In the early 1980s, chemist Josefina Pujols de Lomba created a formula for a shampoo and hair conditioner at the request of the owners of the Los Divinos salon she frequented. The products were so well received by the clientele that other beauty centers wanted to purchase them. Little by little, the reputation of what later became a family business was strengthened, with several lines of personal care products and a positioning abroad, to where it exports around 60% of its production.
At the head of the company are José Antonio Lomba and Daniel Lomba, sons of Doña Josefina, who grew up involved in the process of creation and evolution of the company. “While our schoolmates were at summer camps, we had to make time to go to the company to pack products,” says Daniel Lomba, commercial and financial manager.
The company was founded in 1983 with a catalog of hair care and beauty products sold in stores and supermarkets, both for the general public and for a more professional profile such as beauty salons. Years of sacrifice, dedication and perseverance forged the solid foundations of a firm that has become synonymous with quality and prestige in the Dominican Republic and in export destinations, with ISO-9001 certifications on Quality Management System for more than 10 years, with presence in Haiti, Panama, Puerto Rico, Miami, New York and New Jersey, with goals of expanding the export market.
Innovation is an inherent characteristic of Capilo’s managers. After an internal analysis, they identified a category with potential for success: essential oils. Rosemary, avocado and almond were the first to be presented to the public at one of the beauty fairs held by an important commercial center in the country. Currently, they have more than a dozen essential oils in their catalog. They have already conquered an important part of this market niche.
Within the framework of the Trade and Support to the Private Sector component of the Haiti/Dominican Republic Binational Cooperation Program financed under the 11th European Development Fund and implemented by Caribbean Export, Capilo received technical assistance to obtain ISO2 2716 Good Manufacturing Practices certification. “We thought that since we had ISO-9001 it would be easy, but this certification is different, very challenging, but we are doing well and we will achieve it,” explains Daniel Lomba. ISO 2716 ensures the control of risks associated with cosmetic products, thereby managing quality and safety compliance throughout the product supply chain. The certification includes guidelines, in addition to production, for the control, storage and shipment of products to the final consumer. This certification will allow greater access to international markets, such as Europe, a destination that is among Capilo’s objectives.
Caribbean Export’s support includes the donation of an electric forklift and an automatic labeling machine. The labeling machine will be part of a packaging line that the company purchased abroad. Currently, it has accelerated the process, with faster labeling, thus making delivery times more efficient, allowing it to design sales strategies for the objective of expanding its presence in the international market.
“The forklift was super necessary for the organization of the warehouses, the speed of dispatches and to be able to make deliveries faster. The storage area of the company has opportunities to take advantage of the use of vertical space. Thus, the team has contributed to an optimization of shelf space and proper sorting by designing a flow that reduces time wasted on unnecessary trips and an efficient inventory management system. These assets have resulted in an increase of around 25% in production, according to Lomba.
Capilo is part of the Dominican Cluster of Beauty Products, and since 2000 has focused on strengthening a business structure whose mission is to offer products and services of the highest quality. The brands include the hair care lines Capilo, Capilo PRO, Capilo Kids, and a line created for the men’s sector, District Gentleman.
The company’s strong foundation, combined with a conservative lifestyle vision, worked in Capilo’s favor during the difficult times of the pandemic. The company’s specialized division for the formulation and creation of local and international third-party brands also contributed to the company’s structure. “At that difficult time for the country, we were fortunate that we had a brand of antibacterial gel in our customer portfolio, and that allowed us to weather the crisis.”
Due to its history and trajectory, Capilo products, especially those for hair care, are part of the Dominican female population’s imagination; the innovative vision to evolve in the continuous improvement of its products, as well as the development of the graphic line and marketing strategy to meet the demand of the tastes and needs of the new generations, contribute to the strengthening of this dynamic economic sector of the country, therefore, to sustainable economic development, as well as the projection of the quality of the country brand in foreign lands.
Capilo has received several awards, including the Industrial Excellence Award from the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic, 1999, in the category of quality for small industry; Recognition from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs, for its business trajectory; and Exporter of the Year, awarded by the European Union in 2019.