It's a particularly exciting time at Louvrette right now. The German company is expanding and is about to take over a new factory. It has also unveiled a brand new logo and has some inspiring new items in the pipeline for next year. Fabian Erlhoefer, the second generation to run the family business, chats to Webpackaging about all of the exciting changes that are happening at Louvrette right now.
Can you give us an insight into Louvrette's history?
Louvrette is and has always been a mid-size family owned company. My father and uncle founded the company in 1964 and then I took over the reins 10 years ago.
There are many things which have changed since the company was established and other features which were forward thinking at the time which still remain in place today.
From the beginning Louvrette has had all of its capability in-house. Tooling, moulds, machinery, assembly and some of the decoration have always been done in-house under one roof. Louvrette's competition does not usually work in this way, but we have all the capability to manufacture more or less everything in-house.
During the first 30 years of business, Louvrette worked in the colour cosmetics market, developing powder compacts and was one of the top 3 suppliers in Europe for that type of product. As other countries started to encroach on our business, we evolved the business and worked towards changing the focus to the production of high-end plastic jars.
We introduced thick wall jars into our product offering during the 1990s and then in 2009 expanded our portfolio with airless dispensers and HDPE bottles. Until then, we'd been recognized as a specialist in the production of high end jars and that's when we became what we are today - a full line provider. Then, 2011 saw the introduction of our airless jars and in 2014 we included PET bottles in our portfolio. Our customers don't come to us looking for an individual product; they come to us looking for a full range of products.
Over the last decade, our number of employees has tripled as has our turnover. This expansion has led us to where we are today. Two months ago, the company made its first acquisition. We bought Vallo & Vogler along with a partner, allowing us to improve our value chain by adding lacquering and metallization. We've also bought a factory opposite our current location which we can move into at the end of the year. We're at capacity now and need the larger factory so that we can further our growth in the future. It's a very exciting time for Louvrette.
Is the recent Louvrette rebrand related to the company's expansion?
The rebranding is indirectly related to Louvrette's expansion because the logo needed updating and modernizing in the same way that the company is experiencing physical changes right now.
We started working on a new style a year ago and the result is a Yin and Yang corporate design, as it's available in 2 versions - a female and a male version. Male staff members will have a business card that is black with dusky pink text, while the ladies will have a rose-coloured card featuring black text. We've also updated our catalogue in this way so the appropriate one may be chosen.
Design & Packaging has been changed to Design x Packaging. We've changed the ampersand for an X - as "x" is the new "and"! It's something which the fashion industry and journals are already embracing and really enhances Louvrette's place at the forefront. It has been a significant change as technically the company name changed and the new name had to be registered.
We have also made the V in the logo into an icon - an upside-down pyramid. Our Creative Director, Vadim Richert, associates the name Louvrette with the Louvre. He has embraced the shape of the V, inspired by the well-known pyramid at the Louvre museum.
What are Louvrette's main markets?
Since the beginning, Louvrette has had presence in the international cosmetic and beauty industry. The main market for the company is Western Europe which is currently 80% of the business but we see plenty of potential to expand, particularly in the US.
We work in the mass, masstige and prestige markets, however the majority of our customers are masstige and we are very well established within that market.
How do customers benefit from working with Louvrette?
One of the principal benefits for Louvrette's customers is that we are a system supplier, able to offer full lines of products. The customer has a single point of contact and we are their one-stop-shop from concept through to product launch. As we take care of everything, the customer saves both time and money.
At Louvrette we know our products very well and can offer customers exactly what they need. A client can choose whatever product they wish and whatever finish they select - colour, material, wall thickness - we can ensure a perfect fit and look across the range. Our customers' expectations of us are very high, particularly with our primary market being masstige, and we ensure that we live up to and surpass expectation each and every time.
This is also a benefit for customers that decide to expand upon their range in the future, after it has launched. Customers can choose the appropriate size and shape product from our portfolio and we do the rest to ensure that the new item will fit the branded range perfectly. At Louvrette, we make it very easy for our customers.
There is also the fact that we remain a family-owned company. Customers want stability, and being family-owned, the decisions and strategy of the company are long term, oriented to the customer. We've maintained constant, high quality throughout the decades and our staff have high expectations on themselves to deliver a perfect product each and every time. As a small-to-mid-sized family owned company, we're passionate about what we do and that is where our claim Cosmetically Yours stems from - our reaching out and giving the best to our customers. It's one of the major differences between a family-owned company and a larger organization: You can see the passion in our work. We like what we do and customers notice that. We love packaging!
How do customers choose their product line? What is that process like?
Louvrette has an excellent mix of products, so that when a customer wants to create a branded line, they may choose from thick wall jars, airless dispensers and bottles. We then prepare the full range for the customer.
We've got a number of standard line shapes which means that when ordering a minimum of 10,000 pieces the customer can choose the shape they wish and then select the material, surface treatment, colour, decoration and finishing. Once they have chosen the shape and volume that they require, they can then make it their own because of their individual specifications.
In general, I think that few people want something standard: Everyone wants something unique. By personalizing a standard shape, however, we can make the same basic product can look very different because of the finish and decoration.
Are you working on anything new?
We've just presented a new jar concept for the mass market to some of our customers, which is receiving interest. We're also working on a new standard line that will be introduced into our portfolio and launched next year.
There's also a brand new concept that will be launched next year too. We're at the end phase of developing a packaging concept for formulations that usually use a dropper. As it's a new concept, I can't say anything else at the moment, but this new packaging will be a major highlight for the company next year.
Where can customers see these new developments?
At Louvrette, we usually attend a number of trade fairs each year to present our products. Next year, because we plan to have many new highlights, we will be exhibiting at a number of fairs all around the world. We always attend LuxePack Monaco, CosmeticBusiness in Munich and Cosmoprof Bologna. Next year, we will also add Cosmoprof in Las Vegas and Hong Kong, PCD in Paris, and LuxePack New York into the mix. Exhibitions allow us to present our portfolio and show how the different finishes can set the same product apart.
Furthermore, as an exhibition brings together so many people in one location, we can show our latest innovations to specific customers, especially when we feel that a new product will fit a client's portfolio - it's a great way to offer a special preview of the product.