Donald Frodsham started a branded cosmetics and household production company in 1971 named: Wallace Laboratories, in Bulawayo - Zimbabwe. The company was small, but experienced initial success due to the founder’s effort and work ethics. Some 15 years later, things turned less viable as Zimbabwe started showing signs of degradation. The Frodsham family subsequently immigrated to South Africa and set up a similar but smaller operation in Polokwane (named Pietersberg at the time). This new business was named: Labnor.
Just as the first years in Zimbabwe, the new works showed continued growth and in 1983, Labnor bought Pentr Products in Wadeville - Johannesburg. Labnor and Penta both focussed on production of “Dark and Lovely”, for Carson Product company.
Annual turnover in 1995 reached R1.8 million. It was in this year that Donald Frodsman passed away and his son, Andrew, took over the business. Building on the recent successes and with a fresh vision, the company consolidated the two operations into one Midrand-based establishment and re-named it: Le-Sel Research.
The focus of the newly formed Le-Sel Research shifted from a mix of owned brands and contracting, to exclusive contracting (a first in SA). The major business objectives were re-aligned and management started focusing energy and efforts on taking a leadership position in the contracting industry. The vision entrenched a drive to develop a total service and quality system to a level never seen before in the Contracting Industry and to build facilities to a standard that would effectively become a barrier to entry. Maintaining and progressing these objectives remain (and always will be) the focus of Le-Sel Research.
The accelerated growth which the new strategy afforded Le-Sel Research saw the client base grow to over 40 Southern-African outsourcing clients. Around 2003 the strategy shifted in a new direction resulting in the Client base being reduced significantly to roughly 16 clients allowing a more focused service to those clients we believe to have real growth potential in the market.
The growth Le-Sel Research enjoyed over the recent past strengthened its position as the largest contract manufacturer of toiletries and cosmetics in Southern Africa and is regarded by the industry as the leading contract manufacturer in Africa.
Going forward, Le-Sel Research will continue to set the standard in South African outsourcing whilst convincing more factory owners of merit to outsource operations to Le-Sel Research. With Africa being a key focus for many companies, Le-Sel Research has seen enormous growth in the ethnic haircare market and continues to be the leading contract manufacturer in this area. We intend to become Africa’s leading developer “from concept to completion” courtesy of our design laboratory and expect significant growth through retailing own brands.
Le-Sel Research continues to support the smaller, niche businesses requiring a localised manufacturing site, with product ranging from specialised skincare to high volume household product, thereby maintaining one of the most flexible contract manufacturing sites in the country.
Le-Sel Research: Strengthening our role as Africa’s best outsource option. Striving to guarantee prosperity in all the lives we touch.
Non-negotiable quality will be at the core of this
Operational excellence will facilitate this
Efficiency will accelerate this
Advanced systems will guarantee this
People make this happen
Our values and culture entrench this