“Raining Rose” — a downtown Cedar Rapids company that makes lip balm — has been named three times to “Inc. Magazine’s” list of 100 fastest-growing inner-city companies. The machine in the plant today can pump out thousands of tubs of lip balm an hour, but company owner Chuck Hammond is on the brink of adding another machine to the line.
“They’re custom-built machines and so we’ve got a local machine builder who’s working with us,” Hammond says. “The nice thing about that is not only does it give us extra capacity but it gives us redundancy. Our goal is to continue to grow and we feel like there’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of market.” Ninety percent of what Raining Rose makes is lip balm, but they’ve also branched out into soaps, lotions, salt scrubs, salves and sunscreen.
Nearly everything is made with natural ingredients. “The vast majority of all our products use vegetable oils and waxes such as bees wax…all bio-based, plant-based products, except for the sunscreen ingredients. Those are active ingredients that are regulated by the FDA and so those are outside of the realm,” Hammond says. “But all the bases of what we make are bio-based.” Raining Rose began when a Cedar Rapids couple began making lip balm in their home from natural products and giving it to friends and relatives. Three years ago Hammond and his partner stepped in and moved the company to its present location.
You may be using lip balm made at Raining Rose in Cedar Rapids, but is carries another name. “The main body of business that we do here is manufacturing for other companies,” Hammond says. National brands like Wild Oats, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are among the companies that contract with Raining Rose to put their logo on a tube of lip balm. Raining Rose makes 12 flavors of lip balm, including peppermint, tangerine, vegetarian and one called vegan raspberry. About three dozen employees work at the Cedar Rapids plant.
There are big caldrons in the back of the factory where the waxes, oils and other ingredients are blended to make the base lip balm. Then the product goes through the filling line. The tubes are capped, then shifted into the packaging area. There are inspectors who collect samples for the lab for testing to ensure the sun screen component in the lip balm is appropriate. Then, the tubes are packed up for shipping.
Related web sites:
Raining Rose info