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Bath cupcakes blend trends

This personal care product manufacturer shifted package design and structure to accommodate both a new product, and a new channel.

Sky Organics Bath Bomb Cakes
Sky Organics Bath Bomb Cakes

Sky Organics, Miami Beach, FL, produces certified organic personal care products in the oils, butters, beauty, and bath accessories niche. A line that caught national retailers’ attention, called Bath Bombs, combined aromatics and fizzy factors for a fragrant bath. Amazon and Walmart were impressed and began selling the product in their channels. Packaging for this product cleverly mimicked a somewhat sinister crate of dynamite, which was robust enough for Amazon’s e-commerce shipping needs and Walmart’s inventory and shelving needs.

To follow up on this success, Sky Organics’ owners, Steven and Dean Neiger, created a variation of the Bath Bomb product in the size and shape of a large, colorful cupcake. The bath cupcake has two parts: The upper frosting portion twists off from the bottom cake, and each is used differently in the tub. The upper portion forms bubbles under the tap, the bottom—made from the same material as the original Bath Bomb—releases fragrance and oils in the bathwater. The company floated a prototype of what it called the Bath Bomb Cake, and Walmart wanted to sell it.

The Neigers realized that the packaging would have to change. Given how fast Walmart moves, Sky Organics didn’t have much time to hone a new package design on Amazon or on its own website. They also recognized that e-commerce wasn’t the same as retail. This wasn’t necessary on Amazon, where people might buy the product before seeing the packaging. Walmart customers would need to see the photogenic product inside the packaging as it sat on the shelf.

“It’s a fun item, but a consumer in the store is going to walk by it for half a second, so it needs to quickly convey that fun, colorful nature,” Dean Neiger says. “Walmart, grocery chain, and gift store packaging requires more of a shelf impact.”

Regardless, the existing dynamite-case-themed package made for Bath Bombs, made to look like a sturdy wooden crate, wouldn’t work for cupcakes. A pack that reflected a bakery box, though, seemed like a homerun. But an actual bakery box designed for real baked products couldn’t hold up to Sky Organics’ and Walmart’s storing, shipping, and shelving needs. So the brothers again turned to package design firm JKG Group.

“JKG Group was recommended to us by a large beauty products distributor, and we were very happy having worked with them on the dynamite-themed boxes. So we reached out to them again with our bakery box idea to make it a reality. We needed help in further designing, then printing and assembling the Bath Bomb Cake product packaging,” Dean Neiger says. “It wasn’t easy; we had to make sure the package was the exact size to keep product from moving around inside, and make sure the window would stand up to shelf stacking in retail aisles. There was a lot of trial and error, but JKG helped us a lot in making it happen.”

The biaxially-oriented PET window of the package enables potential purchasers to see the lifelike bath cupcake, which makes the product even more enticing on the shelf. The package also features colorful graphics and icons mimicking actual bakery messaging, for instance that it’s cruelty-free and handmade in the USA, and listing ingredients and instructions for use.

To make the box, converter JKG uses four-color offset printing on a Heidelberg Speedmaster CD102. Paperboard is 24 pt. and made from 10% recycled material. The window, which is 3-mil Mylar, is applied in the second pass. It’s sheet-fed, two-up, then die cut.

Currently, the bakery-themed boxes are hand-erected and hand-filled. “Hand-made is something we are proud of, and it also helps us with our quality control,” Dean Neiger says. “Each Bath Bomb or Bath Bombs Cake is individually shrink wrapped in a Heat Seal HDX250 L seal bar machine, but everything else is done manually.”

The product hit more than 1,500 Walmart stores in March 2018. A four-pack retails for $19.88.

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