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EDITOR’S LETTER 3D printed product


Technology is available that will change the way spa and beauty suppliers formulate, make and distribute their products. If the leading brands stay ahead of the curve and protect their brands and the IPs relating to their formulations, exciting times lie ahead


T


his year’s Spa Foresight™ report from Spa Business magazine is just out, predicting the top 20 long-term trends we believe


will have a big impact on the industry. The list extends from robot therapists to


clean air rooms, edible environments to the development of wellness cities. One of the biggest potential opportunities


and threats we see for the industry comes from 3D printing and the technologies associated with it. Off -the-shelf sensors are now available which can ‘read’


a product and reveal its formulation – imagine these in the hands of customers and competitors. If you’re claiming your products are organic, or contain certain ingredients and you’re either lying or your quality control has allowed product to ship which doesn’t meet these standards, that fact will be laid bare for all to see. The second technology which will change the industry


is the 3D printing of the actual products. As soon as you’ve used your sensor to fi gure out the formula of a face or body cream, scrub or oil mix, you’ll be able to print it and bottle it for yourself, eff ectively dismantling the current business model of spa product suppliers. I imagine a time in the not too distant future when


spas can print any product on-site to order. That product will be fresher and cheaper, will save on pilferage and in some cases on storage, so the spa can allocate more space to revenue-generating activities. It will enable customisation and the rapid adoption of


new products, because suppliers will be able to remotely programme printers to make new formulations as soon as they’re created, without the need for manufacturing,


Sensors are available which ‘read’ a product and reveal its formulation. Imagine this in the hands of customers or competitors


bottling or shipping. They’ll also find entering new international markets easier, because products will be made to meet local regulations. If suppliers take advantage of this tech, we’ll see them


robustly defending their formulations and brands and bringing 3D product printer packages to market to enable spas to print and bottle their offi cial products. But if they don’t, they’ll discover the market is ripe


for disruption and in the same way the pharmaceuticals sector has been disrupted by the advent of generic drugs, so spa suppliers could fi nd they have rivals in the form of generic product houses who will create ranges of near- identical products at a fraction of the cost.


Liz Terry, editor twitter: @elizterry ■ Read Spa Foresight™ free online at spaforesight.com


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