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Governor praises Bellevue's Clarisonic for helping move state out of recession

Washington Sate Gov. Chris Gregoire, center in green, watches the custom product engraving process as Clarisonic CEO David Giuliani, at left, and  Logistics Manager Joe Czajkowsi explain the process at the company production facility in Bellevue on Monday. - Chad Coleman, Bellevue Reporter
Washington Sate Gov. Chris Gregoire, center in green, watches the custom product engraving process as Clarisonic CEO David Giuliani, at left, and Logistics Manager Joe Czajkowsi explain the process at the company production facility in Bellevue on Monday.
— image credit: Chad Coleman, Bellevue Reporter

Bellevue-based Clarisonic is the kind of business that is going to help rebuild Washington's economy, Gov. Christine Gregoire said during a visit to the company's manufacturing facility Monday.

Gregoire applauded the company's decision to build its products, which include a skin-care brush called the Mia, in the United States rather than a factory overseas. This helps employ more people and keep opportunities in the states.

"The only way to get out of this recession is to put Washingtonians back to work," she said during an impromptu press conference, which drew several employees away from their stations.

While the spiraling economic downturn drags on, gashing many local businesses, Clarisonic continues to push forward by expanding the client base for the Mia with Nordstrom's as its top distributor.

The company employs approximately 250 people, including about 130 in the Bellevue factory.

Clarisonic is the second successful hygiene company started by a group including Chief Executive Officer David Giuliani.

The first endeavor was Optiva Corporation, which developed the Sonicare toothbrush and then topped Inc. magazine's annual list of fastest-growing companies in 1997.

Philips purchased the company in 2000 for undisclosed terms, quickly cornering the power toothbrush market. Giuliani stuck with sonic technology for his next venture. Optiva's policies of helping workers improve their lives has carried over to Clarisonic as well. Giuliani has a history of helping immigrant workers in particular. During his days with Optiva, he provided English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.

Giuliani said he consciously chose to operate manufacturing plants in the United States because it was both efficient, and an effective means to stimulate the state economy.

"The best way to make the state more successful is to grow economic base so more people can share in the wealth," he said.

But, even in the midst of this success story, the governor acknowledged that the economy remains in flux. While companies like Clarisonic are employing individuals, governments continue to reorganize, leaving more and more workers without employment.

"Every time a company like this produces a job, a state or local government has to let someone go... But we're starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel."

Nat Levy can be reached at 425-453-4290.

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