INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA — South Korean cosmetics packaging maker Yonwoo Co. Ltd. has grown from $20 million in sales in 2002 to $150 million last year, and the company gives a lot of credit to one key strategy — a financial commitment to innovation in the often-fickle cosmetics industry.
The Incheon-based injection molding company maintains a staff of 30 industrial designers and mold and packaging engineers, which it said is unusual for a company of its size, and spends at least 8 percent of its turnover each year on research and development.
"It's a big number for us," said Daniel Cha, export sales manager. "This is one of the key factors that brings us success — we're never scared to open the wallet. We are really a tech¬nology- and innovation-orient¬ed company."
The company claims to be the first in South Korea to develop cosmetic lotion pumps and airless cosmetic containers, and its design team is responsible for producing 30 new product ideas a month and then weeding out the best for its catalogues.
Beyond the focus on R&D, Yonwoo has seen its business significantly internationalize since 2008, to the point that it's now looking seriously at setting up its first production outside Korea.
It has close partnerships in product development and marketing, with separate companies in the U.S. and Europe: Beverly Hills, Calif.-based PKG Group, made up of managers of the former Los Angeles-based Seda Specialty Packaging Corp.; and Barcelona, Spain-based Quadpack Group.
Plastics News recently sat down with Yonwoo and PKG executives to discuss the firm's rapid growth, its global plans and how it sees South Korea as one of the top spots in the world for developing skin-care products, and consequently, the packaging that goes with it.