Comparing Suppliers, anyone done tests?

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meowsandy

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I'm getting ready to place a large order for Essential Oils to use in CP soapmaking. I have been exclusively ordering from Brambleberry for about 4 years now. I used to order from Camden Grey, but switched to BB because CG packaged in plastic bottles. Then I was browsing blogs and heard rave reviews on Mad Oils EO's. Price wise, Camden Grey is by far the cheapest, then BrambleBerry, with Mad Oils coming in last. But I'm a strong believer in you get what you pay for and all that.

So, has anyone compared the quality of EO's coming from these supplies? If shipping EO's wasn't so expensive I'd try a sample from each one.
 

jules92207

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Have you checked out New Directions Aromatics? I buy most of mine there. It has $100 minimum but I find that easy to meet.
Also Liberty Naturals is nice.

I buy a few from BB and WSP if they are cheaper than NDA cause I order from them more often but otherwise I wait till I am low on enough I can meet the minimum requirement.
 

meowsandy

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Have you checked out New Directions Aromatics? I buy most of mine there. It has $100 minimum but I find that easy to meet.
Also Liberty Naturals is nice.

I buy a few from BB and WSP if they are cheaper than NDA cause I order from them more often but otherwise I wait till I am low on enough I can meet the minimum requirement.
I had not tried NDA, because I've never heard of them. But I'm going to check them out. The $100 min is no problem. What does s WSP stand for?

I was mainly asking about quality comparisons. Have you had any quality issues with any of your oil purchases? My understanding is that Essential Oils can legally sold diluted up to 90%. And then there's lower grades depending on factors in the harvest, etc.
 
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snappyllama

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WSP = Wholesale Supplies Plus

If you stick with reputable soap supply companies, you should not see any dilution of their EOs. I know some folks have had good luck with various eBay/Etsy/Amazon sources - but that's very risky since cheap prices can mean inferior, diluted products. On the other hand, buying "therapeutic grade" EOs for insane prices from multi-level marketing companies in teeny bottles does not mean that those EOs are better in any way from the products at reputable soap supply companies. You're paying for marketing and the apparent costs associated with making illegal/fraudulent medical claims.
 

Seawolfe

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I have found, in my limited experience, that the quality of essential oils doesn't really vary between reputable suppliers. Just like I don't find that any grocery store sells better satsuma tangerines than the other. Now, variations like "aged patchouli" and "bulgarian lavender" or "5x" will obviously make a difference. And I'd like to throw Soap Making Resource into places that you check, their prices seem very reasonable to me when they have sales or specials on.
 

meowsandy

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OK, thank you Seawolfe and SnappyLlamma. I just didn't want to sacrifice quality for price. I saw reviews on MadOils saying the oils were so much better than all the others the customer had tried. And I will definitely check those other suppliers out.
 

makemineirish

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Price wise, Camden Grey is by far the cheapest, then BrambleBerry, with Mad Oils coming in last.
I am afraid that I am not as helpful as it pertains to quality comparison. I happen to have ordered from all of those companies, but tend to source different items from each. That doesn't really allow for much side-by-side comparison.

I am a numbers geek and wanted to address your cost comparison. My analysis is a bit different. While I agree with your assessment of the retail prices, I find that the shipping offsets that greatly. With respect to shipping rates: Camden Grey usually runs comparably high, with Brambleberry being more reasonable, and Mad Oils downright cheap. (Mad Oils' current shipping rates are $4.50 for orders less than $10, $9.99 for orders up to $125, and free shipping for anything over that!)

I received an order from Camden Grey today , but placed it with them primarily due to their New Year's sale. Mine was a $300 order that would have incurred a shipping fee of more than $60 without the $58 promotion. I know that oils and butters are heavy, but adjusting for shipping, their prices are actually 20% higher than they appear. That being said, they do carry some items that are difficult to find elsewhere.

I have never placed an order with WSP despite their popularity. It appears to me that most are enamored with their free shipping (including my incredibly broke sister-in-law). However, whenever I have duplicated my cart on WSP's and BB's sites, the total (including shipping) has been cheaper from Bramble Berry. I live in Austin, Texas and assume that this might not be the case if you are even further away from WA than I am :)

I do think that Mad Oils is pricier, but like their products and really love their customer service. I have never failed to reach a representative when I called. Bramble Berry also scores high for me there. While I have often needed to leave a message, the call is always returned by 6:00pm the same day. Any calls placed to Camden Grey have never been returned. However, they have been surprisingly responsive to my emails (despite what I consider to be an off-putting FAQ page).

In short, I factor shipping and customer service into my vendor preferences and might reverse your rankings based on that.
 
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meowsandy

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I am afraid that I am not as helpful as it pertains to quality comparison. I happen to have ordered from all of those companies, but tend to source different items from each. That doesn't really allow for much side-by-side comparison.

I am a numbers geek and wanted to address your cost comparison. My analysis is a bit different. While I agree with your assessment of the retail prices, I find that the shipping offsets that greatly. With respect to shipping rates: Camden Grey usually runs comparably high, with Brambleberry being more reasonable, and Mad Oils downright cheap. (Mad Oils' current shipping rates are $4.50 for orders less than $10, $9.99 for orders up to $125, and free shipping for anything over that!)

I received an order from Camden Grey today , but placed it with them primarily due to their New Year's sale. Mine was a $300 order that would have incurred a shipping fee of more than $60 without the $58 promotion. I know that oils and butters are heavy, but adjusting for shipping, their prices are actually 20% higher than they appear. That being said, they do carry some items that are difficult to find elsewhere.

I have never placed an order with WSP despite their popularity. It appears to me that most are enamored with their free shipping (including my incredibly broke sister-in-law). However, whenever I have duplicated my cart on WSP's and BB's sites, the total (including shipping) has been cheaper from Bramble Berry. I live in Austin, Texas and assume that this might not be the case if you are even further away from WA than I am :)

I do think that Mad Oils is pricier, but like their products and really love their customer service. I have never failed to reach a representative when I called. Bramble Berry also scores high for me there. While I have often needed to leave a message, the call is always returned by 6:00pm the same day. Any calls placed to Camden Grey have never been returned. However, they have been surprisingly responsive to my emails (despite what I consider to be an off-putting FAQ page).

In short, I factor shipping and customer service into my vendor preferences and might reverse your rankings based on that.

Great point regarding Customer service. I had forgotten that was another reason I stopped ordering from Camden Grey. That and their overpriced shipping.
And that brings me to another point. I have found that most companies do not include Essential Oil purchases in their free shipping promotions, since EO's must ship UPS ground. The wording in their policies is often unclear about this.
 

makemineirish

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Case in point:
I realized that in my rush to submit my Camden Grey order before the sale deadline, I failed to include kokum butter. That's one of those ingredients that is not available everywhere, but CG has it. If I put two pounds in my cart with six ounces of EOs that were out of stock before, the total would be $54.85. However, the estimated shipping on four items weighing less than five pounds (even allowing for glass bottles and packing material) is given as $19.07. That's an uptick of thirty-five percent! Ouch

That margin only gets worse if it were more inexpensive ingredients. If I throw two pounds of M&P soap base in my cart with the same quantities and weights of cheaper EOs, I get the same shipping fee on an $16.70 order. That's a cost increase of 114%.

In fairness, it is more cost-effective to place larger orders with ANY supplier as the shipping price per pound drops significantly. However, placing the same order with Bramble Berry gives me a shipping fee of $9.00. There are only a few EOs available from all three suppliers in the same weights to allow for direct comparison:

Eucalyptus globulous EO (2oz)
CG - $3.50, BB - $3.80, MO - $12.90
Lemongrass EO (2oz):
CG - $7.50, BB - $5.30, $7.95
Rosemary EO (2oz):
CG - $4.60, BB - $5.80, MO - $6.75
Star Anise EO (8oz):
CG - $10.75, BB - $16.08, MO - $20.00

That being said, an ounce of Helichrysum italicum is $123.90 from CG, $210 from BB, and doesn't exist at MO. CG also has the largest selection by far. My (somewhat elusive) point is it is difficult to draw a hard line in the sand on the validity of shipping fees. It really is subject to your individual order and always involves a little effort to cross-check your favorite vendors.
 
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Spice

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Case in point:
I realized that in my rush to submit my Camden Grey order before the sale deadline, I failed to include kokum butter. That's one of those ingredients that is not available everywhere, but CG has it. If I put two pounds in my cart with six ounces of EOs that were out of stock before, the total would be $54.85. However, the estimated shipping on four items weighing less than five pounds (even allowing for glass bottles and packing material) is given as $19.07. That's an uptick of thirty-five percent! Ouch

That margin only gets worse if it were more inexpensive ingredients. If I throw two pounds of M&P soap base in my cart with the same quantities and weights of cheaper EOs, I get the same shipping fee on an $16.70 order. That's a cost increase of 114%.

In fairness, it is more cost-effective to place larger orders with ANY supplier as the shipping price per pound drops significantly. However, placing the same order with Bramble Berry gives me a shipping fee of $9.00. There are only a few EOs available from all three suppliers in the same weights to allow for direct comparison:

Eucalyptus globulous EO (2oz)
CG - $3.50, BB - $3.80, MO - $12.90
Lemongrass EO (2oz):
CG - $7.50, BB - $5.30, $7.95
Rosemary EO (2oz):
CG - $4.60, BB - $5.80, MO - $6.75
Star Anise EO (8oz):
CG - $10.75, BB - $16.08, MO - $20.00

That being said, an ounce of Helichrysum italicum is $123.90 from CG, $210 from BB, and doesn't exist at MO. CG also has the largest selection by far. My (somewhat elusive) point is it is difficult to draw a hard line in the sand on the validity of shipping fees. It really is subject to your individual order and always involves a little effort to cross-check your favorite vendors.
Thanks for all your work on the thread, quality does matter. I figure that if I can get an eo of higher quality and less in shipping, it sometimes comes out to just about the same or maybe a bit higher. However, I am getting a better product. Since this works on my mind, I feel better about it.
I try to get a better deal by buying from a supplier that is the closest to my home state. The farther away the more in shipping. By accident, I found, https://wholesale.starwest-botanicals.com/, which is driving distance for me, so I can pick up if I want (usually when I am getting a tube of co). The best about this company, it has quality eo, butters, herbs and even clays. They even have organic eos. It was easy to sign up for a wholesale account. This company is in Sacramento, CA, for some that might be way out.
 

baylee

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I have never placed an order with WSP despite their popularity. It appears to me that most are enamored with their free shipping (including my incredibly broke sister-in-law). However, whenever I have duplicated my cart on WSP's and BB's sites, the total (including shipping) has been cheaper from Bramble Berry. I live in Austin, Texas and assume that this might not be the case if you are even further away from WA than I am :)


In short, I factor shipping and customer service into my vendor preferences and might reverse your rankings based on that.
I did the exact same thing with BB and WSP. I live in Georgia, and BB turned out to be in the running, with less than $5 more than WSP (includes shipping charges). I agree with considering customer service when looking at prices. When it comes to having a problem or question and needing answers asap, the cost of the product rarely comes into play. Just my opinion, but when it comes to keeping track of your supplies/batches, staying with one supplier for most of your supplies is time-effective, and time is priceless.
 

Susie

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I get most of my EOs and FOs from WSP. They simply have more of what I look for. BB just does not have a big list of EOs, and I order lots of those. So, I do stick with one supplier (mostly) for my fragrances, and it has nothing to do with shipping.
 

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