Integrity and Ingredients – Part II
In Part I of Integrity and Ingredients we talked about how Essential intentionally steers away from the common practice of “fairy dusting” for the sake of an ingredient deck and instead chooses to use ingredients in efficacious amounts when formulating. Part II of Integrity and Ingredients is all about how we source ingredients.
With more than 800 different products in the current Essential Wholesale & Labs catalog, how and where we source ingredients that meet our high standards for quality is just as important as how we use them. There is a vast, worldwide pool of suppliers of cosmetic ingredients. Essential is regularly contacted by wholesalers and vendors asking us to consider buying from them, but it’s not easy to earn our business. Since being established in 2000, we have cultivated a comprehensive a network of growers, suppliers, manufacturers, and distillers. In that time, we have learned who we can trust to provide us with the highest quality raw ingredients, and equally important, who we can’t trust. In early 2012 we sought to develop a new relationship with a supplier in China. The pricing on their Vitamin E was very favorable, so we sent our COO to visit the manufacturer, inspect their plant and process, and to bring back samples. The samples he brought back were tested and proven to be pure and high quality. The decision was made to order a full tote of Vitamin E from this new manufacturer. When we received the tote, we were immediately concerned. The color was much darker than the original sample, and it smelled bad, like crude oil. To make a long story short, we were unable to recover our money from the Chinese manufacturer. They claimed another party had somehow received our refund via wire transfer. The Chinese authorities were involved. However, we never did receive resolution. The tote was destroyed, and we learned a valuable lesson in seeking out less expensive sources; you get what you pay for, and quality is rarely cheap.
While we still explore and seek out new relationships with new suppliers, our long-term relationships with our established network of suppliers has proven to be valuable in many ways. They support us with their knowledge, research and expertise. They let us know when ingredients become less available and harder to get such as lime essential oil. When our supplier let us know that crops were not doing well and that this essential oil would be hard to find, we decided to hold our stock for our production and remove this ingredient from our catalog until supplies became more available. They also help us find alternatives to ingredients we want to reduce our use of or eliminate using entirely such as palm oil. Even though we source our palm oil from Brazil, we are currently seeking alternatives to using palm entirely. We use this information to help us expand, create and be proactive and efficient in our manufacturing and be true to our values. Vendors who are transparent about the composition, purity, processing techniques and extraction methods and origins of their products are the people we choose to do business with. We require documentation for every ingredient we purchase, and we are very thorough in inspecting ingredients as they arrive at our facility. Before they even get put on the shelf in our warehouse, our Quality Control Manager thoroughly inspects the paperwork and tests each ingredient to make sure it meets our strict standards. If an ingredient is found to be unsuitable, it is not put on the shelf.
You can rest assured that ingredients and products purchased from Essential are of the finest quality. We back that up with documentation and testing. You can always request a certificate of analysis on any products or ingredients Essential offers. Stay tuned for our next and final installment of Integrity and Ingredients for more information on ingredient purity.