• Consumer & Luxury

Taoasis – Fragrances the natural way

Natural fragrance. That’s the promise of Taoasis, and they have chosen Billerud Artisan to package the promise.

One imagines that packaging was not the main issue in the beginning; the label just had to make clear that the product was aniseed or ylang-ylang. But now it is important for us to express our philosophy with the packaging", says Govinda Meyer, the founder’s son and the company’s marketing manager.

The German company Taoasis emerged out of a publishing house of the same name. In 1991 it published the Lexicon of Fragrances, which introduced the German public to the world of aromatherapy and essential oils. Its author, Axel Meyer, thought it would be a nice idea to offer the fragrances as well. He remembers now how the first bottles were filled – “by hand, on a round wooden table and without the required hair coverings and clean-room conditions.”

Customers back then were the sort of people who were looking for a life beyond the mainstream – free spirits who loved Indian music and meditation. But now, some 20 years later, the company’s products have found their way into more conventional medicine cabinets.

A year ago, the company moved to a new site in the small northern German city of Detmold. There it employs some 30 people, making fragrances that are exported to 21 countries.

The backbone of the Taoasis range is its essential oils, sold through pharmacies, but it has moved into perfumes and room fragrances, lozenges, cosmetics and insect repellents. An increasing number of its products are certified organic, and there is a range that is sold through organic food stores.

A special project is its “Cool School”, based on research that shows that with the right fragrance in the classroom, students’ concentration and learning results improve considerably.

The company, says Meyer, wants to be “as sustainable as possible,” so it was ready to listen when packaging converter Axel Wehrhahn suggested a new cartonboard that, as he puts it, “looks natural.”

Taoasis’s relationship with Adolf Wehrhahn Kartonagenfabrik of Hamelin near Hanover goes back some 15 years. They’ve worked together on lots of projects, and Wehrhahn knew that Taoasis wanted a carton that would underline the company’s image.

But the right cartonboard was not on the market. The company tried using paper, but although the product looked good, it didn’t really have the necessary stability.

Found the right thing with BillerudKorsnäs Artisan
The new cartonboard was Artisan. “When we saw it, we knew immediately that it was the right thing,” says Meyer. “You don’t have to explain that it’s natural.” Wehrhahn backs him up. “There’s nothing plasticky about the finish,” he says. “It gives an impression of nature.”

Artisan has just enough coating to ensure printability while retaining the matt appearance and silky feel of uncoated board.

Meyer says the company’s objective is to be as sustainable as possible, and the fact that the cartonboard is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council is an important element.

Taoasis is moving towards being a carbon-neutral company, so even if such issues are marginal, the minimal use of coating on the board and the FSC certification are steps in that direction. For the rest, the company gets its electricity from 100 percent renewable sources via Greenpeace Energy, and it buys carbon certificates for the co2 emissions it can’t avoid. It’s also working with Wehrhahn towards using only vegetable-based inks in the future.

By the end of the year, Meyer says, all its cartons and displays will be in the new board, but that means a new design.

One reason for the new design is that Taoasis is using 270-gsm board, where before it used 320 gsm. In addition the designers want to get rid of the awkward tuck-in lip of many of the old packages in favour of a sliding box, which is easier to open and also has that pleasing sense of discovery when you slide the cover and the product is revealed. You don’t have to scrabble around to lift the product out.

Wehrhahn says Artisan functions the same way as any cartonboard when it comes to folding and gluing, but it does require different treatment after printing. “We did find initially that it smudged because there was such a light coating,” he says. “But now we use a different lacquer and let it rest longer before we make it up further, and there’s no problem.”

Now, for the first time, the packaging matches the look of the matt FSC paper on which the catalogue is printed, so there is a clear identity in the whole of the company’s paper style – confirming the Taoasis message: “Best Quality – 100 % Nature.”

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