Mala has read last weekend’s article by Redd and the CN community’s comments. Check out her response and weigh in!
I completely understand the feelings of many of the customers who have commented on my reasons for the price increase. I’ve ready many responses that suggest that the reasons I listed were untrue. Nevertheless, they are true. In March of this year, the vendor that I purchase aloe vera products from (juice, gel and oil) increased their price from $40/gallon to $70/gallon. They gave no explanation why. I decided to look for another vendor and tried 3 different companies, only to find that their quality was not what I wanted for my products. In the end, I went back with the original company and paid the additional money because I liked the fact that what they offered was pure and organic. The same thing happened with the vendor that I purchase unprocessed Fair Trade shea butter and cocoa butter from. Their price increase wasn’t as drastic, but it was considerably more than I had been paying. Those are not the only items that increased in price, only the two most dramatic ones.
I made the decision, despite the recommendation of my advisor, to absorb these additional costs and as I posted on the website, am now unable to continue this process. I could have stayed with the “inferior” products (which I don’t really think are inferior, they were just not the highest quality), or used much less of the more expensive products in my formulas. Either way, in my mind, it would have yielded an AfroVeda product that did not meet my own standards — which is unacceptable to me.
It has been recommended to me on numerous occasions that I find a “lab” to reproduce my products to cut down on costs. However, when researching this option I have found that it would actually be more expensive for me, especially since I have already developed specific formulas for them to follow. What makes this option cost effective is when a person uses the already-formulated bases designed by the lab, and then only add a few additional ingredients to make it “their own”. It is easy to do because there are labs everywhere, but that is not the AfroVeda way.
I am committed to making products that perform the way they are intended, and will never compromise on quality. With the help of my chemist/consultant, I have improved the formulas for the hair butters so that there are no more issues with separating. I have also switched to eco-friendly packaging, and have upgraded the bottle labels so that they are now smudge-proof and water resistant. I have added a customer service phone number (which is posted on the website) and am now offering customers the option to call in orders, which wasn’t an option before. All of these things I handle (with the help of an occasional intern/contract employee) while hand-making, processing, packaging and shipping 30-40 orders per day.
This explanation may not diminish the frustration of the customers who have supported me and AfroVeda to this point, but it is the truth. It is never my intent (or any business’s intent I hope) to anger the very ones who have kept me in business. I greatly appreciate the customers who have embraced AfroVeda and apologize that this business decision has left them with unfavorable emotions about the company. It is my sincere hope that they have a prosperous hair journey, and that they would reconsider AfroVeda in the future.
Thank you again Nikki, for allowing me the opportunity to respond.
In perfect peace,
Founder and CEO of Afroveda