Go West, Cosmetics Industry!
BACK IN 1865, newspaper man Horace Greeley advised his, presumably male, readers to “Go West, young
man!” The nation followed his advice and today, California—including its culture, economy and regulato-
ry views—has come to dominate, in many respects and for better or worse, the U.S. way of life. Think
about it. While the eastern portion of the country continues to lose population, California and the neighbor-
ing Sunbelt States continue to add to theirs, as an older population trades show shovels for sun and sand. A
similar transition has occurred in the U.S. cosmetics industry. Years ago, the beauty business was dominat-
ed by New York City-based operations. Don’t get us wrong, New York City continues to be a focal point for
fashion, business and beauty, but some of the fastest growing companies in the industry can be found on
the Left Coast. In fact, 11 of the companies in The Top 50, our annual look at the leading U.S.-based compa-
nies in the household and personal products industry, are located
in California. New York is next with eight, followed by Ohio at
six. Clearly, California is a dynamic market of savvy consumers
and far-thinking entrepreneurs—just the kind of combination
that’s necessary when the economy is mired in recession.
Of course, this year’s edition of The Top 50 is more than a geography lesson. In recent years, sustainability has become the hot
topic in the household and personal products industry. And,
despite a recession that has lasted for more than a year, companies weren’t cutting back on their efforts to reduce carbon footprints and waste streams. Just goes to show you that, in the long
run, the green movement can be good for the environment and for
On the topic of business, most companies admit that 2008 was a
difficult year, especially in the second half. But rather than
pulling in their horns and hunkering down in their bunkers, for-ward-thinking companies remain on the alert, searching out new
opportunities to gain market share in a down economy.
The California lifestyle continues to influence
the U.S. economy and way of life.
What’s ahead for the remainder of 2009 and beyond? On the
plus side (Warren Buffet aside), more observers see green shoots
of economic recovery. The banking situation has stabilized and
the housing market seems to have finally bottomed out, both of
which should help consumer confidence rise. We have a long way to go, but after a very rocky 18 months,
we’re all ready for some good news.
We hope you enjoy this edition of The Top 50. As always, we welcome your comments on our rankings, as
well as anything else that appears in HAPPI. Be sure to read our August issue, which includes The
International Top 30, our article on the largest manufacturers of household and personal products with corporate headquarters outside the U.S.