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6 Things to Consider Before You Commit to a Wholesale Essential Oils Supplier

The essential oils market is huge. $18.62 billion huge. And there are tons of ways to capitalize on the opportunity.

When you begin your search for a wholesale essential oils supplier, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the industry. 

There’s a lot to think about. What do you look for? What are the red flags? Which oils are the best for your needs? 

Whether you’re new to oils or not, this can all get overwhelming. So, we’ve put together a handy six-point checklist on things to consider when choosing an essential oils supplier. 

1. Know the Essential Oils’ Intended Use

If you’re getting the feeling that essential oils aren’t super straightforward, you guessed right. 

Essential oils are a tricky bunch. Each oil has a very specific intended use, and even oils of the same scent can have different uses depending on a few qualities (more on that in a bit). 

Here’s a quick look: There’s a split between market share of essential oils intended for food & beverage and oils used for spa & relaxation. These are different types of essential oils, so you need to be clear in your intended use and find a supplier who can fulfill that need. 

Essential Rose Life’s intended use is very clear: aromatherapy for mood-enhancing. Their “skincare products harness the science of aromatherapy for the most uplifting beauty experience around.” 

If you’re looking to sell skincare products that make the people who use it feel happy – as opposed to edible solutions for health, for example – Essential Rose Life would be a good option.

Essential oils have grades, which are meant to help you choose the right one to correspond to the intended use. But according to the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), essential oil grades are just a result of marketing tactics. 

Instead, you should look for “genuine, authentic, plant-derived, and unadulterated.” They also cite a report, Aromatherapy Lifestyle, that classifies essential oils as follows: 

  • Genuine essential oils = completely unaltered
  • Authentic essential oils = from a specified plant only 
  • Plant-derived essential oils = essential oils used in aromatherapy should all be extracted from a specified plant species
  • Unadulterated essential oils = no additives, extenders, or price-reducing ingredients – just what’s left after distillation or expression

If it’s not listed on a supplier’s website, ask them directly. Specifically, request the batch-specific MS/GC spec report of each oil they sell. This will tell you about the molecular structure of the oil. If they can’t do that, look elsewhere. 

2. Check Other Relevant and Important Product Information

Essential oils are complicated products, and there’s a lot that goes into the “manufacturing” process. Many things can affect the end product, so you want to get a detailed overview of your potential investment.

The NAHA recommends collecting the following information: 

  • Common name
  • Latin name
  • Country of origin
  • Part of plan processed
  • Extraction method (distillation or expression)
  • How it was grown (organic, wild-crafted, or traditional)
  • Chemotype (when relevant)

You’ll also want to smell the oils to judge for yourself. Ask for oil samples before placing any bulk orders. Compare oils from a few different suppliers to make an informed and confident decision. 

Here’s another logistic you’ll need to think about: climate-controlled storage. Find out what temperatures the oils need to be kept at, and ensure you have warehousing set up to accommodate those requirements. 

Also keep in mind that oils are perishable, and they will expire if you hold onto them for too long. You’ll need to consider this when ordering product. 

You’ll also need to consider “fragrance.” According to the FDA, you can use the term in your list of ingredients when you’re trying to protect trade secrets. However, some wholesale suppliers have used this as a loophole to avoid disclosing all ingredients to the public. This is a red flag because fragrance can mean synthetic, which could contain allergens. 

Some wholesale essential oil companies make this easy. For example, Frequency LLC states that they don’t use any synthetic fragrances, preservatives, chemicals, silicones, parabens, phthalates, or products/ingredients tested on animals.

So, before you buy wholesale essential oils, make sure you know exactly what’s in them.

3. Find a Supplier With Products That Match Your Target Market

Essential oils are a viable product for lots of businesses: You could be a beauty and wellness brand looking to incorporate essential oils into your existing product line, or a spa looking to add retail to your service-based business. You might even be in search of raw ingredients to make your own oil blends, cleaning solutions, or beauty and wellness products. 

If you want to buy essential oils in bulk to sell, you need a product your target market will love.

Just like with soap, there are many different types of essential oils: organic, synthetic, natural, raw, vegan, fair trade, local – the list really goes on. 

And consumers pay attention. In fact, they increasingly demand environmentally friendly and natural products, and the essential oils industry has seen a significant increase in demand for 100 percent plant-based oils – that means no synthetic or animal-based ingredients. 

You need to find out which attributes matter to your target market and find a supplier who has the products that fit. 

Wildflower Gypsy, for example, specifically makes hair care products with essential oils for women with color-treated hair. 

So, before choosing a supplier, you need to define who you plan to target and the types of products and essential oils they want and need.

4. Choose an Essential Oil Supplier That Can Grow With You

The NAHA recommends businesses choose wholesale essential oil suppliers who are “on the small size and not a large corporation.” They cite looking for a supplier who is passionate about the industry and sharing it with the general public. 

But it’s important that they’re prepared to meet your needs – both now and in the future. 

For example, you might need to change or introduce product offerings based on changes in demand. According to Grand View Research’s market analysis, the top two oils remain consistent, but others like eucalyptus, cedarwood, and peppermint are expected to grow in popularity. 

And Statista data shows that in 2016, the top oils were tea tree, orange, and rosemary. 

Trends change all the time, and it’s important to keep up – and choose a supplier that can too. 

Plus, as your business grows, you’ll need to place more frequent and larger orders. While minimum order requirements are usually easy to find, you might have to reach out to the supplier directly to find out what their maximum capacity is. It’s also a good idea to check about how much lead time they need for large orders. 

A supplier like Frequency LLC has a $100 minimum for orders, but you’ll also want to reach out directly and ask what the maximum order size is.

There’s a potential that the bigger your order, the lower the cost per unit. Inquire about unit cost for orders of 50, 100, 200, and so on. 

You might also have plans to grow your own branded product line in the future. If that’s the case, find a supplier who also offers private labeling as an option.

Basically, be transparent about your short- and long-term business plans and how it will affect your inventory needs. 

5. Factor In Import Fees

Taxes and tariffs could affect your purchase of wholesale essential oils – particularly if you’re sourcing from a different country. When you import and export goods, you’re often subjected to government tariffs and taxes at customs. 

Governments classify products and assign corresponding duties. Here’s the classification in the US

Concentrates of essential oils; terpenic by-product of the deterpenation of essential oils; aqueous distillates & solutions of essential oils (HTS 33019050)

There are actually no import fees for essential oils 🙂 

However, if you’re using it in products like soap, haircare, etc., additional classifications and taxes may apply. 

Check official government websites for tariffs in the UK, the EU, and the U.S.:

Or use an online calculator, like:

We verified the information with Simply Duty’s calculator, using Brazil (one of the top exporters of essential oils) as an example: 

Bottom line, it’s crucial to research and plan for any import fees ahead of time.

6. Vet Your Essential Oil Supplier

There are tons of essential oil wholesale suppliers out there. How do you sniff out the fakes? 

The NAHA recommends finding one owned by an aromatherapy practitioner or essential oil specialist, like Essence One

Lauren VanScoy founded her wholesale essential oil company to raise awareness for mental health and wellness. She eventually pursued a certification in aromatherapy and now creates “all-natural products that are uplifting and calming.”

Beyond that, you’ll want to do a background check of sorts on your potential essential oils supplier. Ask for documents and other resources to prove their legitimacy, like:

  • Business license / registration
  • Compliance certificates
  • Proof of FDA registration
  • MS/GC spec report for each oil
  • Current customer references and their contact info

It’s also important to do your own online sleuthing – Google queries like “[supplier name] reviews” and “[supplier name] scam” to find the truth. 

Verifying a supplier’s professionalism and trustworthiness isn’t always easy. Using a reputable wholesale marketplace that can handle the verification process for you can give you more peace of mind. For example, every supplier on Handshake has been carefully vetted and selected for their quality and professionalism.

Summary: Finding a Wholesale Essential Oils Supplier

Finding a wholesale supplier for any product is an important but intimidating task. To make sure you choose the right one, consider these six things:

  • Who is your target market? Look for a wholesale essential oils supplier that has products with intended uses that fit your target market.
  • Understand what goes into the essential oils. Is it high-quality enough for your needs? 
  • Consider import fees. While essential oils carry no tariffs, you might need to pay additional fees if you have haircare, skincare, and related products with essential oils.
  • Verify everything. Request documents, certifications, and verifiable references to ensure the wholesale essential oils supplier is reputable, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Share your vision for the future. Make sure they can meet your growing needs. 

It’s okay – and even recommended – to take your time in choosing an essential oils supplier. 

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