UT students brainstorm with L’Oréal

| Michaela Nesvarova

‘Because the Earth is worth it’. That is the title of a brainstorm session with L’Oréal held today in DesignLab. The cosmetics company has invited UT students to help them think of new floor displays that could be used in shops, including Kruidvat and Etos.

L’Oréal produces 25.000 floor displays a year in the Netherlands. These displays, which serve to highlight a specific product, can only stay in a store for two weeks before being thrown out and replaced with another brand’s display. ‘This means a lot of material is used briefly and then turns into waste,’ says Silvana Hoekstra, Retail Brand/ Marketing Manager at L’Oréal. ‘We want to optimize this.’

‘Sustainability is one of the main pillars at L’Oréal, but we are also a business and we need the instore promotion,’ says Ana Lee, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs and Sustainability Manager at L'Oréal. ‘We have spent last two years optimizing the displays internally and the ones we use now are as sustainable as possible. They are fully recyclable, but because they are handled by the retailers, we can’t control what happens with them. We are here today because we are looking for a breakthrough.’

‘That is why we decided to team up with students, who are not yet influenced by companies and restrictions of a daily job,’ continues Lee. ‘This is the first time we are organizing a brainstorm on sustainability with students. We connected with DesignLab through one of my old classmates, who told me about it. I was looking for a tool for recycling of plastics, which is something that has been done here.’

The challenge for the 24 participants of the brainstorm is to think of an innovative form of an instore promotion, which is as sustainable as possible, yet still attracts customers. They will pitch their ideas at the end of the day to the company’s representatives. Hopefully, there will be some that could be implemented by L’Oréal, says Hoekstra. ‘It depends on the pitches, but ideally we’d like to roll out some of the ideas presented here today.’