H20 Plus leaves Chicago to grow the business

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

H20 Plus leaves Chicago to grow the business

Related tags: H20 plus, Corporation, San francisco

The skin care company launched there in 1989, but by this time next year, corporate headquarters will be fully relocated to San Francisco, California, and manufacturing will ultimately be outsourced.

Under the leadership of Joy Chen, H20 Plus will no longer make marine-based products but rather sell and market them internationally. 

Charting the course
Chen took over the company early this year and shared a rough outline of her strategy to make the company profitable again with Crain’s chicagobusiness.com, “As a CEO I have no more than three years. The thing I'm thinking about for the first year, which is right now, is how do you stabilize the business and make some strategic choices about how to transform it? And I think our growth plan has to get started in '16 and accelerate in '17.”

Explaining the move out of Chicago, Illinois, Chen said last week that, “After careful analysis it became clear…that the current manufacturing structure was not in the long-term financial interests of the company.”

New directions
Chen’s prior success at the helm of Yes To suggests she may not be looking only to economize but also for ways to extend the brand beyond its signature oceanic ingredients. She transformed Yes To Carrots, a company developed around one key ingredient, into a company that specialized in simple, natural skin care and positivity.  

The H20 Plus formally rebranded three years ago and has since been steadily integrating Asian markets, ingredients and partnerships. Also in 2012, the company launched a night cream formulated with Japanese seaweed and extended its partnership with Disney spas to include Disney Hong Kong. And, just last year H20 Plus products began selling in Sephora stores in China. 

Trade winds
In 2011 Pola Orbis Holdings of Japan acquired H20 Plus. And now, by relocating to California the company is planning to make good use of that area’s proximity to Asian markets.

“San Francisco’s…strong global connections make it an ideal location for businesses looking to expand into Asia and other international markets,”​ Todd Rufo, director of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, tells the press.

The move will see close to 50 employees transferred to the new site, while new hires in sales in marketing are in the offing. H20 Plus is presently looking at office space in San Francisco’s financial district, according to a media release about the company’s relocation plans.

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