Last month, Olympic tennis great Serena William’s topical personal care product brand Will Perform launched on Walmart.com, with select products releasing into over 3,000 in-store Walmart locations across the US this month.
The Will Perform collection, which features the WILL Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion, WILL Soothe Daily Muscle Recovery Lotion, WILL Relieve Lidocaine Pain Relief Roll On and Lotions, WILL Cool Menthol & Camphor Cooling Pain Relief Roll on, and WILL Relieve Lidocaine Pain Relief Spray, is designed to help alleviate the aches and pains of exercise-related muscle recovery through topical pain relief and daily muscle care.
In addition to addressing muscular tension, the lotion formulations are designed to soothe and hydrate the skin – resulting in multifunctional products that provide potential benefits inside and out. To learn more about the collection’s formulation and development process, including challenges that were overcome to bring the line to retail launch, as well as the role sustainability played in product development and future plans for further collection releases, CosmeticsDesign spoke to Will Perform’s Chief Product Officer, Alexia Lundberg, for her insights.
Product formulation and development process
To create a product collection that “provides an entirely new take on pain relief and recovery by elevating the product experience and providing proactive solutions,” Lundberg shared, the Will Perform team “started by elevating the product experience in the pain category with formulas that smell and feel great and designed innovative packaging, which together, provide an overall enhanced sensorial experience.”
By focusing creating products that offered consumers multi-functional benefits, the formulation team’s effort’s resulting in the creation of a collection that offers “proactive care with a daily body lotion that benefits both skin and muscle, and a nightly recovery cream to help you fall asleep,” she said. Further, all products in the collection “focus on performance and efficacy without compromising aesthetic.”
When selecting hero ingredients for the Will Perform product collection, like WILL Soothe Daily Muscle Soothing Lotion’s moisturizing blend of Magnesium, Ceramides and Vitamin E or WILL Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion’s relaxing blend of Lavender and Geranium, “the product formulations were designed with efficacy as a top priority, and each product has a unique active ingredient profile that was specifically designed to deliver the benefit we want to provide,” she explained. During the formulation process, the product development team focused on “on ingredients with strong scientific support and then complemented this with botanicals used in traditional medicine,” she added.
Challenges to product development
One of the greatest challenges that needed to be overcome to bring the collection to launch in the retail space was packaging related, shared Lundberg. Specifically, Will Perform Relieve products contain lidocaine, and therefore require a child-resistant cap. “Child-resistant closures are a highly regulated area,” she explained, “so we knew we had to design something that could pass the required testing but still look unique, which was not easy at all!”
Additionally, due to the functional nature of the Will Perform product line, “it was also important for our packaging to offer hands-free delivery,” she added. “To accomplish this, we designed custom applicator heads to optimize the product experience.”
Further adding to the design challenges was the need to maintain “a cohesive aesthetic across a range of formulations and delivery mechanisms,” which was an important focus throughout the production process.
The role of environmental sustainability in product development
In addition to addressing challenges in formulation and packaging design, the Will Perform product formulation and development team also focused on “sustainability, which was an important factor for us in the design process,” Lundberg said. To accomplish their sustainability goals, the team created “bottles and cartons that are 100% recyclable and eliminated the use of inserts to reduce excess packaging,” she shared.
“While we were developing the product componentry for our lotion and roll-on formulas,” she further explained, “we played around with blends of LDPE and HDPE, but knowing that that can pose issues with recycling, we chose to go with HDPE to increase the likelihood our bottles make it through the recycling process.”
Moving forward and next steps
In addition to continuing to “look for ways to be more sustainable as we grow and expand,” said Lundberg, “we know that people in their 20’s and 30's are incredibly mindful about taking care of themselves for the long-term benefits and provide a great foundation for later in life.” To that end, the brand is actively “working on some exciting new products that do just that,” and will likely be adding additional products to its collection soon.