Why Target scientist loves to innovate

Lawrence Aylward
Editor In Chief
Lawrence Aylward profile picture
Robin Beck: "I love hearing and learning from people and their experiences of what makes their lives challenging and easy."

The nine women being honored for the 2019 Top Women in Store Brands epitomize what every company in America wants in an A-list employee, no matter the gender. They are diligent, industrious, committed and conscientious, among other superlatives that could be used to describe them.

Each year, Store Brands and Women Impacting Store Brand Excellence (WISE), a professional development organization, solicit nominations from the private brand industry to identify and honor a select few of these women through the Top Women in Store Brands program, which was created to provide well-deserved recognition for female professionals who have achieved exceptional success and bring a passion for store brands to their day-to-day activities.

For the past several days in Store Brands Today, we have profiled the winners of this year’s Top Women in Store Brands. Today is our final profile and is of Robin Beck from Target, winner of the Innovation Award.

CURIOSITY AND EMPATHY. That’s where Robin Beck draws her ideas to innovate for the products she develops as a senior scientist for Minneapolis-based Target.

Beck puts on her curious hat to learn more about what Target customers want in various products. She also empathizes with their needs.

“I love hearing and learning from people and their experiences of what makes their lives challenging and easy,” Beck says. “The challenges our guests face is what drives me to want to make products that help make their lives easier.”

Beck, along with many internal and external partners and plenty of Target customers, worked to develop a new baby diaper as part of Target’s Cloud Island brand. The diaper debuted last January.

“Through conversations with our guests, they shared over and over again that they are looking for premium, high-quality baby products at affordable prices. So we set out to create just that,” Beck says.

The diaper features a newly developed and trademarked Tri-Wrap fold, which has no middle crease and allows the diaper to cradle closely to a baby’s body for less sagging and a better fit, providing premium leak protection, Beck explains.

In addition to the improved fit, the compact fold makes the format smaller, which means diapers come in smaller packaging compared to regular diapers, creating less waste. It’s also the only diaper of its kind on the market, be it a brand or private brand.

The new innovation is said to be an “owned brand game changer” by industry experts, according to Target.

Beck’s partners in the project rave about her passion for product design. They say her dedication to her profession led her to develop “an effective product that is affordable and designed with a purpose.”

For her groundbreaking effort, Beck is receiving this award, given to a woman who has brought game-changing innovation to her company and/or the store brands industry through the introduction of new products, packaging, technology and other functional areas.

During the development of Cloud Island diapers and other products in the line, Beck says she consulted with thousands of parents to learn their wants and needs.

“I got to shop with them, they tested prototypes, and I even visited them in their homes to see firsthand how they use our products,” says Beck, who is in her ninth year at Target.

But launching any product is a team effort, Beck affirms.

“There will be some bumps in the road along the way, so having a great team made up of people who collaborate and trust each other makes a big difference,” she adds.

Other 2019 Top Women in Store Brands profiles:
• Angela LePore of Simmons Pet Food
• Julie Jevins of Albertsons' Cos.
• Lisa Schechterman of Great Lakes Cheese Co.
• Jill Truitt of TreeHouse Foods
• Hope Schoeffling of Camerican International
• Anitra Farmer of Topco Associates LLC
• Sarah Fair of Daymon

• Lisa Eatherton of John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc.

Editor’s note: To select the Top Women in Store Brands honorees, a committee consisting of representatives from both Store Brands and WISE reviews nominations submitted by representatives within the store brand industry. The committee carefully evaluates the nominations, assessing each nominee’s accomplishments.

The award winners will be recognized during WISE’s annual meeting and luncheon on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Ill. The event coincides with the opening day of the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Private Label Trade Show. For more information about the meeting, click here.