Thursday, September 25, 2014

Question: Do you want suppliers' information given?

Sorry for the quiet week, but I haven't had time to write posts or get into the workshop since last week! It's getting into my busy season for craft groups and classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle, so I have to budget my time more wisely. (No more vegging on the couch randomly surfing the 'net!)

If you're interested in classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle with me, check out the schedule. I think the classes are close to full, but you can get on the waiting list! 

But I digress! On to the point of the post! I'm getting requests to include where I get my ingredients in the posts. I'm happy to do this, but I worry that it looks too much like advertising? (It wouldn't be advertising because I wouldn't be taking money from the companies to do it, but it might be perceived that way.) I wouldn't be doing huge searches to find this ingredient many different retailers, just telling you where I found it, which means you might see the same suppliers over and over again as those are the ones from which I order. As I am Canadian, my suppliers will generally by from North America, although I can check a few places in Europe if I have time.

What do you think? Should I include information on the suppliers in my posts? 

Related posts:
List of suppliers around the world can be found in the frequently asked questions section


Birgit said...

Hey Susan,

I personally think you should not add the supplier, and it is very easy for everybody to search the net themselves and find a supplier who is close to them or ships to where they are. The reasons for my negative response are following - it would seem like advertizing to people who are not regulars on your blog, you might start getting complaints about the price not being the cheapest or the shipping fee too much, and you probably only use a few places for ordering anyway (and I assume those are the ones on the right panel - so every reader can check out those places for your ingredients and see who carries it, if they really insist on having the "exact" same ingredients as you).

I hope I didn't sound too negative,

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Not negative at all! I want to hear all the feedback! Great perspective.

Judith said...

I completely agree with Birgit, for all those reasons. Please don't list suppliers' information, we are able to search on our own. No need for you to do it for us.

Rachel said...

Off top but my comments and questions don't seem to get answers on older posts. Could you please do a profile/comparison on chia seed oil? I found a recipe that features it and I wanted to know it's properties so I can substitute it out for something else

Thank you! I love this blog so much :)

deedee sugar said...

I also agree with Birgit, n Judith. I thought I will be the only person discouraging this but it is true you do so much already. At least we can search for our own supplies/suppliers. you already give us the correct INCI so we can go with that. thank you so much :-)

Clive said...

INCI names are often insufficient to identify a substance. I welcome supplier names being included.

Elizabeth Aqui-Seto said...

I agree with Birgit's comments.

Recently, when I needed to find a Canadian supplier, I asked Susan, she obliged, and I purchased from that supplier. I was not using the correct INCI, which was solved.

It's relatively easy to locate suppliers from the list on the blog and just key the INCI in google to find the supplier closest to 'home'

Karen Sorensen said...

I would like to know which suppliers are "tried and true" instead of taking a chance on the one I found by searching for an ingredient.

Paige B said...

I am one of the ones who has asked to list where a particular ingredient was purchased. This is largely because I have, more than once, read about a specific profiled ingredient that I really wanted to try, but then could not find no matter how hard I searched. This is not for common ingredients like emulsifiers, waxes, oils, butters, etc, but for extracts and some cosmeceuticals. Banana extract is one (I have only found it one place and they only sell it in huuuuge quantities), Ronaspheres was another. I would have liked to know where Susan got it so that I could a) purchase it to try myself of course, and b) stop looking if she got it at the one place I found selling only bulk amounts. At least then I could stop searching. I'm in the US, so it's not a matter of being in a country where there is a lack of suppliers, and I'm a PhD student in Materials engineering, so I'd like to think I'm capable of an intensive search for an item. I did try messaging to ask, but Swift is a busy busy bee and I expect that not all comments or messages can be answered, even if you're a superhero! I think it would be a simple thing to say "I found this ingredient at _______, but it may be carried by any number of other suppliers". Unless you say something like "...because they have the best prices and the best selection blah blah" it's hardly advertising, it's just a statement of fact. How is just stating where you found a product much different from specifying the use of a specific ingredient in a recipe and the reason you chose it? For example, Susan almost always uses trade names like Incroquat BTMS-50, instead of just BTMS-50 or the INCI name. Is she advertising for Croda? No, because she doesn't laud that particular item over BTMS-50 from any other manufacturer (assuming other companies make it anyway). Sometimes she includes pictures of an ingredient with the supplier's name on it. Is that advertising? I don't think so; it's just identification. This is a personal blog, and Susan has always been transparent about when she receives a free trial product and has had disclaimers about where they come from. I can't understand why it would be a problem, and I would really appreciate it for the more specialized and/or obscure ingredients.

Robert Simmons said...

I would find it helpful to have the supplier listed. I would not regard it as advertising. It is up to the reader whether or not they choose to purchase from whence Susan bought her items.

Stacy said...

Personally, I would find it helpful to include suppliers' names. With so many options to choose from, it's always nice to have a "referral" from someone I trust, much like a restaurant, hotel, new book to read, etc. For me, I would still do some research after I have the information and make my own choice whether or not I'd purchase from that supplier.

Leann said...

Susan, please just concentrate on researching the actual ingredients and playing mad scientist. Anybody should be able to do a google search for supplies. If it's something really obscure, sure, include it if you can but don't make extra work for yourself!
Leann ~WikdSense & Whimsy

Nancy Liedel said...

Yessity, yes, yes. I'm not formulating for work anymore, fiber arts now, because of lye issues, but I still do cosmetics for me and some friends. I need suppliers and if someone is new, I want to know. If you are paid, you need to state that, but you can always list them at the bottom, with some you know in the US and Canada. Why? Some people are new and while you mentioning them does not seem like an endorsement to me in the least, not mentioning them seems like it's harder. Maybe a nice link and a link to that link. It would take a sec to drop in.

However, there are going to be people on all sides and it's your blog, so you need to do what is best for Susan!!!

Nancy Liedel said...


You are entitled to your opinion and to me, it did not sound at all negative. It made good sense. I don't agree, because I had a hard time finding good suppliers at first, but it's a good opinion and you should not apologise for it. I can see why you said it and it makes sense. You have good reasons for stating it. I get a little passionate when people couch their opinions that may get negative responses with apologies. Own that sucker! It's a good opinion and I will back your right to state it without apology. Not that you know me, etc. I just think people can handle disagreements with more grace than poo flinging monkeys, but sometimes do not. I refuse to be a poo-flinging monkey. Have that opinion that is different. You might even be right because, you know, sometimes, (don't tell my husband), I am wrong. GASP!!!

Love the name. My dogs, growing up, were Brigit, Cassandra and Ginger. My sister and I are Nancy and Susan. Not that those are not fine names, but I am more exotic than, "Nancy." :)

Shelly said...

Hi Susan, I see no reason why you shouldn't post where your items came from. Especially the most difficult ones to find. when I find a good and ethical supplier I share it with all my friends. It is up to us whether we will use them or not. A simple disclaimer would solve any question as to whether you were receiving any compensation.
If you feel the inclination to share these connections with us you could of course create one page of all the suppliers you buy from and leave it at that and leave it for your followers to sift through if they wish.
Follow your heart :~)

introvertitude said...

I guess I fall somewhere in the middle here. I agree that we can do our own searches for common ingredients, but for more exotic/uncommon ingredients, it can be difficult to find exactly what you used (especially for those of us who are still fairly new to formulating). Perhaps you could list suppliers for ingredients that you would consider harder to find or confusingly named?

Sly said...

Susan: I am new to your site - only a few months - and new to making lotions, etc. (I'm a soaper). So many of the ingredients are way over my head, and I appreciate the links on the side that explain what they do. I have been doing research and have found it difficult to find many of the ingredients, so I would REALLY appreciate information as to where it can be found - that would be very helpful.
I have wanted to try one of your recipes and comment for your book drawing, but I have yet to find all the ingredients in one place to purchase... Still searching....
Thank you for the wonderful blog - I am learning a lot. Sly

Leanne R said...

Hi Susan,

I love that you provide supplier information! Please continue to do so!

Yes, the internet is easy to search, but relevant companies often do not come up. I found one that I like only through a listing in a blog. After the fact, every internet search I could dream up still did not identify the company, which is now one of my regular and most economical suppliers. Clearly, for this company, failure to be identified was simply a function of how they have indexed their website. For rare and/or difficult to find ingredients, I especially appreciate when a supplier is listed, saving me precious search time. I would rather be creating than searching the net!

It does not seem like advertising to me, and you could avoid any concerns about this by including a simple statement when you mention a supplier. Something like: "I am not paid by suppliers to list their names; information is provided only as a convenience to you." Providing supplier names in no way obligates your readers to use them. As pointed out, people can search on their own. Sometimes, they appreciate not having to.

Thank you for all the information you share!


p said...

I agree with introvertitude -- supplier information for unusual or hard-to-find ingredients like the ones Paige B mentions, but avoid supplier info for ingredients that are more readily available. Seems like a good middle path! And you wouldn't have to worry about the legitimate issues that Birgit, Judith, and others have raised.

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

I have no idea why some people would even feel offended when you post a supplier's name? I am from the EU and ingredients are not easily found, and I have learned from your posts about great US suppliers.

And even if you were advertising, why should I be upset? you're doing a fantastic job anyway, you're testing ingredients, writing about them, which is really awesome. No other blogger does that - none that I know of.

but, well, fell free to do as you consider most appropriate. If you do not want to list suppliers' names, at least please do not delete the suppliers' list in EU from your files. :)

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

oh, and by the way: IF you were an affiliate to any of those companies and get a discound because people may cllick on a link from your blog when buying ingredients at the same fair price as any other customer, why should I be upset or look outraged? you're spending SO MUCH TIME in research, test, in writing these WONDERFUL blog posts and sharing information, you DO DESERVE some kind of reward from any company you buy your ingredients from. If I were in the US, I would gladly buy and mention you as a referrer, just to say thank you for all that you do for us.

And also, advertising is NOT lying about a product. You are honest enough to share with us the good and the bad, so only narrow minded people OR people who haven't read your blog in their lives may be suspicious. But that particular readers category should not be an issue :)

so - do as you please, but note that I am not at all concerned that you may be advertising. With your fantastic blog, I would even be pleased to see one or two advertising posts :))) Let them pay you to test some ingredients ;) you deserve it!

Simone said...

Hi Susan,
I'm in the yes please add suppliers' names group. Living in Europe suppliers are not as easy to find as they might be in the US. Stating where you find the goods just gives a helping hand and you always state that you have received goods free for testing if you haven't purchased them.. As far as I am concerned that is not advertising it is just being extremely honest. I'm with Robert, Leanne R and PaigeB listing the suppliers' names just makes life a little easier and if it doesn't take up more of your valuable time then thank you for the extra..

Anonymous said...

For newbies like me suppliers names would be helpful. I have searched and searched over the past year for products and only ever found Voyageur to be local, only by stumbling across your blog tonight did I find out about Mission Abbotsford and Edmonton! Incredibly helpful! Please tell us!

Anonymous said...

I find it extremely helpful that you provide supplier information. An ingredient may go by a different name depending on the supplier, and some ingredients are hard to find and only sold by one or two suppliers. When I decide I need an ingredient, I am absolutely dogged in my quest to find it. It makes my life so much easier when you just tell me where you got the ingredient, that way I don't spend 45 minutes checking eight different suppliers looking for "Ronaspheres". And then, I may want to buy an ingredient you mention in a post from four years ago. If you don't say where you purchased it, I may spend literally hours looking for it only to find that Voyageur was the only supplier that ever had it but they stopped carrying it three years ago. It just makes my life so much easier when you say where you got a hard to find ingredient. Apparently I am in the minority, but I just don't see any conflict of interest going on here. Let's face it, making personal care/beauty products is a fairly uncommon hobby. Before I got into it, I was a beauty product junkie, but it never occurred to me that the ingredients in lotion might be available for purchase in small quantities online. It's not like you can find lotion making ingredients at Michael's. So part of the hobby is finding suppliers who carry the ingredients for whatever particular project you want to make. Please don't stop disclosing where you get particular ingredients, especially hard to find ones.

Thank you for your wonderful blog,

Jen said...

Heck yeah, share your suppliers if it's not a pain in the rear to do so, especially for esoteric ingredients - it seems to be common practice for fashion blogs and I, for one, love it. Yes, that's a strange analogy, but it's interesting to me to see where people are sourcing things and to get an idea of how much I'd be spending to procure said things. Also, Susan, you are so sweet - I love that you're concerned about ethics. Keep rocking on, whatever you decide!

Susie Flores said...

I would appreciate the supplier names listed that you use and trust. I can imagine that you have been through quite a few. This saves me both time and money. It also allows me to focus on learning the craft rather than spending all day sourcing ingredients. :)

Andy Lee said...

Of course, you should provide supplier information. And by "supplier" I mean where you can buy small quantities to enable lab experimentation or just to be able to do small production runs. Of course, anyone can find the manufacturer of any ingredient just by Googling, but they are very resistant to send out samples unless you have a way to present yourself as being with a substantial enterprise with a commercial website (which makes you appear as potentially a substantial customer). Contacting the manufacturer of an ingredient sometimes gets you a local distributor contact, but getting samples from them is quite a process and their minumum order is often a 55 gallon drum for liquids or 400 lb on a solid or powder

The suppliers such as and are wonderful, but their supply listings are quite limited so we need all that you know about. From your blog and from your readers' comments, plus my own searching, I have compiled a listing of about 30 of these small quantity suppliers. If you would like my listing of links, I will send it to you.

An example of the frustration of finding and ingredient stemmed from your excellent posting on Sucragel:

Yes, I Googled to find the manufacturer Alfa, but found them impossible to reach. I left my phone number at several of their voice mails, but no call back. I went through my list of thirty suppliers, but none had Sucragel.

And incidentally, to get samples from anywhere (like Croda or others) you must present yourself as a substantial business. It is quite a game to play and really stymies any kind of cosmetic startup. I have been in the industrial chemical formulation business for many years (which I sold), but now am doing a startup effort. Your site, Susan, has been a valuable education tool for me because I working in the industrial area doesn't give you a complete perspective on cosmetics.

So, yes, tell us where we can buy ingredients which you describe. Preferably, we need places where less than drum quantities are available. It will help everyone who is doing this as a home project or start-up lab operators, like me, who are on tight budgets.

Andy Lee

Michelle Abbott said...

Hi Susan, first I'd like to say that you are AMAZINGLY brilliant!! I learn so much from you and greatly appreciate the effort you put in to this blog. That being said, it doesn't matter to ME whether you post the supplier info or not because I have several suppliers and can find the ingredients myself. But...people admire you and trust you and I think that is why they would like to know where you find your supplies. We all want to be like you. lol Also, for anyone that somehow thinks it's wrong to have affiliate relationships I'd like to remind you that this blog is FREE for YOU but it is NOT FREE for SUSAN. Blogging is not a free activity. I know this because I have a blog and yes it costs money so Susan, if she were to choose to do so, should have every right to get compensated by an affiliate so she can put it right back into this blog. She will not get rich but will make some extra cash. It's your choice Susan. If it's going to use up valuable time for you to set up affiliates and list where you get your ingredients then don't do it, my dear. However, if you'd like to earn a little cash in order to supplement your income for this FREE blog then go for it!! From what I'm reading the majority of your readers would love to know where to find a lot of these supplies. Thank you so much for all you do!!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Thanks so much for your feedback. I need to clarify that putting the suppliers' names on the blog wouldn't be a paid thing. It would be me offering information on where I bought my ingredients or where I've seen it. I wouldn't be making money in any way. I'd just be doing it as a courtesy to my wonderful readers.

Ashley said...

Hi Susan,

Have you ever dealt with Green Valley Aromatherapy? Their customer service is excellent, I have no complaints at all, but I am wondering why their prices are so much higher than other sites such as Voyageur, even with wholesale pricing? Am I missing something? Is their quality superior?


Zoe said...

Dear Susan:

THANK YOU Heaps, bunches and gobs, for all your time, effort and information. I would LOVE to see a list of recommended suppliers (AND I wouldn't even give a hoot if they showered you with loot, to boot)! Having spent hours and hours roaming around your site I trust you to only recommend companies and/or products I can trust. So I say, to those who don't want you to list suppliers...don't look at the list. ;) I've gotten some pretty nasty items by blind ordering, so, I'm pretty committed to reviews and recommendations. Thanks again, Susan, for being so willing to share both your knowledge and your wit.

kitchen chemistry junkie

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Zoe! Thanks for your opinion. I really want to know what you, my wonderful readers, think about this idea. I haven't made a final decision yet...

Have you seen the suppliers' lists in the frequently asked questions section? (Scroll down to the bottom). There are loads of suggestions there for suppliers. I've tried most a few of the Canadian ones in B.C. - Voyageur Soap & Candle, Aquarius, Suds & Scents, Soapcraft - and Creations from Eden in Alberta, and have nothing but good things to say about all of them. I have used Lotioncrafter, the Herbarie, Formulator Sample Shop, Brambleberry/Otion, and the Personal Formulator in the States and was quite pleased. I've even used Of A Simple Nature in the UK and loved their service!