GCC Packaging Group, the new umbrella company that includes Grace Cosmetics, has enjoyed steady growth over the last few years. Grace Chiu, GCC's Managing Director, attributes the company's success to focusing on one thing: giving cosmetic brands excellent bespoke packaging that is unique, attractive, and innovative.
Grace, what is your current role at GCC?
My position in this group entails monitoring the management of both companies, meaning Grace Cosmetics and the overall GCC Packaging Group. I supervise the marketing and sales teams at a high level, and the teams we have in place execute projects and daily work. I also have the role of providing packaging ideas and concepts based on existing or upcoming trends, so I guess I have a bit to do with R&D as well, though I tend to leave the technical details to our specialists.
How has the company evolved since it was founded?
Initially, Grace Cosmetics used to target companies requiring full service formulation development. This was a big portion of the business when the company started. Beauty products for young teenagers accounted for about 80% of our sales. With fierce competition in prices originating in mainland China, beauty products seemed to become less about beauty and more of a price war. Getting tired of solely commercial activities without care or attention to the validity of products, we shifted markets to higher end, more prestigious brands. A few years ago, we saw more potential in innovative cosmetic packaging. We began to offer a way to bring simplicity into the sourcing process for businesses and truthfully, designing cosmetic packaging was just a lot more interesting. We then decided to improve our portfolio and offer bespoke packaging parts as well.
In 2016, we founded the GCC Packaging Group as part of this concept. That way, we could provide a more complete packaging service to all sorts of customers. Now the GCC Packaging Group not only does colour cosmetics, we're also launching new items for skin care and other beauty products. The future of our group is to provide a one-stop shop for beauty product customers, no matter what they bring us. Once they get in touch with either Grace Cosmetics or GCC Packaging Group, we will direct and provide the service they need, both full service and standard packaging from stock, from concept to complete product, including design and bespoke tooling should it be required.
You've moved recently, haven't you?
Yes, GCC recently purchased a new office in Tainan, in a quiet part of the city close to city hall. We needed more space to accommodate our office staff , the new place is about 400 square metres. The new office takes up three storeys: The first floor is for offices and reception, as well as a small staging warehouse in the back. The second floor is an open space we use as a photography studio, and we have a kitchen and dining area. We also use the space frequently for holding internal meetings, getting things together for shows, and holding training seminars. The third floor is my office and a meeting room.
What sort of products do you focus on now?
GCC is very strong when it comes to making plastic packaging for colour cosmetics - compacts, pots, jars, mascara and lipgloss containers, that sort of thing. We also have quite an extensive range of proprietary automatic pens that offer a whole array of different functions available for different uses. We release new designs and constantly, every year we have at least five to ten totally new concepts. We try to focus on designing different decoration options for a single product. That way we make it versatile and emphasize GCC’s capability to provide gorgeous decoration for our packaging. Our next releases will be a set of new slim click/twist lipstick containers and airtight lipstick cases.
Do you offer turnkey products?
That's not really what we do. We don't keep dozens of items ready to go, though we do have some items we can ship out. We focus on developing custom products and packaging. We excel at developing projects for customers, no matter how much of that project they need done. We have a team of experienced packaging engineers that know exactly what they're doing, they do a great job. For formulations, we have various contract partners with whom we work.
How do you come up with your creative decoration ideas?
Personally, I like to hop over to different shows, especially those that are not specifically about colour cosmetics. It gives me a whole new perspective on how to bring different techniques from various sectors together. When you approach package design and decoration in a different way, when you work outside the box, it gives packaging a new liveliness, a new vision. You get new insight on what beauty products could become. I also like to observe window displays, they often tell great stories and they lead me to ideas I would have never considered.