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Should I use organic wholesalers?

I'm trying to start an organic and natural homemade cosmetics company. I want to use FairTrade and organic ingredients where possible. How do I approach wholesalers and is it best to stick with UK suppliers?

Kresse Wesling writes:

Buying local can sometimes mean that you pay a premium (unless the raw materials actually are local). This will mean that your start-up margins are small. However, buying from overseas often means that you have to buy a larger volume, which puts more of your capital at risk and could cause you storage issues. From my own experience I would suggest the following:

If you’ve already got orders for your first production run, and some investment capital and a garage to store any excess, then go straight for the overseas option. However, if you don’t have much start-up capital then it’s best to just start local and small, build a customer base, make some mistakes, and then you’ll know when it is right to take the risk and start buying in bulk.

Manufacturers can sometimes be a great resource but there is no substitute for your own research. You have to check and double check everything and push the boundaries on what can be done. If you are always asking questions and keep a positive and respectful tone with your manufacturer then they are more likely to start digging too and help you out.

I haven’t worked with cosmetic scientists before but have worked with other kinds of scientists and found them to be incredibly helpful.

Basically I would work on the three-front system: Talk to the manufacturer, talk to the cosmetic scientists and do as much research as you can.

Kresse Wesling is the founder of Biosupplies , Babaloo and fire-hose

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