Techniplast is a pioneer in luxury fragrance refills for retail and consumer use. Loïc Bouet, the French supplier’s Sales Director, talks about this high-growth market in an excerpt of our upcoming feature interview in the Fall issue of Formes de Luxe.
Techniplast was originally dedicated to the design of plastic injection molds.
Yes, our two founders, Jean-Philippe Lamboux and Yvan Poullain, who are still at the head of the company, set up a design office for plastic injected products and molds, a service they offered to their former employer, Valois (now Aptar). This evolved over the years and we began offering refill solutions via our standard accessories, caps and valves and our customized patented technical solutions.
We are unique in that our design office is at the heart of our activity for brands looking for technical solutions, allowing us to respond to new consumer gestures and specific market demands.
Is there a strong demand from your brand partners?
Absolutely. We work closely with our clients’ Innovation and Development departments, but we’re also looking to have more exchanges with the marketing teams to better meet the expectations of the end consumer. Our goal is to distribute fragrance cleanly and safely, and without overflowing of course. It's a gesture that must be intuitive and almost magical... and it's pure technique that makes that happen!
Technically, how do your refill formats work?
Our retail solution is a POS display in which a perfume refill is positioned upside down. The fragrance bottle to be refilled must be equipped with a screw pump to enable the tube to be inserted into the neck of the bottle, which is then placed under the valve and is pushed up to fill. When the fragrance level reaches the tube, the lack of air immediately stops the flow. This patented valve, which is customizable, is called RT-Stop.
In addition to retail solutions, you also offer individual refill systems.
Yes, the screw-pump bottles are refillable in store, but the customer can also buy a refill to fill their bottle at home. This is the idea behind RT-Twist, a clean and safe patented solution. Our first RT-Twist application was designed for By Kilian in 2018, but we had previously worked with the same technology for Kerastase haircare products.
This year, we developed RT-Twist for new references including Sauvage EdT (Parfums Dior) and My Way (Armani).
How is this solution designed?
We created a cylindrical component with two ducts inside the cap—one for perfume and the other for air—that fits inside the neck of the flacon. The fragrance flows through one of the openings to rise to the level of the air intake duct. When the air duct is blocked, the fragrance stops flowing and the cap closes again when it is unscrewed.
We also have a solution for crimped pumps.
RT-Spout, another Techniplast solution, replaces the classic funnel filling method.
Yes, it’s one of our standards, which is basically an RT-Twist cap that remains open. The pouring spout allows for the clean transfer of the perfume from a bottle with a cap to another format. It screws onto the bottle in the place of the pump and serves as a pourer; when it is full the flow stops. This is an ideal solution for travel use.
How do you refill bottles with crimped pumps?
Basically there is a single opening on a crimped pump, the vent hole, which is a component in all atmospheric perfume pumps and is an air inlet for the perfume. The bottle is placed upside down, it is filled through the vent hole and the air is evacuated through the tube. In this case there is no need for gravity as it’s the pump that transfers the fragrance from the refill to the bottle. Our first application was for Louis Vuitton fragrances in 2016.
What are your developments currently underway?
Today we’re working on the notion of dosage. Regulations are extremely strict regarding the volume, so if a brand claims that a refilled bottle is 100ml it can’t contain just 99ml. Our point-of-sale refill solutions currently work with the human eye: the sales advisor is the one who decides when the bottle is full; she has markings on the bottle.In a bid to make this as precise as possible, by the end of the year, we will offer our customers a dosing solution that fills the bottle to the exact measurement.
A dosing solution for flacons with screw pumps is also underway. This year, we also worked a lot on refill solutions for on-the-go formats, such as Diptyque's travel spray.
Read the full interview with Loïc Bouet in the Fall issue of Formes de Luxe.