Innovation is a word thrown around quite frequently these days. Every company seems to be claiming that their latest products are earth-shattering game changers, poised to revolutionize what consumers are interested in buying. In reality, only a few new launches truly fit this bill, and the others, well, not so much.
In the world of private label, innovation is coming from many directions and influences, and can be seen across a multitude of categories. Within this context, most experts agree that premium private-label offerings are driving much of the interest today.
This month, DSN’s Retail Excellence Awards, or REX, recognizes the top influencers in the private-label category that are helping retailers achieve all this and more within their private-label programs.
Calico Brands Ontario, Calif.-based Calico Brands has a long history of providing quality lighters in a wide variety of colors, styles and value. Its innovative, multipurpose lighters feature squeeze-grip ignitions, adjustable flames, flexible nozzles and wind-resistance flames. In addition, Calico Brands offers a wide array of sparkwheel and electronic disposable pocket lighters.
As one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of disposable lighters in the world, Calico Brands is a full-service company with a U.S.-based packaging and warehouse facility, featuring an in-house packaging design department, product testing and state-of-the-art packaging machines.
Executives said innovation is at the heart of how the company attracts and retains customers. “Offering the best lighter products in the industry is our inspiration to continue paving the way for new product innovation in the utility lighter and pocket lighter category,” said a Calico Brands marketing official. “Our product innovations continue to set new category standards of excellence and be a catalyst for our growth and success in the marketplace.”
Looking to set itself apart, Calico Brands focuses on producing quality products, abiding by industry standards and regulations, innovating to grow the category, and offering value and cost savings. Moreover, officials pointed out that their expertise and knowledge of the product category/industry, brand awareness/brand recognition, manufacturing and distribution capabilities, combined with its merchandising and promotional strategies, puts the company in a field of its own.
Chase Products Since 1927, Chase Products has manufactured a variety of aerosol products from disinfectants and insecticides to cleaning products and paints, as well as personal care items and craft and hobby sprays. A leader in the “Made in America” movement, all of the raw materials Chase uses are sourced from the United States and manufactured and assembled at its Midwest plant.
Chase is a partner with more than 50 different retailers across the country to provide private labeled national brand equivalent products. Its position as a manufacturer of EPA-registered disinfectants, particularly those which kill cold and flu viruses comparably with the national brand, has helped establish it as a preferred source for retail and professional private-label formulations.
Chase Products has a lengthy history of innovation in aerosol products. Initially manufacturing and distributing pesticides, Chase was the first company to manufacture spray paint, the first to develop hair spray and package spray starch, and the first to formulate and manufacture an antiperspirant in aerosol form. In 2011, Chase introduced Champion Sprayon Green World N, the first full line of EPA Safer Choice-certified continuous-spray green cleaning products. In 2015, Chase launched its Home Value brand, 20 Made in America cleaning and personal care aerosols for the dollar/discount store market.
“Private label is no longer just about having a much better price,” said Judy Albazi, president and CEO of the Broadview, Ill.-based company. “Now it is about having a great price and great quality, so that consumers will always consider all of the alternatives. We are proud of the fact that many of our clients have been with us for 60 years, and have no hesitations in marketing products manufactured by our company.”
Edgewell Personal Care With roots dating back to 1875, Edgewell Private Brands Group has a long history of leading the way in wet shaving. As part of the Edgewell Personal Care business, the company’s commitment to quality and innovation makes it uniquely positioned to take store brand wet shaving to the next level.
“We continue to focus our efforts on quality, innovation and delivering unsurpassed product performance,” said Tom Parker, senior channel manager at the Shelton, Conn.-based company.
Edgewell’s long-term goal, Parker said, is to help its retail partners deliver great store brand razors with meaningful value for their shoppers. Whether helping to create a winning national brand equivalent portfolio or a more differentiated approach to the store brand mix, Edgewell’s strength is in offering customized programs to meet a variety of needs. This approach has helped make them the top-ranked supplier of private-label shaving products in the United States.
“We pride ourselves on being flexible and responsive to retailer and customer requirements,” Parker said. “We work closely with our retail partners to ensure we always offer innovative shaving solutions that will meet business objectives by exceeding consumer expectations.”
Garcoa Labs Garcoa Labs is the largest woman-owned private label, control label and contract manufacturer in the United States, according to company officials. Among other things, its commitment to quality, service, value and innovation has helped this company stand apart in a crowded field. From product and ingredient research to marketing insight and manufacturing, Garcoa has become known for creating and developing programs that are innovative and exclusive.
From concept to shelf, the Calabasas, Calif.-based company has a broad expertise in all aspects of brand and product development within a range of categories, including skin care, hair care, men’s shaving and grooming, multicultural beauty care, foot care, bath and body, artisan crafted bar soaps, baby care, and over-the-counter topicals, along with light household, limited vitamins and powder products. Always innovating, its newest offering is a line of nutritional gummy products.
Capitalizing on the interest in natural beauty products, the company recently expanded its Nature’s Beauty portfolio to include skin care, hair care, and body and luxury bath items, all featuring plant-based, nature-derived formulations.
“Our success is tied to being an innovative, ethical, all-inclusive supplier of products and programs that foster a strong partnership,” said Gregory Rubin, CEO of Garcoa. “In addition, we believe in the importance of working with our retailer partners and being transparent about what it takes to build a strong, successful private-label program.”
Global Tissue Group Officials at Medford, N.Y.-based Global Tissue Group believe that treating every retail customer as a member of their family helps play an important role in setting their company apart from others offering private label bath tissue, facial tissue, napkins and paper towels.
Global Tissue Group offers paper products across three tiers — standard, premium and ultra premium. Company officials pointed out that providing value, quality and consistency are at the center of their business model. Their belief is that by creating compelling user experiences, the company can