step by forming an unusual association called BeautiFull Club. It is to be presided over by Philippe de Bryguere, of L'Occitane, and by Vera Strubi, honorary president, who is the recently retired head of Thierry Mugler Parfums. "Together we are devoted to doing something fantastic, a mission to provide a truly global think tank," said Strubi.

The formation of the club was announced on the opening day of Cosmopack, the packaging and supplier exhibition within Cosmoprof. A number of leading executives in the packaging-manufacturing field were among the founding members. The announcement came after a roundtable discussion chaired by Strubi. Thierry de Baschmakoff, of Aesthete, and Nicholas Thorn, of Alcan Beauty Packaging, among others, participated. The subject was creativity and its economic and logistical constraints.

Innovation was a big subject in the suppliers' pavilion, where many of the exhibitors discussed their efforts to create packaging that could contain the volatile nature of cosmeceutical products. Others discussed eco-friendly package designs, and a constant refrain was the need to increase new products speed to market.

"Companies are trying to tap into the skin care-makeup combo, so the packaging needs to be more functional with benefits to the consumer," said Tim Thorpe, West Coast president of HCT. "It needs to develop product in a more useful way."

For instance, the company is developing packaging to contain loose mineral powers. To appeal to consumers interested in biodegradable packaging, HCT president Chris Thorpe said the company was looking into biodegradable plastics.

"Everything is looking to go green — not this year, but by 2010," he said.

Schwan cosmetics was introducing loose powder dispensers and a reorganized skin-care offering that includes a segment called Color Plus Nature "to try and respond to the trend toward organic and natural cosmetics," said Holger Ellerbrock, vice president of marketing.

Numerous companies were showing easy-to-use packaging designs. Alcan was midway through developing tubes with different tips, such as spatulas, brushes and sponges, for various applications.Pfeiffer was introducing an item called ModulArt, a cosmetics dispenser with a self-locking cap allows one-handed application. "It gives customers new added value," said Holger Winkler, team leader marketing and senior product manager of Pfeiffer's fragrance and cosmetics division. "We believe the next step is to reduce preservatives in products," he continued.

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