Saturday, 1 September 2012

Some Q&A with Nicole Marett

Until consumers start voting with their dollars, buying products that are ethically sourced and tell other companies that we won’t shop with them, the market can’t change.

I recently emailed the owner and founder of Radiant Cosmetics because I am writing about businesses that have ethical practises, and highlighting RC's fight against human trafficking

Here's a little Q&A with +Nicole Marett  

1) When I asked about your mica being ethically sourced that really made me wonder what the cost difference is. Is there a significant difference in the price of supplies that you know to have been provided via fair labour as opposed to those without transparency or with questionable origins?

It depends product to product, for mica specifically, the price difference is minimal for ethically sourced mica. However, other ingredients the price difference is quite large. Often times, finding ethically sourced products is difficult, anything organic or mineral based is often up to 50% more in price.

2) do you feel that your ethical practises and donations have made it difficult to run a profitable business?

Yes! There are several reasons it makes it more difficult. First, we donate 20% of profits, which sounds minimal. But that’s 20% we could be spending on better advertising and marketing each month to get the word out more. Also, often times because our products are more ethically made, we have trouble offering a selection that is on trend and keeping up with fashion seasons. For example, I’ve been wanting to add and revamp a few new products, but simply can’t find ingredients that have records of their source so I either have to choose to make a product that I know will be a big seller and make us more profits, or choose not to make it because I don’t know where the ingredients come from.

3) Is it difficult to find suppliers that demonstrate transparency and fair labour?

Yes, this is the most difficult part. A year later, I’m still working on getting every single ingredient certified. It simply doesn’t exist to check everything. It’s easy to check the bigger ingredients such as mica, but other items, while I feel comfortable that they are ethically sourced still lack certification. I’d love to fair trade certify my company, but don’t have that option because certification can’t be found on every single little piece/part. Asking suppliers is also another huge pain, they are confused at why I care so much about where the products are made and how. Many suppliers won’t answer me or care to check. It’s definitely a frustrating process.

I think something else that would be great to include would be the responsibility that lies with the consumer as well. Before starting Radiant, I didn’t understand why businesses couldn’t just do things ethically. Just get new suppliers, didn’t seem that hard. Then I realized what a headache it can be. Most of all though, I find that customers don’t care. Every once in a while I’ll have people ask about the sourcing of my products, which I love, because it means they care. However, not enough people care. Until consumers start voting with their dollars, buying products that are ethically sourced and tell other companies that we won’t shop with them, the market can’t change. I know for me, as a small business, making a profit has been incredibly hard, people have to actively choose to shop for ethical products, whether that’s mine or another company.

#fighthumantrafficking   #endsextrafficking   #ethicallysourced  #ethicalfashion


  1. Very cool. I don't really wear makeup other than chapstick and the occassional mascara, but I will definitely check out their procucts and pass this on.

    1. I'm so excited, my mascara is coming soon. Their newer one costs more, but I'd rather wear it less often if I really can't afford to spend more (I can) than get cheap drugstore makeup at the expense of someone else.

      I'm hoping they will be making more other beauty products in addition to makeup, like lip balm or lotions.

    2. ok, I just have to ask, have you ever tried chicken poop?

      I'm completely serious. I'm not a big fan but my mum loves it.

  2. Great interview. Great questions! But yeah, I'm with Rebecca, I don't wear too much make-up. Ha. Great job Annabelle, thank you for championing justice.

    1. Well, if you ever decide to. . .please don't. haha! I think I've told more guys about this than girls, but hey, guys usually know girls who wear makeup ;)