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Organic Isn't As Easy As You Think

Contact Author Jeb Gleason-Allured
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The promise of organic personal care is massive, but actually building a truly organic brand is extremely difficult, according to Chris Birchby, founder of Coola Suncare, an organic sun care line.

The global organic personal care market is projected to total almost $16 billion by 2020, according to figures from Grand View Research, driven by rising demand for organic hair care, skin care and cosmetics. This opportunity will be the subject of the forthcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York, taking place May 12-14, 2016.

The biggest challenge comes with keeping the organic content high, while providing the aesthetics and efficacy that consumers are wanting and expecting with COOLA products.

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Birchby, a presenter at the forthcoming summit, recently spoke to GCI Magazine about his brand, ingredient sourcing challenges and the difficulties of building a truly organic brand.

GCI: What types of ingredients are most challenging to source organically?

CB: We continue to look for organic sources for all ingredients and the availability of organic ingredients continues to increase to meet market demand. The most challenging ingredients to find organically are those that either do not yet have a significant market demand or those that cannot be commercially grown successfully, like Candelilla wax.

There are a number of other ingredients, such as oryzanol and plankton extract, which are all natural ingredients that we have not been able to find organically. When this happens, we weigh the benefits of an ingredient to decide whether or not we should use it.

We have had many successes in getting ingredients sourced organically so that we have a wide variety of ingredients to use in our formulations.

GCI: What other challenges come with formulating effective organic products?

The biggest challenge comes with keeping the organic content high, while providing the aesthetics and efficacy that consumers are wanting and expecting with COOLA products. Organic oils and extracts are excellent ingredients, but the challenge is in finding the right balance of these ingredients to provide the best products.

GCI: What is the one thing you wished you’d known when you set out to create your brand?

CB: Managing a seasonal business and products with expiration dates was a big hurdle to overcome. Launching six SPF SKUs our first year brought on some unexpected challenges but we were fortunate to grow fast enough to turn over our inventory in time.

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