Zero to 60

By Tom Branna , Editorial Director | July 2, 2014

RITA may be celebrating its 60th anniversary, but the company shows no signs of slowing down.

When a privately-held company reaches a milestone like its diamond anniversary, its executives often wax nostalgic about founders’ missions and the changes that have taken place during the past 60 years—but not Brian Goode. The RITA president eschews much of what took place more than a half century ago and instead, gets juiced by the tremendous strides his company has made during the past decade—gains that should enable the specialty chemical company to keep growing and innovating for years to come.

“Sales have quadrupled during the past 10 years,” explained Goode, who said the increases can be attributed to the company’s decision seven years ago to focus on research and product development. As a result, major multinationals and entrepreneurial companies can come to RITA with a concept and leave the rest to the RITA staff that develops it, creates the formula, performs scale-up and even recommends a contract manufacturer to fill the product.

“There are hundreds of marketing companies in the industry with no R&D capabilities,” observed Goode. “We’ll develop the formula for them and they own it.”

Dan Beio, VP-R&D, joined RITA from Amway eight years ago, and Goode credits him with taking the lab beyond tech services by adding formulating and product development capabilities. Beio told Happi that his staff helps hundreds of companies every year, from concept to creating the story behind the product launch to the launch itself, while handling all of the technical due diligence along the way.

“It’s part of our background and we do it at no-cost to the customer,” explained Beio, who is currently working on a dozen projects where the RITA staff is the primary R&D resource.

That kind of output is possible, he explained, because formulation expertise is part of the R&D staff’s DNA.

A Talented Group

“The people that we’ve hired are impressive,” insists Beio. “With Alberto-Culver and Helene Curtis gone, we were able to get experts in product development.”

That level of expertise has become increasingly important to the industry, as more companies eliminate the R&D function or rely on new chemists who have little or no industry experience, according to Beio.

It’s a similar scenario in markets outside the US, according to Jim Cook, VP-international and business development, which is one reason why RITA’s blends have become so popular in the US and around the world.

“Blends can make it much easier for the customer to use our products,” he explained. “We have a robust product development staff and a complete lineup of products.”

It is a product lineup that is becoming popular around the world. The company’s Ritafactant surfactant line is popular throughout Asia, most recently in Vietnam. In Africa, RITA is expanding its presence in Nigeria, Kenya and Cameroon, as well as in Russia and India, two of the most important emerging markets. In addition to its headquarters in Crystal Lake, the company has operations in Winder, GA; Chino, CA; Forney, TX; Ramsey, NJ; and Mexico.

In fact, in Mexico, the company has a 40-year relationship with Industria del Central and its owner Camil Kuri, whom Goode described as “the most honest businessman that I’ve ever met.”

RITA is making good gains, too, as customers seek new sources for silicones, sulfate-free surfactants and other materials. In fact, RITA offers solutions in every category except color.

“We service the high and the low end, guys with R&D investment and those without,” explained Beio. “Between Brian, Jim and myself, we have 100 years of experience, so we’re able to create different formulas from the same technology. We can be an important resource for every customer.”

The company is a key resource, especially, for ingredients.

Ingredients Remain a Priority

RITA got its start 60 years ago as a lanolin supplier, and over the years, the company’s offerings were greatly expanded. In the past decade, as patents expired, RITA began offering carbomer and dl-panthenol.

“Customers told us that they wanted to have a second source for these ingredients and we already had boots on the ground to deliver,” Goode recalled.

More recently, RITA has had tremendous success by offering sulfate-free surfactants (Ritafactants), which create the same level of foam, rinse out, consistency, thickness and clarity as sulfated products, according to company executives. The products can be customized depending on application and customer preference. For example, Ritafactant 138 ANLG (INCI: Decyl glucoside, lauryl glucoside, sodium lauroyl lactylate) and Ritafactant 138 LG (INCI: Lauryl glucoside (and) sodium lauroyl lactylate) are all-natural, mild surfactant blends. Another mild, versatile blend is Ritafactant SCI-2 (INCI: Cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium cocoyl isethionate).

For cosmetic chemists seeking to thicken their formulas in very precise increments, there’s Ritathix DOE (INCI: PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate and methyl gluceth-10), which is a liquid based surfactant thickener that can be used in multiple combinations of surfactants. According to RITA, it is an excellent cold process ingredient that eliminates the need for heat and other associative thickeners. Ritathix DOE is a versatile ingredient that can be added during any step of the manufacturing process. Typical use level ranges from 0.5 to 3.0% and it is a good addition for clear surfactant systems where overall clarity is important. Finally, Ritathix DOE does not need to be neutralized with an alkali, unlike acrylate-based thickeners.

RITA also offers a wide range of silicones, from basic fluids, cyclics (volatile), cross polymers, cationics and various mixtures that can be used in hair and skin care products. One of the most interesting of these is Ritasil Shea Butter (INCI: Dimethicone, cylcopentasiloxane, polysilicone-11, butyrospermum parkii). The off-white gel contains 8-10 parts shea butter. Another, Ritasil 193C (INCI: PEG-12 dimethicone), has a conditioning effect and optimizes manageability and dry combability of hair. Other silicones in the range include: Ritasil SQ 2050 (INCI: Silicone quaternium-17), Ritasil 9040 (INCI: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone crosspolymer), Ritasil 949 (INCI: Amodimethicone, trideceth-12, cetrimonium chloride), Ritasil 1501 (INCI: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethiconol) and Ritasil 190 (INCI: PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone).

Although Goode attributes much of RITA’s success during the past decade to Beio and his R&D team, during that same time, RITA has grown from 60 to 150, with additions to sales, R&D and support staff.

A Superior Staff

“Consultants came in and told us that we have a great varsity, but no JV. So, in the past three years we’ve added some very talented young people across the board, who have made the most of their opportunity. It is very satisfying.”
Genevieve Heilman, VP-finance, agreed.

“We are seeing 20-somethings come in and make a contribution right away,” she told Happi. “We’ve had tremendous growth during the past 10 years, but we are still a family.”

A family that takes care of and watches out for one another. For example, RITA pays 100% of education costs for all employees who maintain a B or better in a company-related field, such as chemistry or business, explained Heilman, who has kept business expenses flat during the past four years even as revenues have soared.

“We all wear many hats, so we are always adding more employees, but they have to be the right employees.”

That is, employees who are well versed in the RITA Company Rules, which are prominently displayed at company headquarters.
Those rules are:
  • No one is better than the next person;
  • Always be truthful;
  • Don’t believe your own bullshit; and
  • Play hard, work harder.
br />
“You can build a great company one of two ways,” explained Goode. “You can have a super system like Procter & Gamble or Unilever where you can slot in new people. Or you can have super people who are willing to outhustle the competition, who are willing to go the extra mile for the customer. That’s RITA.”
  • The Good, The Bad Can Get Ugly

    The Good, The Bad Can Get Ugly

    March 28, 2017
    If you are what you eat, you may really be in trouble!

  • It’s Magic!

    It’s Magic!

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||March 20, 2017
    Argan oil-infused ‘Moroccan’ lip care brand jumps from WholeFoods into CVS.

  • On the Cutler Edge

    On the Cutler Edge

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||March 13, 2017
    Top brand source at Redken forecasts up-to-the-minute hair trends.

  • Supply-Side Innovations

    Supply-Side Innovations

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    Raw material suppliers roll up their sleeves and roll out their new products for the global cleaning industry.

  • New Faces in Familiar Places

    New Faces in Familiar Places

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    The American Cleaning Institute officially welcomed its new president.

  • Special Delivery

    Special Delivery

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    UV protection is important, but what good is that sunscreen if consumers won’t apply it?

  • Garden Variety

    Garden Variety

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||March 1, 2017
    Color cosmetics for Spring 2017 are inspired by the beauty of nature and new beginnings.

  • OTC = TLC

    OTC = TLC

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||March 1, 2017
    Over-the-counter treatments provide consumers’ skin and hair with extra care.

  • The Green Dot

    The Green Dot

    John Kim and Lambros Kromidas, PhD*, Shiseido Americas||March 1, 2017
    Insights into one of the most used trademarks in the world.

  • An Essential Read

    An Essential Read

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    Industry expert Nadim Shaath takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the history and the future of essential oils.

  • Sustainability, Brexit and AI Are in Focus at In-Cosmetics

    Sustainability, Brexit and AI Are in Focus at In-Cosmetics

    March 1, 2017
    In-Cosmetics Global 2017 will take place in London, April 4-6, 2017

  • Trade Association Directory 2017

    February 2, 2017
    Contact details of trade associations that serve various segments of our industry and are mentioned frequently in Happi.

  • What the Halal  Is Going On?

    What the Halal Is Going On?

    Imogen Matthews , In-Cosmetics||February 2, 2017
    Demand for these beauty products is surging thanks to a fastgrowing Muslim population.

  • Relief for Sensitive Scalps

    Relief for Sensitive Scalps

    Guadalupe Pellon and Annette Mehling , BASF||February 2, 2017
    BASF researchers detail the attributes of the company’s highly effective hair care system focusing on scalp sensitivity.

  • What’s in Style?

    What’s in Style?

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||February 1, 2017
    The latest sprays, gels, mousses, serums and creams for hair are filled with luxury components and meet a variety of needs

  • Defining Clean Skin

    Defining Clean Skin

    Nava Dayan PhD, Dr. Nava Dayan LLC||February 1, 2017
    A look at the issues, research and history surrounding this controversial topic.

  • Linked In

    Linked In

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||February 1, 2017
    Through virtual reality, apps and connected devices, beauty and personal care brands can strengthen their customer relations

  • Hitting the Right Notes

    Hitting the Right Notes

    January 6, 2017
    Agilex Fragrances is the leader in the middle market fragrance category.

  • The Smell of Clean in 2017

    The Smell of Clean in 2017

    January 6, 2017
    Changing consumer lifestyles and demographics are impacting the scents found in the household cleaning category.

  • On the Edge

    On the Edge

    January 6, 2017
    Expanding beauty brands to watch in 2017

  • A New Contender?

    A New Contender?

    January 6, 2017
    Detergent sales are up, innovation continues and Henkel is determined to make it a dogfight in the segment.

  • Engagement 2016

    Engagement 2016

    January 6, 2017
    CSPA convenes in Fort Lauderdale for annual meeting.

  • Slow & Steady

    Slow & Steady

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    In a tumultuous environment, steady gains posted in the industrial and institutional cleaning sector are welcomed.

  • The World Comes to Orlando

    The World Comes to Orlando

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    More than 1,600 chemists traveled to Florida for the IFSCC Congress

  • The Plex Phenomenon

    The Plex Phenomenon

    Denise Costrini, Croda North America||December 1, 2016
    Croda details the hair-protecting qualities of bond multipliers and the company’s new bond-building formulation system.

  • New Hair Care Ingredients

    December 1, 2016
    Check out the latest releases from suppliers.

  • Hair & Now

    Hair & Now

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor ||December 1, 2016
    The shampoo and conditioner category is expanding with modern takes on these classic formulations.

  • Perform or Perish

    Perform or Perish

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 1, 2016
    Success in today’s skin care sector begins with active ingredients, formulated in products that address modern-day issues.