Iconic Black-Owned Firm Luster Products Expanding Into Hand Sanitizer To Help Fight COVID-19 - Black Enterprise

Iconic Black-Owned Firm Luster Products Expanding Into Hand Sanitizer To Help Fight COVID-19

Luster hand sanitizer
Image: Courtesy of Luster Products

Luster Products is shifting its business operations to produce hand sanitizer to combat supply shortages due to the COVID-19 virus.

A provider of daily haircare and styling products, the brand is best known for Luster’s Pink and Luster SCurl. The Chicago-based black-owned company is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of personal care products for black Americans. Its brands cater to black men, women, children, and the stylist industry.

Further, the firm is looking at expanding its personal care product production and researching that strategy.

The demand for hand sanitizer has grown immensely since the coronavirus outbreak as the product is known to be effective in erasing harmful germs and bacteria that may cause illness.

“We have the technology, the capability, as well as an incredible in-house team of chemists, so this was a natural next step for us to partially shift our operations to produce hand sanitizer at a time of great need in Chicago and around the country,” Jory Luster Sr., president of Luster Products, stated in a news release.

Luster Products reports its hand sanitizer is formulated with 70% ethyl alcohol to sterilize the hands and Vitamin E to replenish moisture. The first batch, produced within two weeks, was provided to all Luster Products’ employees working at its headquarters. The company has now started shipping out cases. Plans call for the development of a consumer sales program and to identify local organizations for hand sanitizer distribution.

The global hand sanitizer market was valued at $2.7 billion in 2019, according to Grand View Research. The firm states shifting consumer preference toward convenient hygiene products is expected to drive the market. And the demand for hand hygiene products has been exceeding the supply in both online and brick-and-mortar sites worldwide given the global outbreak of the virus in a short period.

For Luster Products, entry into the hand sanitizer space shows how the black family businesses that have been operating for 63 years is navigating its operations through today’s uncertain times.

The company was launched by the late Fred Luster Sr., a successful Chicago barber who developed haircare products specifically for the health and maintenance of the hair, according to the company’s website. He initially sold his products exclusively in his barbershop.

But as demand rose—and word spread about his products’ effectiveness— Luster sold his products to other hairstylists. His early success prompted him to start Luster Products Inc. in 1957. The company has grown from a modest storefront into a multimillion-dollar worldwide enterprise. It has appeared on the BE 100s, a listing of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses.

Currently, the company employs more than 250 people globally.