2009 Editors’ Choice Award Winner: Cosmetics
Mary Kay Compact and Compact Pro
by Mary Kay
With one sleek black compact, Mary Kay reinvented itself. “This compact was a much larger brand-image effort for our company,” says Yvette Franco, vice president of U.S. marketing for Mary Kay. “It was all about keeping our image modern and contemporary—and reaching new customers.”
Prior to the redesign, the brand’s compacts—platinum-colored squares—were nice, but not unusual. The new compacts are anything but standard. Sloping gently like a wave, the shape of the new compacts is sleek—aerodynamic, almost.
There are two versions of the compact. A purse-sized version, simply called the Compact, holds numerous pans of color cosmetics, applicators, and a container of lipstick or lip color. A larger version, called Compact Pro, holds more of those products, as well as a bottle of mascara and eye and lip pencils. Qualipac and Toly’s Malta division produced the Compact, while Qualipac was the sole supplier of Compact Pro. Other suppliers included Alcan Packaging Beauty for lip gloss and mascara bottles, Axilone for lipstick containers, Weckerkle for pencils, and Qualipac and RT Sourcing for the applicators.
Qualipac also handled the design work with Mary Kay’s team and Kenneth Hirst, president of Hirst Pacific Ltd. One of the goals was to keep the compacts as slim as possible. The compacts were injection molded from ABS-grade SAN and have a magnetic closure.
Like Mary Kay’s original compacts, the new compacts are refillable thanks to magnets in their base that hold metal pans in place. Unlike the original compacts, however, the new compacts’ magnetic base is one large square, allowing the compacts to be filled with any configuration of product pans. “Everything works off of that basic square,” says Franco.
The magnetic base was made from plastic with a magnetic additive, says Eric Vanin, vice president of sales and marketing for Qualipac. A lever on the side of the compacts helps customers lift the pans out. CPC Packaging awards panelist Scott Widro, vice president of manufacturing and materials management for Chanel, applauds the strong magnetic base, as well as the user-friendly lever.
On the purse-sized Compact, another unique feature is a rectangular cutout on the lid that allows a container of lipstick or lip gloss to protrude through. This cutout is sized precisely, preventing the container from falling out when the lid is closed. Both Widro and panelist John Alongi, senior manager, package engineering, mark, were impressed with this feature. “It’s a nice design touch, to see the lipstick in the opening of the cover and know that it will not fall out,” says Alongi.
Other unique points are Qualipac’s advanced heat-transfer decoration on the compacts’ lid, which was over-lacquered with an extremely hard protective coating. The Compact was also tested repeatedly using what Mary Kay calls its “purse test.” “We run internal tests that try to duplicate the abuse the compact might take in a woman’s purse,” says Lane Burtz, vice president of purchasing, package engineering, and transportation for Mary Kay.
“Customers love the fact that we’ve done a purse test,” says Franco.