Faces are like fingerprints: No two are the same. It took the vision of Nu Skin Enterprises, along with the help of Berlin Packaging and a team of innovative development partners, to acknowledge this simple fact — and in so doing, create a product that is destined to alter the way skincare products are marketed and used.
In 2012, Nu Skin (www.nuskin.com) approached Berlin Packaging and its design division, Studio One Eleven, with a novel idea: a luxurious skincare system called ageLOC me, built around a collection of fourteen various day creams, eight night creams and eight custom serums specifically formulated by Nu Skin for the ageLOC me line. The customer would use a specially designed online assessment tool to discover the exact combination of products for her age, type of skin, daily routine, climate and even the time of year.
“The brand name really says it all,” says Jason McPhie, senior account executive, Berlin Packaging. “ageLOC me is about individuals, their needs, preferences and what they want out of modern skincare. Consumers will feel the confidence that comes from having a product tailored specifically for them, delivered in a unique new way that simplifies their busy lives.”
The traditional target for premium anti-aging skincare is 85 percent women ages 35-55. However, ageLOC me is expanding that target because it answers consumers’ growing demands for personalization and convenience while helping them look their best.
“We listen to and watch what we want when we want via streaming music and video services,” says Scott Jost, vice president of innovation and design, Berlin Packaging. “We walk into dealerships with the car we want already spec’d out, down to the color of the seat stitching. Why would we expect anything less than customized skincare?”
Nu Skin foresaw a total of five ageLOC products — one day cream, one night cream and three serums — delivered monthly to each user and inserted into a countertop device that would dispense a precise dose of customized product twice a day: one dose of the serum formulas followed by the day cream in the morning, and at night, another dose of the serums followed by the night cream.
“The brand performed extensive research in multiple country markets to vet both the product concept as well as the evolving execution of the device and consumables,” says Jost. “Over 100 focus group studies were conducted in service of creating an amazing user experience.”
However, the skincare company needed expert assistance in designing, engineering, testing and ultimately manufacturing the system.
No one had ever done anything like this before. To meet the challenge, Nu Skin, in cooperation with Studio One Eleven, assembled a global team of development partners. Berlin was tasked with sourcing and vetting partners from around the globe with airless dispensing expertise that could aid the team in the development of the consumable components, while other partners were chosen to develop the countertop device.
Numerous iterations over many months were required to achieve the groundbreaking result. In the final design, each PETG cartridge houses a multilayer COEX bag filled under vacuum to preserve the product inside and ensure the best possible restitution rate. Each bottle has its own pump, actuated by motorized cams in the device based on time of day. The pump designated for the three various formulated serum bottles is activated in order to pipe product into a static mixer tray, which is then dispensed as a “super formula.” This is followed by either day or night cream to complete the user’s morning or evening regimen.
“The day and night units come in 28ml airless bottles with a fully custom delivery system, and the treatment serums consist of three 12ml bottles, a mixing cassette and a fully custom delivery system,” says McPhie. “The entire refill system was developed in tandem with the device to ensure maximum precision and functionality in the smallest possible footprint.”
All ageLOC me products are dispensed in a precise dose into the user’s hand using a touchless system. Custom proprietary valves and active bellows ensure a clean dispense cutoff with no dripping.
“During the development of the dispensing nozzle, the wide range of formulas made finding a single silicone valve design that would work effectively exceedingly difficult,” says Jost. “Responding to this issue, the team created a unique bellows system that actively pulls the formula back into the dispensing nozzle after each actuation, effectively eliminating any dripping or oxidized remnant due to excess formula remaining on the valve.”
Throughout the ageLOC me design process, Studio One Eleven served as the facilitator for the team of development partners designing the consumable packaging. Separately, the studio also developed a three-compartment travel container that will allow consumers to dispense and carry their customized formulas (day cream, night cream and serum) when away from home.
Designing, testing, coordinating and manufacturing this complex system, however, was just the beginning. Nu Skin’s products are sold via a global network of independent sales representatives. Once ageLOC me went into production, the sheer magnitude of SKUs, combined with Nu Skin’s worldwide consumer base, would require a supply, logistics and warehousing effort unlike anything else in the industry.
Again, Berlin Packaging’s global footprint and supply chain and inventory management program proved decisive. All European-assembled consumables are shipped to the U.S. where they are decorated stateside to minimize financial exposure to Nu Skin as well as minimize SKU logistics. Consumable components are then forwarded to Berlin’s Salt Lake City warehouse and held for just-in-time delivery to Nu Skin’s multiple fillers.
As remarkable as the ageLOC me effort has been, perhaps the most notable aspect has been the business relationship between Berlin and Nu Skin. Thanks to its entrepreneurial “aligned interest” philosophy, Berlin’s Studio One Eleven division performed its services at absolutely no cost to Nu Skin, in exchange for Nu Skin’s long-term packaging business.
“Berlin and Nu Skin have a long-standing relationship,” says Jost. “We’re both honored and excited to have been part of such an amazing effort. Some clients say that they want to push the envelope and others want to break the mold, but many don’t stay the course when they see what it truly takes to do so. Nu Skin management not only set its sights on an incredibly lofty aspirational goal, but it also put the time and resources into making it happen, and for that it should be incredibly proud.”
Berlin Packaging (berlinpackaging.com) may be reached at 8-007-BERLIN.