Redmond manufacturer Clarisonics sells to French beauty products leader L'Oreal


Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, the maker of the Clarisonics skin cleansing devices, announced Thursday that it is selling itself to L'Oréal USA.

The company, launched by David Giuliani in 2001, has 300 employees and had sales last year of $105 million. The company had recently moved its manufacturing facilities from a small space in Factoria to a modern facility in Redmond. The company was winner last year of Seattle Business magazine’s Washington Manufacturing Award, and was also selected one of the state’s Top Innovators of 2010.

"L'Oréal brings powerful marketing, distribution and R&D synergy to the Clarisonics agenda," said David Giuliani, CEO and cofounder of Clarisonics, explaining the sale. "L'Oréal shares our vision for ingenuity and dedication to quality.”

L'Oreal USA, headquartered in New York City, with 2010 sales of over $4.7 billion and 9,800 employees, is a wholly owned subsidiary of L'Oréal SA, a global leader in beauty products. The company says it plans to develop Clarisonics’ Redmond operations as “a center for innovation.”

Giuliani has been a passionate advocate of preserving manufacturing jobs in the United States. He is also one of the founders of the Washington Business Alliance, a statewide “centrist” organization representing the interests of business. However, when he sold his last company, Optiva, which produced the Sonicare toothbrush, to Philips Oral Healthcare, manufacturing of the product was moved offshore to take advantage of lower wages. It’s unclear how long L’Oreal will continue manufacturing Clarisonics products in the United States.

Giuliani spent 12 years at Hewlett-Packard before moving to the Northwest and launching the company that created the Sonicare toothbrush. After he sold the company in 2000, Giuliani created Pacific Bioscience Laboratories to continue research in sonic technology. The research resulted in his Clarisonics skin-care product.

The Clarisonics device, which sells for as much as $195, works both as a skin cleanser and as a way of applying skin products. When combined with certain lotions, for example, it reputedly helps reduce wrinkle lines. The product is sold through dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, spas and online.

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