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Organic cosmetics: globally sourced, locally made

It was an accident that led Susie Wang to launch organic cosmetics company 100% Pure seven years ago. Wang was a skincare formulator working for some of the world’s largest cosmetics companies when one day she knocked over a chemical she was working with for an eye cream and it warped the table on which it spilled.

Shocked at the harshness of the chemical, Wang decided to start a genuinely green company that would make a cosmetics line that was truly 100% pure.

Partnering with her boyfriend, Ric Kostick and her brother, James Wang, Wang created a line that is free of strong detergents, artificial fragrances, chemical preservatives and toxins, and also animal-friendly: all the products are vegan or vegetarian.

Faced with the challenge of finding suppliers for the ingredients to make their products, as well as for the packaging -- which is made from recycled plastic, glass and paper – 100% Pure turned to Alibaba. 

"It's like we found the golden key to the importing business," said Kostick. 

100% Pure is truly a global trader and uses Alibaba to source lingonberries from Sweden, Kona coffee from Hawaii, shea butter from Africa, Argan oil from Morocco, vanilla from Madagascar, chocolate from Belgium, green tea from Japan, lavender from Provence, tea tree and Eucalyptus from Australia, and Acai from Brazil. Much of their packaging is made by Shanghai-based Blopak.

“Alibaba gets us straight to the factory, straight to the farms which then lowers our costs – we don’t have to go through middle men,” said Kostick. 

The company brings all its ingredients and packaging to its San Jose factory and manufactures its products there. 

“By keeping our packaging prices down we can keep our market share and give jobs to people in the U.S.,” says Kostick. 100% Pure employs over 50 people across its factory and stores.

“Before Alibaba, finding manufacturers was almost impossible because many factories don’t know how to market their services,” said Wang. “Alibaba is a tool that enabled us to connect with each other.”

The Bay Area company now has 500 different cosmetic products, and sales of around $20 million. It has two stores, one at Santana Row in San Jose and one in Berkeley, with plans to open more, as well as widespread distribution. It recently bought a new, 143,000 sq ft headquarters in an 8-acre office park in San Jose.

100% Pure website: www.100percentpure.com