Do you challenge yourself and the level of work that you produce to refine your product development skills?

Let’s talk about concept development writing for a moment.  An integral piece to product development.

I was fortunate to have one particular employer during my career (a boss), that encouraged me to look more outside the box, than within the box, when developing concepts for products. 

Outside the box, innovation, forward thinking, thought leader - they’re all clichés.  Yet,  they’re also the terms we use to get out of ourselves and our normal approach to doing things in order to better refine and solidify our skill sets.

I’ll never forget the incident that pushed me out of my usual approach to concept development, the moment that made me stop and take a closer, more critical look at my work. After submitting a skin care concept to my boss, it was returned with massive comments all over the ideas I worked so hard to develop! I recall looking at the paper, and saying “wow” out loud !  I was surprised.  I really thought that I had turned over a pretty good concept.  In that moment,  I was immediately transported back to the days of being corrected by my elementary school English teacher.

What did I do?  I said - “I’ll do it again." I pushed past my hurt pride and began an intense revision process. And then, the “aha!” moment I was hoping for...I understood that the product needed to have “life."  I was very good at technical writing, but this needed needed to be told from a deeper or inner place that was relational to the consumer.  It needed a romantic story that captured people’s attention and opened up their senses to want to explore the product more!  I began to dig deeper, carefully selecting words that were emotionally connected, while at the same time incorporating high-end technology in simple terms.

While the push to continuously revise concepts was a challenge for me at first, I continued to listen to my boss’s feedback and to work on my skills. I would rewrite concepts over and over, read them forwards, backwards, share them with coworkers for feedback  and change sentences around   until they clicked and had the magic that gave them life.

This sincere mentoring of my boss — and my reaching out for constructive criticism—paid off a few years later as I took on a new role for a brand that allowed me to proactively develop products for the skin care, color, and fragrance categories.  It’s a rare opportunity in the beauty industry to be given a role to develop cross-category.  Had I not stuck with pushing through the learning curves—risking being wrong, and using  constructive criticism to my benefit —my creative growth would have been stunted.  

What's your biggest challenge during concept development?

a) using romantic language to bring the product to life

b) writing about high-end technology in a consumer-friendly way

c) asking for and using constructive criticism to make your concept stronger

Want to challenge your work?  Ask for feedback from team members that you normally would not approach to critique it.  See what new ideas you can develop from taking a risk and challenging yourself.  

Need assistance or fresh ideas with concept  writing  ?  Contact   




Creating new ideas and concepts around promotional materials for beauty products can be daunting.

 The challenges? 

•   Creating a story different from competitive products
•   Aligning with trends
•   Telling an appealing ingredient story  
•   Engaging the consumer  
•   Translating high-end technology to an understandable consumer      level

One way to get away from the mundane of creating an intriguing ingredient story is to literally step outside and examine your environment.

It’s October.  Apple picking season is in full swing.  Colorful pumpkins are adorning manicured gardens.  Fragrant smoky notes from backyard fire pits fill the cool, crisp nights with a familiar and cozy aroma that welcomes a chillier season.  If you’re reading closely, there are at least 5 ingredient concept ideas in this last paragraph…did you notice them?  

What better way to create a marketing ingredient story than around fall harvest-inspired ingredients that are familiar, comforting, and healthful? You can count on Fall coming back again next year - seasonal materials will always be on trend – no room for mistakes here!

To help tell the story of promotional materials to incorporate within beauty formulas, I reached out to a few industry raw material experts keen on trends and healthy ingredients.   

Janice Hart of Bell Flavors and Fragrances, which sources botanicals from all over the world, states, “As we are now in the Fall Season the following botanicals come to mind - Cranberry, Pomegranate, Yam and Pear. Mostly these extracts are known for their high anti-oxidant  or moisturizing properties. Each of these extracts have been launched in unique skin and body care products in the last year. So this season, you don’t have to source the globe for exotic materials in order to keep up with skincare trends. Instead, simply step outside and find fresh ideas in the familiar ingredients of your local harvest!” 

While focusing on the ingredients of the fall season, also consider today’s lifestyle. Health and wellness are prominent lifestyles that have moved from trends to ways of living. Products that protect the skin from the aggressors of urban living, pollution, and the environment continue to be desirable performance attributes for the consumer. 

Need ideas for healthy fall materials? Consider walnuts! Yes, Grenoble walnuts - green walnuts, sourced from the French Alps.  The walnut tree, is able to live up to 400 years, and is an example of a real challenge to aging. Over the centuries, it has protected the secret of its long life.  According to Lauren DelDotto, Marketing Manager at Gattefosse,  “Gatuline® Age Defense 2 is an active extract of Grenoble walnuts.”

And, how can we forget pumpkin this time of year?  The powerful orange fruit is, above all, rich in nutrients and is one of the fruits with the highest anti-oxidizing carotene content to which it owes its fine orange color. 

Using fresh pumpkin cells, not extracts, can be a unique way to talk about this powerful active.  “Fresh Cells™ are cellular suspensions of whole, fresh plant cells resulting from a mild and selective extraction process.”    According to DelDotto, “when Fresh Cells™ come in contact with the skin, they will degrade due to enzymes in the epidermis and physical application, and will sparingly pour out their precious content – protected, until that point, in a sort of natural microcapsule.”

Creating new concepts can be fun and challenging at the same time. But a simple walk around the block can help open your creative eyes to what’s possible.  

Need help creating product concepts using high-level technologies or familiar ingredients?  Contact   We can schedule a conference call to discuss some starting point ideas for your next beauty product launch.

Missed the last update? Check out what we’re up to at - click on the InnerEdge tab.


Product Development – How a Setback Became a First to Market Product

first to market concealer
first to market concealer

Speed to market, first to market … to market, to market, to market … how fast can we get there, and can we get there first?! 

A number of years ago, I was working with a third party lab on an under eye concealer project - one texture and five shades. While this type of out-of house development was unusual for my employing company at that time, the brand I worked on opened doors to collaboration with outside manufacturers. 

Mid-development, a financial issue arose between the vendor and the corporate company. Long story short, I was blocked from doing any further development work with the vendor.  My dilemma: I still needed to deliver a product to meet the calendar dates for Marketing - five skus for 4th quarter.  The products were scheduled in the calendar, they were in the budget, and development started—there was no time to rework the product calendar at this point. What to do?

And then—that aha! moment.  I thought outside of the normal color cosmetic development process and re-evaluated an anti-aging skin care formula that I helped develop a few years earlier.  It contained an encapsulated retinol release technology.  

My questions were:

 1.)  Can I use the skin care bulk as a concealer base? 
2.)  The bulk was white.  Will it hold enough pigment/color without drastically changing the texture?  
3.) Would the retinol technology in the skin care bulk still perform if pigment was added to the bulk? 
 4.) Could the product maintain anti-aging skin care claims and deliver color performance? 
 5.) Could this be first to market???  

With time tight and preliminary stability testing on its way, the R&D team bought into the idea immediately and started testing the product with pigment. And voilà!  We had a remarkable product to deliver that was better than the first concealer concept originally slated on the calendar! 

The final product was innovative, with skin care performance claims and color payoff.  The legal team confirmed that there was no other product on the market at that time with this type of performance.  You could say it was a CC under eye concealer way before its time!  

Are you looking for innovation?  Think about ways you can turn your current product development projects around to make them something even greater than your original concepts!

If you liked this post, keep an eye out for future posts on first to market product development. 

Missed the last update?  Check out what we’re up to at - click on the InnerEdge tab.