Tom’s: A Private Label and Contract Manufacturing Case Study 

We’ve been creating liquid soaps for both ourselves (Petra) and for other brands for over 30 years. During that time, we’ve become experts in creating great formulations for everything from shampoos and hair pomades to body lotions and mouthwash. In more recent years we’ve become keenly invested in developing organic and green products that are favourable for both humans AND the planet. As such we’re excited with the new wave of green organic products becoming a mainstream trend in the marketplace. We are even more excited at having new partners, who share our vision of sustainable products, choose to work with us. We are excited to share with you the story of one of our private label and contract manufacturing partners who was a professional hairdresser before he delved into creating his own brand and products.

Meet Tom:

For the sake of our client’s privacy, let’s just call him Tom.

Tom used to be a professional hairdresser and was frustrated with the mainstream products that were available to him, he concluded that these products were laden with harsh chemicals that were damaging to his client’s hair. After searching the market for better alternatives Tom wasn’t satisfied with his options and set out to create his own formulations from all-natural botanical ingredients. When Tom introduced these product prototypes to his clients they loved them and requested to buy them off him in retail packaging.

To create this type of product and ensure the products quality and effectiveness, there was a focused approach on quality and performance. As Shazia Iram, Head of R&D at Petra explains, “When developing a sulfate-free system, the first difficulty is to get a good lather, cleanability and consistency without using any natural or non-natural thickeners. Natural systems are sensitive and easily breakable, an obstacle we encountered often.” This showcases a process of research and development that we try to emulate for every product so each is built on the solid foundations of the scientific method.

As time passed, Tom realized that the demand for the types of sulfate-free organic products he was making was larger then he had first anticipated, his customers wanted more than just shampoos and conditioners from him; they wanted body care products and hair styling products from him as well. Tom knew he needed a partner to help him achieve the new vision he had for his business.

To better understand Tom and his story let us share how Tom and Petra’s partnership grew through mutual understanding and the pursuit of creating quality products for customers that lacked more natural alternatives.

Enter Petra

When Tom came to us, he wanted to create a line of hair care products to begin with. He wanted us to take his existing formulations and re-build them to be organic and sulfate free. To exercise caution and make sure the products were perfect his first order was quite small; just 100 pieces.

Shazia Iram, Head of R&D explains “Coming out with a sulphate-free and organic line of personal care products: body washes, shampoos, conditioners, etc. that met the USDA organic requirements, while maintaining it’s stability and performance was a tall order. Most sulfate-free systems are not good on foaming and cleansing, but we were able to overcome this limitation.”

Fast forward three years and Tom’s company has exploded in both sales and SKUs offered. He has been able to elicit the support of some well-known distributors who were quite excited about his offering. They have been able to get him into some of the most well-known retail chains like Whole-Foods in both Canada and the US.  In Tom’s case what had begun as one man’s quest to create a healthier and greener alternative for consumers grew as a business fuelled by great products, conscientious consumers and a strong sense of responsibility from the creator, the manufacturer and finally the end-consumer.

Today we produce over 30 SKUs and orders from Tom range between 20-50,000 units at a time.

Petra’s Contract Manufacturing Capabilities

How did we help Tom achieve this sort of scale in a short amount of time?

We helped Tom leverage our variety of equipment to meet his growing demand, from larger 2000kg tanks to heated tanks and cooling lines for his solid products like hair pomades and deodorant. He was also able to leverage our extensive distribution network across North America which included not only our 50,000 sq. ft. HQ in Toronto, but also warehouses in Reno and Atlanta, that he could ship-to and keep some safety stock at for his multiple distributors/customers.

“We have helped Tom plan and forecast for his growth using the tools we have available to us: MRP / Strong forecasting & Reporting via PowerBI. We also invested in filling and labeling equipment specifically for Tom that’ll enable us to stay ahead of their growth.”

–    Jesse Vieria Private Label Account Manager

The Private Label Partnership

As time has passed Petra and Toms relationship has grown from a manufacturer-client relationship to a deeper partnership in which Petra advises on topics such as product formulations, production and inventory management. We work very closely together with Tom to ensure we’re staying on top and ahead of his business’s needs. In the end, we want to help support Tom’s business in whatever capacity we can to ensure the happiness of our business partner and his consumers.


At Petra we’re excited about partners who are at the forefront of market trends, especially organic and green initiatives. One such partner is Tom and his company. We hope that we can continue to help Tom’s business for many years to come by creating quality green products and operational strategies. We’re extremely excited about this partnership with Tom and can’t wait to see what he does next!

For more information about the contract manufacturing services that Petra offers visit our informational page here.

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