Innerbottle was founded by CEO Steve Oh, a former patent lawyer, who developed a mechanism to solve the problem of residue waste in cosmetic products with special silicone balloon-like insert. This ‘innerbottle’ ensures that the outer shell clean and ready for recycling.
The firm will open for investment the week after its debut at Cosmopack Asia in Hong Kong, where its product has received plenty of interest from visitors.
Oh believes Innerbottle covers the limitations of other sustainable packaging solutions available now.
“For instance, reusing ocean plastics, while important, has limitations in cosmetics. The major problem is that there is no traceability. You don’t know where it came from or what chemicals were used to treat it.”
The company has previously partnered with one of the top K-beauty brands, Missha to bring Innerbottle to the mass market.
“We did a project with one of the top K-beauty companies, Missha from Able C&C. But the intention was not to debut in the market. We just wanted to prove that we can mass manufacture Innerbottle,” said Oh.
Aiming for the top
Oh told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that it frequently receives requests from South Korean brands but has plans to target global multinationals.
“We’ve had enquiries from smaller, domestic companies but we are trying to slow it down because our strategy is to start from the top-level companies. We are currently in talks with almost every global cosmetic company and they are very receptive to the idea.
“We haven’t launched any products with them yet but it’s under development. Big companies have their own procedures and it takes time for them to apply our solution.”
He added that the mass market will probably see Innerbottle in the market in a year or so.
Currently, the company sees the most potential in the Americas and Europe, where there is high awareness for sustainability.
“Of course, markets like China are also important, but we want to penetrate the US and Europe first because it’s a lot easier for us to communicate with those brands because they already know the seriousness of sustainability,” said Oh.
The firm is looking to further develop the Innerbottle concept by improving on the material of the insert so it may hold perfumes potentially. Additionally, it hopes to increase the transparency of the insert.
“Right now, we want to make it more transparent, like glass. This is because brands want to show exactly what’s in the bottle so their consumers can see the exact colour of the formula, for example,” Oh explained.
Oh added that the concept was not confined to bottle packaging. The firm has already developed jars and cushion compacts with the same technology.
“Cushion compact packaging dries out easily and is [susceptible] to contamination. The biggest problem is that you waste a lot of residue and we believe we have managed to solve all those problems by applying our solution.”
Currently, it also has tube-type packaging under development as well.
“We would like to make tubes because bottles are usually cylindrical or rectangular and cannot be packed easily for transportation compared to tubes,” said Oh.