The makers of everything from wigs to cocoa butter products to beverage flavorings have all added essential supplies to their manufacturing rosters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


For the cofounders of Lili Clarke Hair, it’s personal: Lili Clarke knows two seniors who died of COVID-19, and Emmanuel Voissard had to watch from afar after his parents contracted the disease in France.


Their East Stroudsburg company typically sells "natural and fashionable" wigs for people who have hair loss from cancer, alopecia or another medical reason, Clarke said. But when she started hearing about COVID-19, she asked a manufacturing contact in China about making masks.


At first, Clarke wanted to protect her mom, an assisted living facility resident who is "a little stubborn" and still wanted to do her own shopping.


But her mom wasn’t the only person she could help. "What about my neighbors? What about the other employees?" Doctors, too, needed personal protective equipment, along with every other type of essential employee "like the UPS guy and the people in the supermarkets," she said.


The Chinese manufacturer now makes several types of products, according to Clarke and Voissard’s specifications: masks (surgical and KN95, an N95 alternative), face shields, thermometers, sanitizer and wipes.


"We put in the work," Clarke said. "We are not sitting down and just buying and reselling."


And in addition to selling the supplies, they’re also donating some to nursing homes, assisted living places and cancer patients.


"We’re trying to bring awareness of keeping our own people safe in the community," Clarke said, and those groups are especially susceptible.


Beyond Pennsylvania, the company has made a point of helping Puerto Rico and Colombia, Voissard said. Much of the company’s pilot work with cancer patients was in Colombia, Clarke explained.


Though a high-end wig company might not seem like the most likely business to make this switch, PPE is "an extension of what we’re doing," Voissard said, which is "serving people in need of protection."


So they’ll keep at as long as necessary – and maybe even after COVID-19. Voissard isn’t experiencing his usual seasonal allergies this year, which he attributes to wearing a mask.


Another company that’s part of helping people look their best has adjusted during COVID-19. Hayward Laboratories, which makes Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion and skin care products, is producing hand sanitizer.


"It’s not a very difficult formula to make," said Antone McIntyre, director of manufacturing.


Getting all the materials right now is the hard part. After securing isopropyl alcohol — "the most critical ingredient" — from Exxon Mobile, switching over just meant making hand sanitizer a priority, McIntyre explained.


Hayward is still making other products, but the company’s "main goal is to just keep producing this safe and effective medical-grade hand sanitizer to address the widespread shortage," he said.


Making hundreds of thousands of gallons of this key product at the East Stroudsburg facility has the added bonus of securing about 300 jobs, he noted. Employees are kept safe through a "robust program" that includes temperature checks, masks and face shields, staggered break schedules, social distancing and cubicle walls, and, of course, hand sanitizer.


"We reached out nationally, and also locally" to Lehigh Valley Health Network and Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey, McIntyre said. First responders and the military are also receiving hand sanitizer.


As a Pennsylvania manufacturer "we just wanted to give back to our community in the best way we know how," McIntyre said.


Vigon International, an East Stroudsburg company President Steve Somers describes as "a flavor and fragrance raw material ingredient supplier," turned out to already have some key hand sanitizer ingredients.


"Some of the extraction solvents that we use are the same solvents that are used for hand sanitizers," Somers said.


Vigon uses isopropanol and ethyl alcohol to extract vanilla, for example.


Making hand sanitizer is "a simple process" of blending ingredients in a stainless steel tank, so making hundreds of gallons alongside the company’s regular operations isn’t a hassle.


The tricky part is packaging it, as smaller container options have been difficult to obtain. Vigon has been donating 1-gallon bottles to ambulance corps, police, nonprofits and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono. Sometimes the company sells the hand sanitizer at cost — for example, to a bank that had none for its tellers.


Like Lili Clarke Hair, Vigon has contacts in China that have been able to send PPE, and Vigon has been donating masks, gowns and wipes to the hospital as well.


"We’re a philanthropic company," Somers said. Employees get paid time each year to work on a community project, and Somers is on the East Stroudsburg University and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono foundation boards.


"As a business, we don’t want to just take. We want to give as well and we feel responsible in that regard," he said.