From retailers to distributors and brand owners, many players in the cosmetics industry have recognized the need for consumer-centric product strategies. In an increasingly competitive and crowded market, the true frontline in differentiation often comes down to packaging. After packaging exhibitor, EFA Packaging Industrial Co. Ltd (EFA) stood out in the 22nd China Beauty Expo with its distinctive, design-focused approach, CBE had a chance to sit down with EFA’s Li Xusen to discuss the company’s development strategy.
When asked about top needs in the cosmetics industry, EFA’s Chairman, Li Xusen explained, “As far as the cosmetics category is concerned, in addition to rising demand for color and application innovation, we’ve also see higher requirements for packaging materials,” He cited foundation packaging materials as an example, adding that, “From the emergence of paste-like packaging, to the launch of baby cream to cushion, to the “Bouncy Red Ginseng” by Marie Dalgar, packaging has seem some major changes, including shorter product cycles and more fashion appeal.”
The demand for design innovation puts pure imitators at risk. Li Xusen recognized this early on, noting, “We are not purely engaged in the OEM business. We’ve made major investments in R&D, intellectual property rights, proprietary technology and design.”
EFA’s Li noted that the company collects insights and inputs directly from end-users across international markets to drive its design innovation. They also work with professionals in their field, build their internal R&D teams, and work with brands and R&D centers. This collaborative approach to product development is “our core competitiveness, and the most significant factor that distinguishes us from peers.”
As Li mentioned, EFA is not purely an OEM supplier. Instead, it provides customers with integrated packaging design solutions. “We customize products for our customers based on their demands, styles, and requirements. Just like clothes, we’ve gone from mono-color to wanting different fashions and individualized designs. In addition, after more than a decade of development China’s domestic cosmetics brands have emerged with their own styles. So, we must have independent design and development capabilities.”
Citing an example, Li Xusen explained, “We once created a product for a well-known international brand and manage to meet their unique demands even after other suppliers had tried and failed multiple times. We’re quite proud of this accomplishment and also the fact that we exceeded the requirements of our South Korean supplier.”
According to Li, even for packaging materials, “The future is in joint development and collaboration among brand owners, designers, packaging material suppliers, and processors instead of unilateral creation by brand owners with products that are difficult to execute at the production level. This leads to a waste of time. And, for the market, time is opportunity. Strong companies can take advantage of collaboration among market leaders.