parenting

My visit to JOHNSON’S® Shanghai #ABCCircle #johnsonsbaby

My visit to Johnson's Shanghai #ABCCircle #johnsonsbaby

I can safely say I am a #Johnsonsbaby. My association with them goes back a long, long way.

J&J products were considered a premium in the 60s when using homemade cosmetics was the order of the day. My first J&J kit arrived when my uncle, who worked in Defence, visited their factory for an QA inspection and bought one for me.  I still have the powder tin – I played with it as a toddler long after the powder got over – and after me, my son enjoyed it as a rattle with some coins in it!. Such a cute tin with nursery rhymes on it! There’s a true #TBT eh?

My visit to Johnson's Shanghai #ABCCircle #johnsonsbaby

I still use JOHNSON’S® products, largely thanks to my sensitive skin and especially love the baby oil, lotion and talc.

I used these for my son, too and must confess that self-care became a breeze since we both used the same products! Don’t judge! Mommies just don’t have time to indulge in me-time because all their time is we-time. And gosh! How he loved a massage!

Yes, I am rambling because I associate the name JOHNSON’S® and the fragrance of their products with happy memories that bring an instant smile and naturally, a rather long trip down memory lane.

JOHNSON’S® product range is a childhood friend that has been with me almost all my life. When my son was born, I was grateful for the NO MORE TEARS® shampoo. I still remember the rather pleasant surprise when I saw him smiling at me even though I was gently pouring water on his head! Today, I consider it such a privilege that I am part of J&J’s exclusive Asia Baby Care Circle.

My visit to Johnson's Shanghai #ABCCircle #johnsonsbaby

Then, in April, I got a lovely surprise! An exclusive invitation to visit their facility in Shanghai and it was in two weeks! Of course I said yes. How could I not?  I was to leave on April 19 and return on April 23.

The next two weeks went by in a rush – visa applications, documentation and all the other related stuff.

However, into each life must some rain fall – and so, the visa arrived a day late, which meant I would miss day 1 of the meetup. I thought I’d probably not make the trip, but Karan simply shifted my ticket to the next day, cleverly suggesting I fly to Shanghai via Mumbai, to save a day – since the visa would reach me the next day if I were to go from Bangalore.

So I flew Bangalore-Mumbai-Bangkok-Shanghai, leaving on April 20 instead, arriving in Shanghai on April 21 afternoon.  J&J+DeVries had someone waiting for me at each transit point to escort me to the next point and it was wonderful!

At Shanghai, the royal treatment awaited me after I cleared immigration and found a luxury car waiting for me. I had a beautiful ride to the Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai where I checked into the most beautiful room I’ve stayed in – the Mandarin River View room.

The view was gorgeous from whichever window I chose to look through and I thought I could stand there and gaze all day, coffee cup in hand.

I was sorry to miss the activities of day 1 – April 20 -when the rest of the lovely mommies from other parts of Asia were introduced to the Journey of JOHNSON’S® Gallery taking them through the brand’s 125 years of heritage. The exhibition included fun elements such as a product tester wall, head and shoulder massages, JOHNSON’S® Scent Station, and life-sized product mock-ups.

Through the gallery’s special section on the JOHNSON’S® Bedtime regimen, and the clinically proven 3-Step Bedtime Ritual, they demonstrated just how an effective nightly ritual can be, where a massage and quiet activities after a bath help to prepare a child to relax for the night could allow both parent and child a better rest through the night, every night.

There was also an informative demo by a fragrance expert, showing that natural fragrances are not always best for infants, hence the need for JOHNSON’S® to specifically engineer fragrances with minimal allergen potential as part of their baby product formulations.

The team later went out on a half-day tour to explore and sightsee in Shanghai , and I felt sad to have arrived too late to accompany them – but I secretly confess that the room made up for that loss. Once they got back, Karan and I went for a walk along the bund and it was a fabulous experience .

Day 2 would begin at 8 am after breakfast when we left for the JOHNSON’S® Emerging Markets Innovation Center (EMIC) and Liquids Plant – J&J R&D Center, followed by a visit to their Liquids Plant manufacturing facility.

The tour began after a briefing session where we donned labcoats.

My visit to Johnson's Shanghai #ABCCircle #johnsonsbaby

It started in the mixing lab where formula prototypes are first created and refined by expert formulators. We explored the sensory and clinical labs, where the J&J Scientists demonstrated how new formula candidates go through some of the key stages of evaluation and testing.  Rounding out the tour of the JOHNSON’S® quality and safety-focused product innovation process, we got exclusive access to the center’s stability and packaging testing rooms where the J&J scientists shed light on the rigorous testing processes for every single product.

(Get more information on JOHNSON’S® Safety and Care Commitment, as well as each of JOHNSON’S® ingredients)

Following the EMIC tour, it was time for some exciting scientific experiments, where we could not only put JOHNSON’S® formulations to the test, but to also learn more about how delicate baby skin can be, and why it requires special care. The hands-on session was led by J&J R&D scientists, and allowed each of us to discover the science behind each JOHNSON’S® product through a more consumer-friendly lens.

We broke for lunch and photos with the team.

Next stop was at the JOHNSON’S® PLANT.

We left our bags, phones, jewelry etc. in the bus.  After an intro, each ABC Circle member got exclusive access to the JOHNSON’S® Liquids Manufacturing Plant. Donning hospital-grade gowns, hats, and shoe covers, each of us got up close with the entire manufacturing process of a JOHNSON’S® product – from weighing of ingredients in a specialized clean room, to formula mixing, bottling, and finally packing of the products for shipment.  We also got to sign “the wall!” Here’s a little video I put together:

It was a most exciting day where we got a first-hand experience of the research process, ingredient and package testing, and the meticulous attention to detail that goes into bringing a quality product that cares for baby just like a Mother does.

We returned to the hotel in the evening. Later, there was a farewell dinner at the House of Roosevelt with a spectacular view of the famous Bund.  We got a chance to spend time with each other over a delicious candlelit dinner.

I was thrilled to connect with Maureen Hitipeuw, whom I’ve known only via her blog and through a mutual friend.

My visit to Johnson's Shanghai #ABCCircle #johnsonsbaby

It was also great to connect with the other KOLs from across Asia.  I had met Mansi Zaveri at another occasion – do check out her video post here about the trip – she has included Day 1 in it. It was nice to meet Garima Nag, too.

Here’s a video of the dinner

I must especially thank the Mandarin Oriental hotel for their kind hospitality – I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels but this one came the closest to being perfect – the room was fabulous, the food was fantastic and the service was exceptional. I always dreamed of staying at this place and thank J&J for making this dream come true. It was everything I expected to be. My only regret was that the trip was too short.

I have to stand up and applaud the team at DeVries Global dream team – Karan Jodhani, Amanda Colaco, Bethany Chuah, Wendy Tan, Pelagio Tecson III, perfectly coordinated with each other and – us.  They made my trip experience outstanding and exceptional – travel wise and stay wise. Their coordination was impeccable and the arrangements – smoooooooth. Special hugs and gratitude to Karan Jodhani and Joanne – wonderfully warm people who took the meaning of “care” to new levels –  I am referring to the interaction before the trip keeping me informed and instantly responding to my concerns, sending me the tickets, handling the visa applications, and in short, making it one of my best trips ever, so far.

The J&J team were of course, just great. And because I missed day 1, they had a special session for me on April 23 morning, and we had a delightful discussion together.

At 1.30 pm, I left for the airport in a BMW series 5 where I sobbed a little when I saw a newspaper with an obit about Prince’s passing away. Sigh.

Thus began my journey back home to Bangalore via Hong Kong after a most amazing trip. The transit through Hong Kong was nothing short of an adventure with 30 minutes to get on the connecting flight  in a different terminal. Once again, hats off to the organisers for getting me there, as we raced together and reached the aircraft, with zero minutes to spare! They also ensured I had transport to get home safe as the flight arrived at 1 am.

I stand up and applaud the most amazing photographer I’ve had the pleasure of meeting – Ashley Mak –  he was a superb photographer, friendly and most proactive.

I am proud of my connection with J&J and look forward to sharing their quality products with you.

I’d love to know:

Are you a JOHNSON’S® baby?

Are you a Mom who uses JOHNSON’S® products?

Do share in the comments!

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Nabanita
    June 13, 2016 at 12:10 am

    When I was a baby, my mom used Johnsons products on me and then on my sister as well.. But a few years ago there was some controversy and when I was carrying M, many mom’s and even some doctors advised us to not use their products.. Do, I don’t use them now.. But again it could just be the fear doing the rounds among mummies… Reading your experience, I feel maybe the fear is unfounded mostly, just like we react to everything on news..
    Nabanita recently posted…My Maths Teacher, Mrs KapoorMy Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      When it comes to babies, one naturally wants to be very careful, Naba. I’ve heard other friends mentioning that their doctors have advised them to stay away… but millions are happy users of Johnson’s products. I am sure the negative media will blow over. I believe the products are absolutely safe. Loved that pic you posted on FB with your precious one! 🙂
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Because We Are Best Friends ForeverMy Profile

  • Reply
    Shantala
    June 13, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Such a lovely visit you had,Vidya. 🙂 I have used and loved J&J products for a long time, but have discontinued them now due to the baby powder case findings. I am not sure how much truth is there in those findings, but I guess the paranoia around it makes me nervous now. Such a shame, because I have not been able to find a decent replacement for the brand.
    Shantala recently posted…The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater | Series Review (Spoiler Free)My Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 15, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      I understand, Shantala. The feeling is quite natural. The recent publicity hasn’t been good – but the thing is, with products like these, the manufacturer goes through stringent regulatory norms and clinical studies before they even get into the market. And J&J has been around practically forever. Their products are absolutely fine. I am still using them 🙂 Hugs!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Because We Are Best Friends ForeverMy Profile

  • Reply
    Rachna
    June 13, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Such a lovely trip, Vidya. Missed being there but well there is always the next time. Loved reading all the details. Oh yes, I’ve used Johnson’s products for both my children. I love their perfume. And I continue to use baby oil sometimes.
    Rachna recently posted…When You Want to Hold on LongerMy Profile

  • Reply
    Rajlakshmi
    June 13, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Wow this must have been such a an amazing experience 😀 Gorgeous videos 😀
    I too use baby oil… they are best for winters as I have really dry skin. I use the soap too sometimes 😀
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Grimms #RIPChristinaGrimmieMy Profile

  • Reply
    Obsessivemom
    June 14, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    That seems to have been fabulous trip. I don’t think any of us have grown up without J&J. For many many years the smell of J&J powder was baby-smell to me. Oh yes I too am very grateful to the no-tears shampoo. The kids used it for years. Such a relief!
    My mum still uses some of their products for the same reason as you do – sensitive skin :-).
    Obsessivemom recently posted…On accepting differencesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Darla M Sands
    June 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Wish I could have tagged along! We used many of these products when I was a baby. 🙂 Be well!
    Darla M Sands recently posted…Adventures in FlossingMy Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 18, 2016 at 11:09 am

      That would have been so wonderful, Darla! I often dream of meeting my virtual “friends”. Who knows? Maybe some day!

  • Reply
    Maria
    July 17, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Me too fan of JOHNSON’S® produc ts , especially the baby oil and powder!! … good you could visit their office at Shangai(: … was a lovely read.
    Maria recently posted…5 Homemade Face Packs For Dry And Rough SkinMy Profile

  • Reply
    Maureen
    July 18, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Awww reading this brought back our Shanghai memories, Vidya! It was an absolutely lovely surprised to met you in person and to realized that our path has crossed in the bloggosphere before and we made Vanita jealous hahaha.

    Looking forward to meet you again soon I hope!
    Maureen recently posted…Hot Air Balloon in Gold CoastMy Profile

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