GEKA is looking good

GEKA BRUSH develops and manufactures highly advanced brushes, applicators and packaging for the cosmetics industry, and is number one in the field of packaging for liquid colour cosmetics.

Based in Germany, the worldleading company is unsurpassed in developmental experience, product variety, cosmetic applicators and packaging technology, producing more than 200 million mascara packages each year.

Established as a family business in 1925, GEKA initially concentrated on the manufacture of brushes for different industries but slowly evolved to specialise in the development and production of premium brushes and applicators for the cosmetics industry. “Our main customers are all global cosmetics companies,” says global operations director Walter Schmidt. “They include Procter & Gamble, Avon, Chanel, Coty, Beiersdorf, Revlon, Estée Lauder and Boots, to name a few. We started by manufacturing milling brushes but during the 1960s the focus changed to cosmetic brushes and in the 1970s we extended our business from brush making to incorporate packaging for liquid colour cosmetics, adding processes such as  injection moulding, blow moulding, injection blow moulding, decoration and assembly.”

GEKA provides products linked to a range of cosmetics as well as specialised brushes for the dental hygiene industry. Production takes place in two manufacturing sites in Germany, in Bechhofen- Waizendorf and Wald-Michelbach, and one in Stanley, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK. Since 1999, the company has been owned by financial investors and the management team.

GEKA has developed different brushes varying in length, diameter, fibre types, fibre cross section, fibre cut, and the number of coils and twists. The company is committed to developing new fibre types and brush technologies through a strategic focus on R&D, which has led to a number of breakthroughs in brushes. In 2005 GEKA has launched their revolutionary Moltrusion Brush, which is the actual benchmark in mascara application worldwide. GEKA recently launched its “Hypno Brush”, a mascara wand that boosts the volume of eyelashes due to its three, four, six or eight-edge cut coupled with long bristles to ensure eyelash separation. Brushes can be manufactured to incorporate GEKA’s specially developed Sepa technology which transforms the usual rough, flat cut bristle end into the patented, chisel-like fibre shape, resulting in enhanced application.

GEKA offers packaging solutions in a variety of different sizes and colours to ensure it can satisfy any requirement and it provides many options to cosmetics houses around the world with regards to decoration. Hot foil stamping, the classic decoration technology for cosmetics packaging, is integrated in a fully automated high-speed production process and GEKA excels together with their partners in other techniques as well, including heat transfer, screen printing and lacquering.

Around 60 per cent of GEKA’s production is apportioned to customer specific designs says Walter: “We have a wide range of proven designs that we provide for our customers but we also develop products on demand with external designers or convert the customer’s design into a functional product.”

GEKA demonstrates its expertise in plastics engineering and cosmetics packaging design at industry exhibitions, a number of which are set to take place in 2007 including the Cosmoprof in Italy and Hong-Kong, LuxePack, Cosmeeting and InterCharm. “We are showing our products together with strategic partners,” explains Walter. “The purpose is to reveal our innovations and, in addition, we invite our key customers to a one-toone unveiling of new products.”

GEKA operates a lean supply chain to ensure maximum manufacturing efficiency. “We start by finding out what our key customers are planning to produce during a set period of time,” says Walter. “We own the inventory at their premises, profit from what they have sold during that period and then re-fill their warehouse up to a previously agreed limit for each component. Our manufacturing processes are adjusted so that we only produce stock on demand, which helps to make the process more efficient.”

GEKA received the New Jersey Packaging Executives Club (NJPEC) Award for the Package of the year 2006 in the category Packaging and Innovation. In 2006, GEKA also received the Business Excellence Award 2005/2006 from its client Procter & Gamble in recognition of GEKA’s outstanding technical and logistical capabilities, excellent partnerships in design development, and the invention of new brush moulding techniques. Walter believes that GEKA’s key strength is its ability to produce innovative, advanced products efficiently: “Our forward thinking focus on innovation means that we can provide flexibility, which together with the high level of quality and service that we provide, sets us apart from competitors.”

The company has strong growth potential due to its inventive designs and will expand as demand for superior cosmetics solutions increases. “For us, the future looks good because of our new brush technology,” comments Walter. “We will remain active in Europe and the US, and see potential in South America and Asia. We want to increase our ability to produce in the US but our strategy is to produce where the customer requires, so expansion depends upon where the highest demand is.”

Continuing, he concludes: “We have a five-year plan to achieve five per cent growth year-on-year and our main challenge will come in the way competitors react to our new technologies, which means we have to continuously create new innovations so that we can maintain our leading position.”

Geka Brush
Products: Cosmetic brushes, applicators and packaging
Sites: Germany and UK
Employees: 600