In the world of cosmetics, time isn't the only thing of essence. Cosmetic Essence innovations (CEI) make the business of selling personal care products a little easier. A contract manufacturer, CEI develops as well as manufactures and fills color cosmetics, creams and lotions, fragrances, bath and hair care products, and household supplies. It also offers package design and sourcing, and logistics and distribution services. Customers include brand name manufacturers, such as Elizabeth Arden, and major retailers (Bath & Body Works) nationwide. Established in 1984, CEI is now majority owned by private equity firm Littlejohn & Co. and fund manager Garrison Investment, which restructured the business in 2010.
CEI's operations consist of seven facilities, most of which manufacture creams and lotions, color, powder, hydro-alcohol based products, gift sets, and/or over-the-counter products. Other facilities provide thermoforming, rigid box manufacturing, injection molding, and blow molding packaging. CEI also offers packaging, filling and assembly, and logistics to complement its supply chain services. In 2011, the company filled or packaged more than 315 million units.
Geographically, CEI's production is concentrated in New Jersey, with single sites in Pennsylvania and Virginia, enabling it to cater to its core domestic customers. The cosmetics maker, however, looks to expand globally and has established a hydro-alcoholic filling and set assembly plant in Poland.
The company's revenues are reportedly around $300 million. CEI, however, has a history of dwindling profit margins; sluggish sales in the US finally forced the company out of compliance with its debt covenants in 2008. Although former owner Onex, a private investment firm, agreed to provide funding to CEI as it worked to restore earnings, lenders could not agree to the terms of Onex's offer. As a result, Onex lost control of CEI in 2009 and transferred ownership to its lenders, who agreed to fund CEI's ongoing operations. Littlejohn & Co. and Garrison Investment Group financial restructured CEI in 2010 and continue to steer its future.
Out of the gate with new owners, CIE specializes in research and development to bring to market new formulations and products for customers. During 2011, alone, CEI partnered with customers on some 800 new formulas. Breakthrough products include low cost, luxury fragrance substitutes, and skin exfoliation and SPF skincare products. To its credit, the beauty company is registered with the US Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter products.