Will beauty care ingredient makers nurture the next generation of indie brands?

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Will beauty care ingredient makers nurture the next generation of indie brands?
Specialty chemical companies are already catering to the needs and expectations of independent personal care and cosmetics brands. And major manufacturers and retailers are running programs and competitions to support indie innovation. Now, Symrise has launched an initiative that could change everything.

Symrise supplies not only cosmetics and fragrance makers, but also—through its flavors division—the beverage and food industries. On Tuesday the company announced the launch of Califormulations, a platform Symrise describes as a creative incubator for beverage product development.

According to Paul Graham, the company’s president of flavors in North America, “The Califormulations concept gives beverage entrepreneurs access to a single-source partner with the expertise required to help them bring their ideas to life.”

“Califormulations bundles rapid prototyping, full beverage formulation development and more – plus, of course, a winning collection of outstanding beverage flavors. In short, we are giving entrepreneurs access to knowledge, new technologies, purchasing scale and resources not normally available to new and emerging brands,” ​adds Graham in a media release about the new platform.

Indie takeover

Startup culture is changing the way business is done in nearly every industry. It makes sense that longstanding corporations are looking for ways to get involved in the indie movement beyond simply turning to indie leaders for inspiration or considering the brands as acquisition targets.

Companies like Symrise have latched on to the notion that indie founders are experts in their own ideas or brand stories but that they lack the science and business savvy to really make a go of it.

“While some early-stage beverage concepts are well defined in terms of customer targets, usage occasions and positioning, many haven't even reached the prototype stage. And for those that have, the prototype is often something made in their own kitchen and therefore not suited for scale-up or commercialization,” ​according to the Symrise release.

For beverage entrepreneurs, Califormulations “is, quite literally, a 'bench to bottle' offering,” ​says Graham.

Beauty angle

It’s easy to imagine Symrise or another specialty chemical company replicating such a program for the cosmetics, personal care, or fragrance sector. Indeed many suppliers are already informally doing as much.

In recent conversations with Cosmetics Design companies including Dow, Lonza, and DSM have shared insight into how they are engaging with small players and startups. When Parand Salmassinia, vice president of DSM personal care in North America, sat down with Cosmetics Design this summer​, she explained how the company works with beauty brand founders “as a tech partner to speed indie innovation.”

She talked about how DSM has worked with several indie brands, helping them get to market swiftly and how the company offers an array of support services, ranging from market intelligence to R&D, and from formulations support to storytelling and concept creation, as Cosmetics Design reported.

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