Cosmolab in training for hair care production

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cosmolab, Inc., the Lewisburg-based cosmetics manufacturer that won a state grant to help fund new training for plant workers, is now producing a hair care product.

"Our first shipment will take place in the second quarter of 2009," Tom Byrne, vice president of operations, said. "If the product sells well in the marketplace, we should expect to see greater volumes of more orders."

Cosmolab was awarded a $49,177 state grant in December because of new equipment and production of new products. Now, it's completed the first round of training involving new processes, materials, and technology for its "XP" room, the company said in a prepared release. The room was made to accommodate flammable liquids.

The process of manufacturing using flammable liquids is not new to Cosmolab. However, the amount and type of flammable liquids required specialized training. Nearly 100 employees received the initial training and gave employees the basic understanding of how to properly handle the material during the manufacturing process.

Cosmolab plans to solicit other businesses for other types of cosmetic and fragrance products that can be developed using this type of technology.

"With today's economy, it is important to offer additional products and services to new and existing customers," Cosmolab Sales Vice President Bobby Henson said. "We are hopeful that by developing these new products and training our employees, we can grow the business in the near future."

A Tennessee Incumbent Worker Grant underwrote Cosmolab's training.

In 2008, Cosmolab developed new formulations and products that involved new processes, materials, and technology, the company has reported.

Cosmolab asked the state for money to fund employee training.

"The outpour of support from the local and state levels has been tremendous," Human Resources Director Donna King said Monday. "We are trying to grow our business and the new products will be a big part of this growth."

During 2008, Cosmolab applied for and received certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be a manufacturer of organic products. It was another opportunity for Cosmolab to expand its product selection to businesses that wanted to develop a cosmetic line using only organic materials.

Additionally, Cosmolab developed new technology involved manufacturing different emulsion and OTC (Over the Counter) products. Emulsion technology is a specialized method for combining oil and water into a cosmetic line. Emulsion is not new to the industry of cosmetics but it is definitely new technology to Cosmolab.

"Providing this type of product is a great opportunity for Cosmolab" Byrne said. "Our customers are excited over the possibilities and we are encouraged by their response."

Cosmolab's customers are, at first, brand name distributors of cosmetics even though - in the final analysis - it's female customers who use them.

Cosmolab manufactured over-the-counter (OTC) products several years ago. Today, the local plant supplies customers who want to provide more products with special ingredients that classify what's sold at retail as an OTC product.

Training was conducted by Cosmolab and developed utilizing expertise from an outside consultant and the local fire and safety experts, the company said.

Although Cosmolab is unable to name the product due to a confidentiality agreement with its customer, company officials can say it is a hair care product that is now being added to the production line here, Cosmolab said.

Meanwhile, consumers have probably seen advertisements claiming that a product will "reduces wrinkles," or that it contains protection from the sun's rays. Those are claims that must be verified for an OTC product. That means the FDA monitors them. For Cosmolab, it requires additional training for manufacturing the product. All of these new processes and technologies require additional education and offer Cosmolab's customers additional opportunities to meet their special manufacturing demands.

The state grant was instrumental in these developments for the plant here and the company's prospective growth.

"Funding priority is given to businesses whose grant proposals represent a significant layoff avoidance strategy and represent a significant upgrade of skills," according to Milissa Reierson, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.