Nice Package: Indie Beauty Brand Founders Discuss Design Changes

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 13 founders and executives: What’s the best packaging change you’ve made?

Jess Taylor Founder, Native Nectar Botanicals

I just finished a yearlong rebrand and was faced with the challenge of how to embrace the packaging design aesthetics that consumers are drawn to, but still stand out on the shelf. On a practical level, the best decision I made was to invest in screen-printing labels directly onto glass bottles for many of my products.

The cost upfront is more due to high printing minimums, but it creates a clean, modern look, and there's not the constant concern of labels getting damaged with product use. Overall, though, the best decision I made concerning packaging was to find ways to infuse my personality into design elements. Creating packaging is an artistic expression for me. I have fun with it, and I’m not afraid for it to be a work in progress.

Laura Burget Co-Founder, Niu Body

When we initially launched our line, all of our products were in plastic packaging. Our thought process at the time was that plastic is lighter and would, therefore, be more cost-effective to ship, more durable and more convenient for our customers.

After a few months of plastic packaging, we switched to frosted glass bottles and haven't looked back. Not only are these bottles better for the environment, they also keep our products fresher for longer and give the line a luxe, heavy feel in the hand. Looking back, we wish that we had gone this route from the start, but we recognize that each change is just part of our development and creative process.

Ola Andersson Chief Commercial Officer, Lumene

We went through a complete brand revamp that started at the end of 2016 and continued throughout 2017. The best thing we did in the midst of a complete packaging change was to add the percent of naturally derived ingredients to all products. We felt very strongly about the fact that we infuse natural ingredients native to our homeland, Finland, and wanted to highlight just how natural our products are. Many brands can mislead consumers by being labeled as natural. However, we take pride in being 85% naturally-derived or higher on the majority of the products we make.

Diamond Downs Founder, Gehati

The best single packaging change that I made were the labels for our soy candles and air freshener sprays. I went with a clean, minimalist black and white aesthetic. It’s gender-neutral and works for all ages. When I changed the labeling, it increased our sales drastically. This showed us that the packaging of a product can have a major role in its success rate. All I did was take the same products and make the packaging clean and unisex, and the results increased our sales.

Pille Lengi Founder, Tilk!

From the very early days, I knew the packaging needed to be outstanding and differentiate from competitors. I started off with dark wooden luxury packaging. The packaging was gorgeous and well received by customers. However, after few months, I realized that the packaging was too difficult and expensive to make. It was becoming a threat to the brand's growth.

Deep inside, I also felt that it was wasteful of resources, and I started looking for alternatives. I came up with recyclable carton-paper packaging, which was more environmentally-friendly and joyful, but with a similarly attractive Nordic design and different from the rest of the market.

Julia Teren Founder, Thesis Beauty

I found that it's best not to follow even the hottest trends that are simply not sustainable for your brand. Some time ago, we tried to do some customization and printing labels in-house on a professional label printer. Although the printer delivered professional quality labels, we discovered after a while that they were not smudge-proof despite specifications. It was a really huge setback. We curtailed the custom program, stopped using that printer, and only have been ordering professionally printed labels ever since.

Mehrbano Sethi Founder, Luscious Cosmetics

The most impactful packaging change we made was to follow our instincts and become more visual across our entire range. Our Angel Eyes Primer features a guardian angel style icon, which tells the user at first glance what the main selling point of the product is: to protect your eye makeup. We followed a similar path with Camera Stick Foundation and Camera Powder, which resulted in great success in new customer sales.

Christine Cameron Koehler Founder, Flora 1761

The highlight to our packaging is our gold foil box.  For many products, an outer box is a no brainer, but, for nail polish, it’s a bit unexpected, and some might even call it a risky move. You can’t see the product when the impetus to buy is almost always based on the polish color. Yet, the gold foil box embodies a lot of what our brand is about: luxury, sophistication, evocative design with the added benefit of making the product instantly giftable.

Our packaging allows us to convey the key tenets of our brand message – our floral inspiration, our dedication to green and cruelty-free beauty – beyond the typical limitations of a one-inch bottle, giving customers a greater appreciation for our brand ethos at very first sight.

Elysse Crabtree Founder, Wabi-Sabi Botanicals

We rolled out completely new packaging with custom white opal glass bottles and matte black and gold boxes. The decision to use white glass was deliberate, and has allowed us to differentiate our products and brand in a heavily saturated and sometimes visually repetitive market. Having our bottles stamped has been a major productivity game changer as we no longer have to purchase labels or spend time applying labels, and the decision to box our products has opened the door for greater retail opportunities and partnerships.

All in all, the idea was to design sophisticated packaging that would elevate and differentiate Wabi-Sabi Botanicals, and it's done that. There's a certain wow factor to it. It grabs people's attention, and I love offering products that are truly as natural and non-toxic as you can get – what we call earth-to-skin – that still look glamorous and beautiful on your vanity as a luxury product should.

Betty Guerre Founder, Aim HI Every Day

Our first round of labeling and packaging was completely in-house in the interest of budget, which was my last dollar, credit card and borrowed funds from family, and looked the part, more homemade than handcrafted. At our one-year mark, we moved some products into Miron glass jars and bottles, and worked with an amazing artist who helped fine-tune our brand image.

Chris Loney Founder, London's Pedisoaks

Sometimes as the founder, you think you're the only person that knows and sees your vision. I had to relinquish creative control to my graphic designer in order to elevate the brand. She changed the colors, sleekness and added a luxurious simplicity to the packaging. My brand is now even more amazing than I could ever dream.

Sébastien Tardif CEO and Co-Founder, Veil Cosmetics

We are thrilled to have been able to update our Complexion Fix Corrector Concealer Highlighter to an air-tight and medical-grade dispensing mechanism. No more leaks during air travels or endless twisting or sudden oozing between applications.

Ebru Karpuzoglu MSc. PhD, Founder and CSO, AveSeena

We decided to use high-quality airless containers, especially for our supercharged anti-aging products that have precious ingredients like peptides, growth factors, vitamins, stem cells and antioxidants because you want them to be as effective as long as possible. Our airless containers keep our formulations airtight to stay fresher and have a longer shelf life. We also wanted to move away from the conventional action of dipping fingers into a jar of skin creams. Since the pumps give even doses and you aren’t touching the product itself, they are more hygienic.

We also use a special kind of biophotonic glass jar that only allows spectral range of UVA-violet light and infrared light to pass through. This 100% recyclable packaging we use for our Beautecarie line helps to maintain freshness, quality protection and preservation of bio-energy. We feel both the airless and the biophotonic containers are must-haves for high-quality and clean beauty.

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to