Twenty years of meaningful moments for FORMIA
This is a special feature from PAX International's 2022 WTCE Hamburg edition, on page 22.
Needless to say, the world has changed drastically in the last 20 years. And with it, the commercial aviation industry. This year, a company that has been there throughout it all, staying ahead of trends to bring luxury experience into the aircraft cabin, is marking a significant anniversary. In this Industry Q&A, amenity supplier FORMIA shares details of its two-decades-long history
PAX International: Take us back to the beginning. Where did FORMIA’s story start?
Roland Grohmann, CEO & Managing Partner at FORMIA: The FORMIA brand has roots in Scandinavia before being established in Asia-Pacific in 2002 – a region at the heart of the future growth market and of the supply chain. In 2009, FORMIA repositioned to specialize exclusively in airline amenity kits, cosmetics and comfort items with a unique, human-centered approach. With this strategic refocus and a clear vision, we modernized and elevated the business, including building a dynamic and diverse team to serve our global customers and partners.
PAX International: FORMIA has an impressive roster of customers and partners. How did the company achieve this, and what is done to maintain this reputation?
Grohmann: FORMIA is privileged to serve more than 50 airline customers and 130 brand partners. It’s important for us to develop and nurture our relationships with every airline customer. A key part of this is our role as facilitator. To fully understand each airline’s requirements and aspirations, and to expertly research and select the most relevant brands which align with the airlines’ DNA.
This approach, along with our meaningful brand partnerships, conscious design using responsibly sourced materials, improvements across the supply chain and post-use in mind, we ensure that our product offerings add distinct value for every passenger, regardless of the airline, and address their continuously evolving needs.
Despite global supply chain issues, or circumstances like the pandemic, our decades of experience provided us the foresight and operational excellence to overcome these matters and deliver what is promised on time, every time.
PAX International: FORMIA has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Dubai, New York and Mexico. How does this reach allow the company to serve its customers and partners better?
Grohmann: FORMIA’s reach has expanded over the years from Asia to across the Middle East, Europe, North America and Latin America making FORMIA a truly global company and the industry leader it is today. We pride ourselves on being able to offer our customers a culture-specific understanding of their needs based on our local and regional expertise in each market.
Most recently we established our New York City office to support our activities in this key region. Along with the Delta Air Lines’ partnership to launch their Delta One amenities program, FORMIA’s other airline customers in the region include American Airlines, JetBlue, WestJet, Aeromexico and NetJets.
PAX International: What is FORMIA’s favorite part about its brand partners and collaborations – what sparks joy in these partnerships?
Grohmann: A personal highlight of mine was the launch of the now iconic miniature suitcase concept as an amenity kit for Thai Airways a decade ago, in collaboration with luxury luggage brand RIMOWA. An industry-first, we have since introduced the mini hardcase concept on a number of world-class airlines, together with well-known luggage brands including Samsonite, Porsche Design, BRIC’s and Globe-Trotter.
We love being able to translate our brand’s retail inspirations and designs into amenity concepts for millions of passengers to enjoy. As we study the evolution of passenger behaviors, we cherish our role as facilitators between the airline, brand and consumer. We use data and analysis to extract relevant meaning from each party and create concepts that pamper and delight but that are also meaningful and have an impact either socially or environmentally.
PAX International: What cultural aspects does FORMIA bring into its design?
Grohmann: People are undeniably at the heart of everything we do at FORMIA. “Ren,” the ancestral Chinese character that means person, people or human, has been part of FORMIA’s identity since our beginning. It embodies our passion to prioritize wellbeing, protect our planet for generations to come and anticipate passenger needs to bring lasting moments of inspiration and delight. A good quality, well-designed and thoughtfully curated amenity kit can create a memorable experience for the traveler and offer a rare moment of relaxation and revitalization.
PAX International: What does FORMIA hope for in the next 20 years? Or five years?
Grohmann: We have all witnessed a seismic shift in passenger’s expectations and behavior over the last couple of years, and it is no longer just about comfort and wellbeing in the air. Health, safety, functionality, reusability and sustainability are as important as ever.
In line with these shifts, FORMIA has committed to transforming our entire business to be truly sustainable. Our goal is to become a net-zero carbon company by 2030 and offer net-zero carbon amenity kits as of this year. Together with REBEL, our sustainability partner, we are on an ambitious journey to reduce FORMIA’s carbon footprint.
For FORMIA, this is just the start of our journey and we will continue to invest in innovations, improvements and experiences over the coming years, to ensure we maintain the momentum and drive our sustainability targets. We aim to provide further added value and inspiration for our airline customers, partners, passengers and our people.