By  on September 30, 2005

NEW YORK — The beauty industry's largest formula and packaging show came to a close Thursday afternoon, after welcoming more than 16,000 attendees and 600 exhibitors over three days. HBA Health & Beauty America, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, also capped its debut of Inside Beauty, a finished-package, beauty and wellness-themed event that plans to return next year within HBA's floor plan.

What might have set apart this year's effort from HBA's 12 preceding annual shows was its star-studded array of industry powerhouse participants. The show kicked off Tuesday morning with a stellar keynote address by Avon Products president and chief operating officer Susan J. Kropf, who kept audience members captivated with her detailed depiction of the company's five core drivers for brand power. The company's success — which she noted was derailed in the Eighties when its focus shifted from beauty — is attributed to having a strong voice, staying true to its core, being close to trends, staying innovative and being flexible. Kropf led hundreds of industry movers and shakers through Avon's rich history, starting with the company's founder, a book salesman, to the present day, when it recently celebrated the opening of its $100 million research and development facility in Long Island, New York. Jack Gonzales, HBA's show director, noted how virtually everyone stayed until the end of Kropf's speech — which ran about twice as long as past speeches — despite preset appointments that were presumably missed on the show floor.

HBA's annual awards dinner Tuesday night at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers also drew a cast of notables. Two of perhaps beauty's most powerful players — Estée Lauder's William Lauder and L'Oréal USA's Laurent Attal — dined on steak and red wine as four distinguished beauty executives and one top beauty company received awards for their contributions to the beauty industry. Outstanding package design also was acknowledged with a myriad of awards for categories ranging from mass skin care to prestige fragrance. (See below for more on awards.)

A host of conferences presented by The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association were well attended, such as "Industry Movers and Shakers: The People Who Make Things Happen," a panel that brought together executives from Revlon, Puig and Dlish to discuss the trend of celebrity representation in the beauty area. (See adjacent story for more on "Industry Movers and Shakers.") Inside Beauty also put on several meetings, including "Worldwise Beauty, Regulatory Trends," which featured industry experts on branding, ingredients and FTC and FDA guidelines.And, of course, there were HBA's diverse exhibitors presenting their latest wares. Some of the newest items included Hard Candy's 8-Ball lip gloss by HCT Packaging, which features a clear top that exposes a message, ranging from "Yuk" to "?" to "No." Also popular was Bradford Soap's travel soap dispenser, which utilizes a shaker top to dispense powder-like soap. Brand new to the market is Alcan's eye-powder shaper, designed with a foam applicator that screws off an enclosed cylinder for loose powder — current packages for loose powder usually invite messy application. And, Meir Eini, chief operating officer for Foamix, touted the company's new delivery system "perfect for cosmeceuticals: an oil-based foam that can get deeper delivery of vitamins and can also moisturize better than water-based [foam]."

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