International Skin Care Begins In Pine Brook
Since 1965, Christine Valmy Inc. has manufactured all natural products.
Since 1965, Christine Valmy Inc. has been manufacturing skin care products at 285 Changebridge Road in Pine Brook.
As early as in 1944, Christine Valmy, a chemist, who also studied medicine, herbs and Eastern European beauty techniques, began developing and manufacturing skin care products using all-natural ingredients from her garden in Romania.
In 1961, she brought her products and skin care philosophy to the United States, where she opened the first American esthetics school for skin care. That school is still located in Pine Brook.
“She was a pioneer,” said Valmy’s son-in-law, Peter de Haydu, who is the president and CEO of Christine Valmy Inc. “It was a cottage industry and her products were totally organic from the beginning.
“When she came to this country, ‘beauty’ was 99 percent hair,” de Haydu added. “There was no ‘skin care.’ Skin care was really an Eastern European skill. She knew she would have to educate people, hence, the schools.”
From the moment she arrived in the United States, Valmy set out to train esthetician students in the field of skin care.
In 1971, Valmy was recognized by the 92nd Congress of the United States for her contributions in education in the United States, for building careers, and for “establishing her field [aesthetology] as an honored profession in this country.”
Valmy served on both state and federal control boards to regulate and refine cosmetology and beauty licensing requirements.
“Unlike hair, which can be cut, it may take months to improve the condition of a person’s skin,” de Haydu said. “To do it well, you need to have someone who is really trained.”
Since 1964, more than 80,000 estheticians have been trained at Christine Valmy International Schools in the United States. Thousands more have been trained in the 18 additional schools around the globe.
Graduates of the program then enter the marketplace as beauty professionals, often opening spas and salons that use Christine Valmy products.
“Our products are used in our schools, and have been since the beginning,” de Haydu said. “We have longevity on our side. We didn’t just spring up. Our formulas have been tested over time.”
According to de Haydu, the combination of education and manufacturing make Christine Valmy Inc. unique in the skin care marketplace.
“We have a wealth of experience with students and the public,” de Haydu explained. “Over the past 30 or 40 years, the effectiveness of our products has been verified.”
In addition to schools, Christine Valmy Inc. also operates salons around the world. From 1961 until 1998, there was a Christine Valmy salon located in New York on Fifth Avenue, under the famed FAO Schwartz toy store. It closed when rent at the prestigious address became too expensive. But, Christine Valmy International School in New York City remains.
The products used at each Christine Valmy school and salon are manufactured at the company’s Pine Brook address.
Since 1992, Marina Valmy, Christine Valmy’s daughter, has served as the executive vice president of the company.
According to the company’s website, “after graduating with a master's degree from Boston College [in 1975, Marina] combined her knowledge of Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs, medicinal plants, Oriental treatments and Chemistry to create a laboratory where she could create all-natural products, manufactured and tested in-house, without resorting to animal testing or ingredients.
Lotion X is one of those products.
“Lotion X is one of our most popular products,” said Janine Novak, a native of Pine Brook and manager of export and special projects for Christine Valmy Inc.
“Marina’s formulas work well,” Novak said. “People have tried to copy them, and the reason they try is because they work. But they really can’t be copied.”
More than 100 products are manufactured for distribution both in the United States and internationally. Cleansers, exfoliates, toners, sun care creams, hydration formulas, body creams and bath lotions are just a few of the skin care products available at salons and online. Christine Valmy Inc. even offers a red wine collagen mask with anti-oxidants, and an oxygenating gold collagen mask for “mature” skin.
“Sales are up 80 percent over three years ago,” said David S. Bickel, controller and Towaco resident.
Bickel credits the increase in sales to the company’s aggressive push into the Asian marketplace.
“International sales are 60 percent of our entire gross,” Bickel said. “We are now in Beijing, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Tokyo and other countries. Both private label and Christine Valmy products are sold on Home Shopping and QVC type programs in those countries.”
The remainder of the company’s product sales are split between 10 percent retail and 30 percent professional salon sales.
Currently, more than 1 million pounds of product are manufactured annually in the 22,000-square-foot facility on Changebridge Road. Products are packaged in a variety of containers ranging from 1 ounce to 200 kilograms.
The company insists that the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services inspect the plant for good manufacturing practices regularly.
“We invite the state in to evaluate the plant,” Novak said. “We were just certified again in January.”
Roughly 20 employees work in the manufacturing end of Christine Valmy Inc.
“We’re not a huge facility, but they are a hard working bunch,” Novak said of the manufacturing team. “We can put out a tremendous volume with our limited number of people, and the quality is top notch.”
“The Asian market is the biggest market for us right now,” Novak added.
Five years ago, the company reached out to the Asian marketplace through international trade shows. Today, they have a full-time vice president of international operations, Daniel Hong, who travels throughout the Pacific Rim promoting Christine Valmy Inc. products.
Novak feels the Asian markets are growing so quickly because of the new affluent culture expanding in China.
“There is a nouveau riche segment in the population because Chinese business is booming,” Bickel said.
Much of the product produced in Montville is shipped in large bulk quantities to Asian and bottled there.
“We are very particular about our licensing agreements,” Bickel said. “Even private label will have ‘Christine Valmy Inc.’ on the packaging in small print, and our executive officer visits the bottling plant two to three times each month to make certain that is happening.”
In expanding to a large international market, adjustments have had to be made.
“Each country has their version of the FDA,” Bickel said. “Each product ‘must have’ or ‘cannot have’ certain things. So formulas have to be adjusted to meet those needs. Also, new products are developed for certain markets. For example, for India we make three kinds of foot balm. Why? Because people there mostly walk around barefoot or in sandals. The products are specific to meet the needs of that country.”
“We are a boutique company,” de Haydu added, “and we are actually manufacturing and exporting. Our company helps balance the trade imbalance for this country.”