Welcome to the wild world of personal care product manufacturing. We’re about to fill you in on some lesser known secrets of this world. Teaser: your pricey, “all natural” lip balm may in fact be a generic formulation used by bunches of other personal care product companies. It ain’t all that special.
What is co-packing?
Co-packing, or contract packing, happens across industry during the manufacturing and production phases of a product. At its core, co-packing can assist brands in saving money when they start to expand product lines. This happens across the food, cosmetic, and household goods industries, as well as many others.
Essentially, a brand will bring its formulation to a contract packager in hopes that they will be able to produce the product and package it for less cost than the business could do on its own. Co-packers are able to keep costs down for a variety of reasons that might inadvertently impact the companies that work with them. Co-packers often have long-tenured ties with ingredient and packaging companies that allow them to source items on the cheap. If personal care product companies want a certain brand of coconut oil because of its sustainable practices or desire a recyclable deodorant twist stick, the contract packager may not be able to deliver cost-effective options.
Additionally, co-packers take on many brands that often make similar products. A co-packer is a business as well and will run in a way that makes it a substantial profit. If a product isn’t a top money maker for the co-packer, it may get placed further down the production schedule. This drastically impacts the loyal customer base that fuels small companies and can make it tricky to deliver high quality products, consistently.
What is private labeling?
Private labeling companies provide a book of formulas from conventional all the way to certified USDA organic that personal care brands can choose from when expanding their product lines. When looking to expand their deodorant scents or lipstick flavors, the cosmetic or personal care product company will select a formulation created by the private labeling company and then slap their own label on it. It’s easy for well-known brands to make even more money this way because of the trust given by a dedicated client base. The trusted brand isn’t required to disclose whether they made the formula or not. The buyers trust that they will like, believe in, and use the product because of their loyalty to their favorite brands.
Why can co-packing be a bad thing?
Businesses who choose to co-pack may be looking to cut corners on costs. In doing so, they hand over control of their formulation and filling process. Ultimately, their name is on the final product, but they are not overseeing any part of their product’s creation. While a co-packing facility may claim to operate sustainably, pay workers well, or use the utmost care in sanitary practices, there seemingly is no way to tell.
Both can be rather opaque.
Luxury brands often dupe the very people they aim to serve by using standard formulations, created by private labeling companies. They may make it their own by tweaking a flavor or scent variety - if the private labeling company allows them to do so. Then, the brand will slap their label across it and push it out to their loyal following. That drugstore leave-in conditioner that costs $7 may be the exact same formula sold at a high-end salon for $37.
In a similar vein, co-packing is often chosen because of its cheap nature. Co-packers need to make money as well and may seek to shave costs off medium to large-scale production runs, so they will choose the lesser quality, less costly packaging option. Usually, this doesn’t mean sustainable, recyclable, or biodegradable.
It’s no secret that cutting costs most often negatively affects the entry level bracket of employees and the customer base while rarely impacting C-suite members. Co-packers abroad and stateside may not pay a living wage for the area in which their employees live. Production line manufacturing is no cake walk and, if co-packers promise short lead times, their employees must pay the price.
Does Pit Liquor co-pack or private label?
We’ll give you one guess. We don’t. Now, we’re not trying to knock companies that do. Many co-packing facilities and private labeling companies prioritize employees health and well being, conduct impeccable procedures, and have high standards for protecting intellectual property rights of the brands they work with.
However, it’s inherently risky to pass off something as your own when it actually isn’t. It’s a lesson we learned in sixth grade after copying the math homework only to find that your friend has no idea how to multiply fractions.
We let it all hang out.
Meaning, we keep our process out in the open. Our Pit Liquor deodorant is formulated and filled in the same facility, by actual people whose names we know and birthdays we celebrate. We are friends with our ingredient suppliers and pay a living wage that allows our team members to take care of their kiddos, buy quality food, and pay the rent.
Our bottles are clear, like our conscience. When we say that our customers are supporting sustainable practices by purchasing Pit Liquor, we know this is true. We don’t have to grit our teeth and cross our fingers. We know where and how our waste, recycling, and compost gets disposed of. We know who is mixing our deodorants.
When you buy Pit Liquor, you’re not supporting some far away co-packer or private labeling making the same item for countless other brands. You’re supporting a small-scale lavender farm. You’re supporting working moms who want to raise families and make good, healthy products. You’re supporting the longevity of this spinning blue dot we all call home. So, what are you waiting for? Get some Pit Liquor!
Some people claim that you have to detox your pits before a new natural deodorant really works. Is that true?
It all comes down to trust
At the end of the day, you are wise, you have good intuition. You have to go with a company you trust because you don't have time to wade through the research papers on every single item you will ever come in contact with.