Global economic downturn impacting Lawton company

Lawton_The effects of the economic downturn are being felt worldwide, and its impact includes a large business in Lawton.  Cosmetic Specialty Labs (CSL) manufactures aloe vera based skin, cosmetic, and health-care products.  The company sells and ships the products worldwide, and - unfortunately - their clients aren't buying as much these days.  They say the economy has a lot to do with the drop in sales.

Forty-percent of the company's business comes from foreign clients, and it's those small businesses that are feeling the effects of the slumping economy.  Edna Hennessee has been operating her cosmetic manufacturing business in Lawton for 60 years.  "This is the type of industry that holds when a lot of things don't," she said.  While Hennessee says overseas clients still are purchasing products, they aren't buying in bulk.  "They are judging their money better," she said.

CSL has many clients, so Hennessee says she has not had to fish for options to make up for the loss of profits from overseas sales.  For her, the solution is simple:  "If we can get it (economy) out of their mind - all our little customers and all the people that are out there - don't let your skin go or hair go because it doesn't cost that much," she said.  "Get selfish.  Look pretty."

She says that even if the economy gets worse, the cosmetic industry isn't going anywhere.  "I know it from the past," she said.  "Women are going to buy, and men are going to take care of their skin and their hair."  She says she has plans to increase her business here in the U.S..  An area of her company usually is used for private label clients, but in two weeks, it will open to the public, and they will give free makeup demonstrations.

Hennessee says she hasn't been forced into any major layoffs.  However, if the economy remains tight she may not be able to hire as many part-time workers.