The Wisconsin (U.S.)-based Sussex IM, has developed a breakthrough technology that brings the Internet of Things (IoT) to cosmetic primary packaging. The company, which is a specialist in the production of plastic injected packaging, recently introduced an ingenious system: a “marker” integrated in the label – actually embedded into the mould during the injection process – now allows consumers to directly connect to the company and its products. Its name: the Digital-in-Mold-Watermarked-Llabel solution. Sussex IM CEO Keith Everson tells us more…
Premium Beauty News – A few words about your company…. And what does “IM” stand for?
Keith Everson – IM stands for Innovative Manufacturing, as well as Injection Molding. The Company has a long history. It is a spin-off of Hartland Plastics, which was acquired in 1963 by Revlon to develop makeup compacts and cosmetic packaging. In 1977, several individuals from Hartland Plastics started Sussex Plastics. Revlon became the first customer. The company was a value-added, entrepreneurial start-up focused upon cosmetic packaging innovation. In 1999, the company was bought by the Rexam Group. This was a strategic acquisition for Rexam that needed a best-of-breed North American cosmetic packaging site to fit into their global cosmetics strategy. Over the next 10 years Rexam grew its plastic sector to 72 plants with sales of $2.2 billion. In 2010 Rexam, decided to begin divest of its plastic sector and sold Sussex to us, and it became SussexIM.
Our strategy then became to work with a balanced group of global leading brands and focus on innovation, from market focus to solving universal consumer problems.
Premium Beauty News – A few key figures?
Keith Everson – We currently employ some 400 employees and we plan to hire 30-40 employees in 2016. Our turnover in 2015 was US$65 million and the objective for 2016 is to reach US$70 million. Our primary investment in 2015 was the acquisition of Mogo (an innovative flavoured/scented mouthguard, a company we helped develop) for more than US$1 million. They created the exclusive, long-lasting Mogo Flavor Technology. In 2016, we plan to invest between US$ 5-10 million, which includes the development of a new facility (also based in Sussex).
Premium Beauty News – What is your strategy, in a few words?
Keith Everson – We want to grow in the cosmetic market and double our sales. Sales in that sector currently represents US$10 million, and our objective is to reach the US$20 million mark, by concentrating on North America and, in particular, the U.S. market. To reach this objective, we will obviously rely on innovation, particularly through our mastery of in-mould labelling.
Our new digital-in-mold-watermarked-label development is now available for commercialization. The appeal of this technology is great for brands looking to connect to their consumers via their iPhone and to build a Brand community linking social-media to the brand.
The process is cost- and time-efficient, and opens new brand-building horizons. It is a fantastic opportunity for a brand to be connected with customers. It is more than a QR code; it can be connected to a website. You have to load the Digimarc app to try it.
One of our additional strengths is our mastery of digital-in-mould-labels to provide flexible quick change decoration that offers gloss, matte, and soft-touch laminations.
Interview by Jean-Yves Bourgeois