At Combe, we put people’s most personal personal care needs at the center of everything we do. We have been operating like a start-up since 1949, before the term ‘start-up’ even existed. Ivan Combe launched the company with the idea of making products that addressed the unmet needs of consumers in categories that either didn’t yet exist, or that the big companies simply ignored. It was a brilliant business model, and today we continue to create and cultivate over-achieving brands that push cultural and innovation boundaries to deliver new solutions and greater satisfaction for our consumers around the world. We have a proven track record of successful category and brand development, having created disruptive brands including Clearasil, Odor-Eaters, Just For Men and Vagisil. But time and experience have not dampened our entrepreneurial spirit. We are always looking for the next personal personal "issue" to solve. We are unique in the CPG world because we bring the “&” to work every day. We are both deeply rooted & always exploring. We are time-tested & future-minded. We are three-generations-savvy & next-generation-bold.
Once we’ve identified an unmet need in the personal care, beauty or healthcare space, we formulate a solution and then we make it ourselves. It sounds simple enough, but many companies today out-source the critical functions of Research & Innovation (R&I) and manufacturing. We, on the other hand, choose to do it all by ourselves because we want to ensure the quality and efficacy of all our products. We own state-of-the art laboratories, a salon for consumer testing, and two manufacturing plants, all located in the United States. The process of making our products is personal for us, too. When the opportunity calls for it, we also partner with top contract manufacturers, but always with a very hands-on, highly collaborative and involved approach. Our R&I, Regulatory, Quality and Safety teams ensure that all of Combe products are FDA-compliant, as well as clinically proven safe and effective.
In addition to our Combe-grown brands, we also invest in promising, early-stage companies, using creative and bespoke partnership models which allow these companies to leverage Combe’s talent, strategic capital, successful operating platform, and go-to-market capabilities, to accelerate their development and growth.
As a privately-held family business, we have a uniquely caring culture. But even with our family-feel, we’re all part of a high-performing team that loves to compete and win in the marketplace. To achieve that, we embrace a set of core attributes that guide our performance each day. We call these attributes C.A.R.E.
Collaborative. Accountable. Responsive. Entrepreneurial.
C.A.R.E. drives our success. We celebrate people for demonstrating C.A.R.E in their day-to-day work. We encourage our teams to give feedback to one another, so that we bring out the best in one another. We take a totally kind, totally honest approach to our communications with one another. We believe this makes for a more humane work environment where high-performers can thrive, work together effectively, and truly enjoy the work they do to drive our company forward.
Paying it forward by giving back is core to Combe's DNA. We are a New York-based company and we are proud to serve as advocates and supporters of the local community. Combe has a close partnership with The YMCA, with employees sitting on the board of the organization. Many years ago, after the White Plains YMCA lost their local summer day camp, Combe stepped in and announced a gift to acquire 100 acres of local land for the camp to continue to operate. The camp became known as Camp Combe, and today serves the needs of over 500 children a day, many with developmental, social, emotional and/or medical special needs.
Combe also supports many local charities through an employee-driven initiative called “The Big Give”, where employees campaign for their favorite charities and select five recipients every year. Recent area recipients of The Big Give donations include Hope’s Door, Veteran’s Adaptive Sports, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Gilda’s Club and The Special Olympics.
Combe has also been a supporter of programs at White Plains Hospital, the White Plains Community Action Program, the White Plains PBA and the White Plains Outdoor Arts Festival, to name just a few.
Combe’s community efforts also reach far beyond Westchester, as we try to create a positive impact in all of the communities where we employ people around the United States and the world. Combe leaders participate on the boards of, and provide financial support to, many international non-profit organizations including Malaria No More, Heart Care International, One Acre Fund, and Dr. Edna Adan’s Hospital, and sit on the boards of academic institutions including Northwestern University, and other colleges and schools.
At Combe, business is personal and personal is business.
The Combe leadership team is committed to delivering growth and value for the company and all its stakeholders through the development of high-performing agile teams, innovative brands and strategic partnerships. They are an effective blend of team leaders who have helped build Combe from within and leaders who have joined Combe after gaining deep experience with some of the top CPG companies in the world
In the 1940s and 50s, our founder, Ivan Combe was one of the MAD MEN of the day. He had been a successful salesman and worked as an account executive with advertising legend, Ray Rubicam, of Young & Rubicam fame, in the swanky world of NY Advertising. But his real calling was to make products himself and to create and build brands that really worked to help people look and feel their best. He invented Clearasil Acne Medicine and partnered with Dick Clarke by sponsoring the launch of American Bandstand as a way to showcase Clearasil to American teenagers every weekend on TV. When you erased that monster pimple that popped up right before prom with Clearasil, you have Ivan to thank. Ivan also invented Odor-Eaters. You know, those insoles that keep your Nikes from smelling like something died in them.
That was Ivan. He saw a problem. He invented a solution. His creations became household names. But he always flew under the radar. If he was doing all these start-ups today, he might be a rock-star CEO on the cover of Fast Company but, back then, he preferred to let his products speak for themselves. The results his consumers experienced, and how happy they were with his products, were his reward. He never rested. When he saw a need in the market, he created something new to answer that need. Ivan and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, were partners in the truest sense and she was as integral to building our company as Ivan was. Today, we’re still inspired by their compassion for people’s needs, their ingenuity and the tenacity that built our company brand-by-brand.