The clean beauty movement has taken social media channels by storm with influencers and celebrities promoting skincare products that are gentle on you and the planet. Consumers in their 20s and 30s are leading the way, showing interest in natural and organic beauty products when compared to older buyers. The clean beauty industry is set to hit $22 billion in the U.S. by 2024. In a 2021 NielsenIQ survey, 40.2% of consumers reported that when shopping for beauty products, natural ingredients were the most important criteria that influenced their choices, followed closely by environmental responsibility and reusable or recyclable packaging.
Aphtan Mellado stumbled upon The Paper Tube Co. before she ever dreamed of starting her own business. Instantly curious about the possibilities of a paper cosmetic push-up tube, the wheels started turning and her vegan lip balm idea began to take shape. Although she didn’t set out to create a clean beauty brand, Aphtan’s experience working in packaging, delivery, research, training, and design for several businesses prepared her for the realization that she could apply these skills to a business of her own. “Inspired by the kitsch art movement popularized in the 1950s, Kitsch x Kitsch combines sustainability with design without taking itself too seriously,” she explains.
As a self-taught graphic designer, she’d always been particularly fascinated by packaging. “I’ve seen an enormous amount of waste behind the scenes of too many businesses,” sighs Aphtan. “It was imperative that Kitsch x Kitsch be intentionally conscientious. Plastic is everywhere,” she laments. “But it doesn’t have to be. If it was possible to create an attractive, functional, and sustainable product, why wouldn’t I?”
With kitsch-inspired branding and simple vegan ingredients firmly in place, Aphtan focused on the design of the tube itself. In addition to being plastic-free, 100% recyclable, and made from 100% virgin pulp paper, the tube would also need to be user-friendly. “I’m not delicate with my everyday essentials, and I don’t expect others to be,” says Aphtan. “I need to be able to throw my lip balm in my back pocket and handle it frequently. The design needs to hold up.” With so many established brands to choose from, she knew setting her brand apart would be necessary to gain traction in a saturated market. “I figured combining natural ingredients with sustainable packaging and eye-catching design would be a great place to start,” Aphtan explains with a smile. “These are the things I love, and I hope others love them too.”
Seeing her designs come to life was extremely rewarding for Aphtan. “The UV spot printing adds an extra special detail that I’m particularly proud of, and knowing that both the box and tube are 100% recyclable is the icing on the cake,” she says while beaming. “I ultimately chose The Paper Tube Co. because of their transparency. These days, eco-friendly is used by nearly every company imaginable, but too often the claim lacks merit.” Aphtan’s background in production made her skeptical when considering sustainable packaging options. “For the average consumer who doesn’t have time to vet a company beforehand (and who can blame them), seeing those buzzwords is all it takes to make a final purchase,” she explains. “The Paper Tube Co. makes it clear they’re against greenwashing, and they make their manufacturing practices easily available on their website, while other companies make it hard to get the real story.”
As a one-woman show, Aphtan designs, makes, and ships her products, so trusting the environmental commitments of her suppliers matters. “It’s complex, and I continue to do my best as I navigate fair and sustainable alternatives. I want to make a difference.” At the end of the day, Aphtan’s motivation is to disrupt the industry. “I would love for my business to change the way we look at beauty product packaging, and I encourage others to do the same.”
After many twists and turns working for businesses owned by others, Aphtan is proud that Kitsch x Kitsch is finally a reality. “It’s not easy to stand out as a minority-owned beauty brand,” explains Aphtan. “I’m self-taught and designed every aspect myself, including the tube, box, formula, branding, and website animations. Of course, there’s no shame in asking for help, but I hope my story inspires others to feel empowered enough to bring their ideas to life!”
More than Paper Tubes
At The Paper Tube Co., we’re thinking beyond the tube. Our team is ready to bring your big ideas filled with passion to life with 100% recyclable and 110% reusable paper tubes. UV spot printing is just one of the ways we can elevate your custom-branded design to help your product stand out in the crowd. If you’re ready to create something special, we’re here to make it happen.
“I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with The Paper Tube Co. team. They answered every question I had throughout the process and set me up for success.”
– Aphtan Mellado, Founder of Kitsch x Kitsch
Custom 3-Piece Pushup Tube
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