In Closing: Showing Off
Need inspiration? Stop by this whimsical showroom for some ideas.
Walk into the showroom at Roberts Cosmetic Containers (Chatsworth, CA), and you may forget for a moment that package design for the beauty industry is a serious business. You can check out your hair in a funhouse mirror, or just sit back on an oversized couch and take in the scenery of lighted pink flamingos, a glitter lava lamp, and an avant garde lighted glass flower. Once your eyes have adjusted, you'll understand why you came—to see thousands of bottles, tubes, caps, closures, compacts, and other containers and components in almost every possible style, color, and texture. You'll even find some finished products on display, the progeny of designers whose visit may have sparked their creation.
Suppliers of packaging components often maintain showrooms, but few resemble that of Roberts Cosmetic Containers. The showroom was the vision and realization of Mitch Roberts, president and CEO, who died suddenly this past November. Shortly before his death, CPC Packaging editors got the chance to tour the showroom with Roberts as he shared his vision. "I tried to make it a little extraordinary, going beyond the standard showroom with glass shelves," explained Roberts. "We've tried to make it a fun, creative place where people can walk around and see a different array of things in all different colors and finishes."
Roberts said that a visit to the showroom can help designers find the right components. "A picture is worth a thousand words, but having designers hold the packaging components in their hands is worth even more," he said. And, while trade shows are certainly good opportunities for displaying components on the road, Roberts "can show a lot more in the showroom, and can lay it out better. If someone wants to see something in a particular color or finish, we've got everything here at our fingertips." Such a multitude of options helps designers create a custom look, even if the components are stock.
The showroom plays host daily to designers from all over the country. Even executives from hip companies like Stila (now part of Estée Lauder) and Hard Candy have visited, as well as a few celebrities who have inspired their own lines. Soap opera star Katherine Hickland and actress Pamela Anderson have each stopped by when brainstorming about their own product lines.
Roberts's showroom—2500 sq ft and counting—is always changing and expanding. Roberts often brought to the room new finds from his business trips around the world. Ultimately, Roberts wanted his showroom to be an exciting, yet comfortable place for designers. "We just want to show package designers that we understand their business," he said. "It's not just the creativity of the packaging—it's also the creativity in how the package is displayed. Our showroom has its own design, uniquely packaged in its own right."
Mitch Roberts, president and CEO of Roberts Cosmetic Containers, died suddenly on November 14, 2001, while visiting Hong Kong on business. Roberts founded the firm in 1983; under his leadership, Roberts Cosmetic Containers has become a leading supplier of containers and packaging components to the cosmetic industry. The company will continue to follow his direction and vision, and remains committed to the creativity, value, and service for which he was known.