Scaling Down: Reconfiguring automated filling systems for beauty startups

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Scaling Down: Reconfiguring automated filling systems for beauty startups

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As artisanal, local, and small-batch beauty brands take over an ever larger share of the personal care and cosmetics business, suppliers and other industry partners are pivoting to support these ventures.

“We recognized the need for smaller, versatile filling and closing machines to give growing private-label and start-up companies the chance to automate their production with a minimal investment,”​ Lothar Burger, managing director of Groninger USA, tells in a recent machine case study​.

Growing smaller

The company, which specializes in filling systems, just brought a new “lite line” of machines to market which will accommodate the needs of smaller cosmetics companies as well as help them increase production and fill larger orders.

Groninger USA machines are used for a wide array of products, from perfume to lotion and haircare to color cosmetics. “The first model in the Groninger lite line is the lite-F, a two-headed filling unit that can fill up to 2,700 units/hr and process containers up to 500 mL and/or 16 oz. It processes both glass and plastic containers and works within a compact 460-cm long x 100-cm wide footprint,” ​according to that case study on

Addressing the needs of independent and smaller private label manufacturers is a move that reflects the changing landscape of beauty, and one many other suppliers are likely to follow. 

Packaging considerations

When asked what makes an indie brand standout, Jessica Richards, owner of Shen Beauty, tells Cosmetics Design that packaging is the first thing that she, as a buyer, judges a brand by, and is the first thing that her customers notice too. (Hear more of Richards’ perspective on independent beauty in the next CD Buzz video.)

Like manufacturing, packaging design and production has for some time catered to the needs of national and global cosmetics companies. Beauty startups are necessarily forging new relationships with traditional vendors and getting creative when it comes to material selection and packaging design.

Kahina Giving Beauty, which got its start in 2009, saw dark glass bottles and jars as a way to bring natural products to the luxury market. “When I discovered the violet glass I thought it was stunning and unlike anything I was seeing on the shelves,” company founder Katharine L’Heureux tells Cosmetics Design​.

Personal care entrepreneurs think out-of-the-box as a matter of course and are eager for the chance to discover novel materials. In conversation with Cosmetics Design, material and design expert Leslie Sherr​ explains why she considers these five qualities especially useful when creating packaging: sustainability, strength and flexibility, innovative dispensing, interactivity, and craft.

She underlines that “in the ever-competitive arena of beauty, health and wellness products…materials are the prime conveyors of a brand’s values and positioning. Well chosen, they contribute to differentiating a product through a uniquely tactile experience.”

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