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Where we stand on the super important issues;
Sustainability and Ethics
Change is in the air around the way businesses are interacting with both their greater global communities and supply chains and also the environment and mother nature herself and this makes our hearts SING!
We have been making changes in our personal lives to start living in a way that’s more mother nature focused and aware so it was a natural progression for us to start digging a little deeper into Bubbles and our practices too.
Can I just say it’s a rabbit hole like you wouldn’t believe. When you really start to dig and ask those questions like “so tell me Supplier A – where do you source your raw ingredients from and how much do you know about the companies you buy from?” you get a lot of raised eyebrow’s and kinda confused looks.
But this is how CHANGE happens! I can still remember when I first started exploring just in my own home and wow – like all BIG changes it can feel completely overwhelming when you first start and a very natural response is to put it in the too hard basket. We totally get that and that’s why we wanted to share this journey with you as we begin to LEAN IN to making some changes around here…
Sourcing the Raw Ingredients and packaging for the products we make ourselves.
One of the most difficult parts of what we do is finding raw ingredients locally. Australia simply doesn’t produce everything that we need. We mostly use ingredients grown natively here but we have the odd ingredient that isn’t along with some essential oils too.
What we can do is find and support local businesses who are passionate about finding these treasures from where ever they are locally produced/grown and importing them.
Since day one – we have used Australian companies for all of our Raw Ingredients whenever it was possible to do so and in the early days pretty much everything could be sourced here.
Our primary raw ingredient suppliers for the past 10 years have been;
Sydney Essential Oil Company
New Directions Sydney
Since then we have had a few ingredients go ‘out of stock’ which meant sourcing them ourselves from international suppliers. When this happened we went straight to the farms. We didn’t go to Amazon or China and do it the ‘cheap way’ that has never been our thing.
For example we use a carrier oil called Kakui Nut Oil which comes from the seeds in the Kakui Nut Tree which is grown in Hawaii. We were buying it from New Directions until one day we went to order it and it was out of stock. This was the first time we had to go outside SEOC and ND and at the time I can remember it was a little daunting. We ended up finding a local Hawaiian company who specialised in the oil and started buying it directly from them. At this stage – buying ‘sustainably’ wasn’t something we even knew about so it wasn’t a concern however we always made sure we like the ‘feel’ of the company. Their philosophy had to align with ours or it was a no go. Most of the time – this meant we always ended up working alongside businesses doing it the right way anyway.
Since then we have had to source more suppliers outside the BIG two several times. Where it becomes difficult is having to place many different orders each month just to restock our raw ingredients and the cost of shipping from more than 5 different companies – it’s all part of the process though and a benefit is having some flexibility too with some of these suppliers offering other raw ingredients we also use should another supplier run out.
As far as packaging goes we have just begun using a company called ANT Manufacturing who are based just down the road from us in Bangalow NSW. They make all of their bottles right here in Australia which is almost unheard of. Yes we pay a wee bit more for them doing it that way but its SO worth it.
We still buy some of our packaging from another Australian company called Synergy who are based in Melbourne simply because ANT cannot provide us with this type of jar. Synergy also do all of their own manufacturing on site in Melbourne and “specialise in the manufacture and supply of environmentally-friendly packaging for the Beauty, Cosmetics, Pharmaceutical, and Food & Beverage industries”.
We also have all our labels printed by a family owned and run business called Magnascan who are based in Beenleigh in the very Northern part of the Gold Coast. Again the cost of using local businesses is a wee bit more but its so important to us to support other local business whereever we can so it’s a not negotiable in our mind.
HOW we plan on BEING the Change in a BIGGER way moving forwards.
We have started asking more questions. We want to know how much our suppliers know about their own chain of supply. Have they been checking out their own suppliers, do we know that they are using sustainable practices and treating their team ethically and above the bare minimum required standards.
Stay tuned as we begin to ask the harder questions to ensure that the product you are using on your skin has only had the very best and most positive of energy infused in it for the entire process from the seed that grew the plant right through to bottle it was lovingly poured into.
We use a company called Inline Cosmetics to manufacture about 15-20% of our products namely our shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion and shave balm. One of the reasons we chose this particular company was that they offered us a ‘Sustainability Certificate’ that shows us that they are making every effort possible to use the more sustainable option where and when they can.
There are so many different levels of commitment when it comes to sustainability and when we are relying on another company to make that commitment for now we are happy with that. This might change. We might decide we want even more commitment and we will only know that once we really start digging and deciding ourselves just how far we want and also can go with this.
NEW Compostable shipping bags.
One step we made recently was to move over to a fully compostable shipping bag that can be re-used by the customer. We chose the company ‘Better Packaging Co’ as we had both received packages in these bags from other online companies and really loved the concept and how the bags felt.
We have discussed moving over to biodegradable packaging to and this is something we will continue to investigate.. Like anything in business especially small business – every extra cent we spend impacts the price we have to sell our product for so these decisions need to be made consciously and with a lot of thought – the pro’s and con’s need to be weighed.
This is equally important as the quest for sustainability and in my mind sustainability actually falls under the more overarching area of Ethical Standards.
So what are Ethical Standards?
They are defined like this;
Principles that when followed, promote values such as trust, good behavior, fairness, and/or kindness. There is not one consistent set of standards that all companies follow, but each company has the right to develop the standards that are meaningful for their organization.
We came up with a set of what we defined as Bubbles Core Value’s a few years ago and Mel and I are in the process of reimagining them to bring them a little bit more up to date with where we are heading now so Ill add them to this space as soon as they are finished.
Something you can know about us right now is that we still manufacture 80-85% of our products right here in South East Queensland. We have one amazing team member outside of Mel and myself whose name is Karly and you can find out a bit more about all of us on our About Us page by clicking here.
All of our products are still tested on ourselves and our families – we are sorry to say we have no hilarious stories to share except for one way back in the early days when I added too much red clay a mask and it stained my face for a few days. I got away with saying I was a little sunburned. Ha!
A dream of ours is that one day we have a bigger team of people as Bubbles continues to grow and the thought of providing a fun, fair and exciting workplace where people love to be is something we are really looking forward too.
We will continue to update this page as things evolve and if you are on our mailing list you will be notified in one of our ‘love notes’ so stay tuned. If you are not yet on the list you can join here. Its the best place to stay up to date and also to be first to find out about new retreats and workshops on offer.
Kate and Mel x