A wholesale pain in the *bleep* – Part 2

So, I was waiting patiently since October 27 for the products that I ordered from Essential Wholesale. After filling out 15 pages of paperwork for the company and Health Canada, I faxed everything in and sent an email asking for them to let me know if they received the information on November 2.

I mean, I didn’t want my credit card information just hanging around the place in a random warehouse in Oregon.



I didn’t panic. I knew that November 2 was election day south of border, so I may not have gotten a response until the following day.

November 3… no comment. Nothing on November 4, 5, 6 or 7. By November 8, I’m annoyed – there is no reason why it should take almost a week to let me know that you’ve received forms with my personal information. The company said if they didn’t receive the forms by a certain date, they would cancel my order. So, I wanted to make sure they got what they needed by the time they needed it.

I sent an email on November 8 to Essential Wholesale’s customer service.

Nothing on November 8, 9 or 10.

By November 10, I’m ready to cancel the dang order because I have no idea if they’ve received anything or not, whether my order is being processed or if it’s been canceled. And, really, this is turning into a pain.

At first, I thought it was my ignorance of the process, but I take that back.

When I put my order in as a customer with an ‘international’ address, before I was given the option to confirm my order, I should have been alerted to the fact that I would have to fill out every form known to man. Once I sent my forms back, within two business days, I should have received a confirmation that my information had been received.

I didn’t get any of that.

So, on November 10, I sent my last email to their sales team at 1:18 pm EST saying:

I’m trying to get some information about my order, but I’m not getting any response. I’m following up to find out if my faxed forms were received on November 2. Can someone please respond and let me know?

Guess what comes into my inbox at 6:45 pm? A confirmation that my order has been sent.

Then, on November 11, I get a response to my original email on November 2 saying that my faxed documents had been received and the order has been shipped.

Really? I had to send three emails to get someone or something to respond? I am not impressed with that customer service at all. I didn’t so much mind the amount of time it took to get the products sent, but I do mind that I had to beg to get some information.

OK, so while I’m annoyed, I’m excited to get my products. I checked my UPS tracking number like every day… but it looked like the darned products couldn’t or wouldn’t cross the border. Check it below.

Jumping all over the US/Canadian border. Sigh. My excitement was a mere shadow of what it was when I first started this long journey through wholesale purchasing.

Yes, it took forever… it would have been a shorter trip to go to HoneyFig and buy $86 worth of products – meaning one moisturizer and one conditioner. But I digress (and I was at HoneyFig this weekend to get some Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey — no, the product junkie in me isn’t taking hold).

Well, I thought it was $86 worth of products.

Thursday, I’m excited because I knew my products were coming. I couldn’t wait to examine them and check out everything. All day, I was running to the window when I saw a truck of any kind roll onto my street. Finally, at just after 5 pm, I saw the brown truck pull up and I ran downstairs like the product junkie I am.

I flung the door open and saw the UPS delivery guy with my big cardboard box.

He said, “This is C.O.D., cash on delivery. That will be $41.”


Chupse! $41 extra dollars? I thought this was supposed to be a money-saving endeavour! I would buy a bunch of products at wholesale prices and SAVE MONEY. I ended up spending a whopping $127 CDN (or $21 per product). When it’s all said and done, yes, it’s still cheaper than buying a bunch of moisturizers and conditioner from commercial manufacturers that specialize in natural hair, but DAMN.

At this point, I don’t know who I’m cursing: Essential Wholesale, the grabbing Canadian government or myself. Chupse. I felt like someone just threw cold water on my hair product excitement.

I guess this just tells me to keep my shopping local and keep my product junkie-ism under control, because I could have survived without any wholesale products. Some shea, cocoa and mango butter along with some oils were doing me just fine. That being said, these products better work (work, like how Miss Jay says ‘work’ on ANTM)… and I’m a bit excited about my styling hair jelly.

Chupse. I won’t be doing this again. It’s a great idea, but for my Canadian naturalistas, it’s too much confusion and work. Unless I’m selling something and making a profit, I don’t believe I need to do this to myself again.


Reviews to come over the next few months.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Khadija says:

    I am sorry to hear…..darn! I am kind of reading bits and pieces throughout and I am not sure what products you had been hoping to get from that company but do you think New Directions Aromatics in Brampton would have had the same stuff you had been searching. Mind you, you’ll have to pay taxes (HST) but you can drive there and save shipping and get a lot of things at a great price. Plus they are amazing. I usually do yearly volunteer work there for their open house. They give a tour of their warehouse.
    I love them! Google them, I am sure they’ll come up. You can even say Khadija sent you. They’ll know this henna lady 🙂

    1. urbansista says:

      I’ve ordered lots of stuff from New Directions Aromatics, but I was looking for some of the base creams to start playing around with my own concoctions. While NDA has bases, many of them contain coconut oil, which I’m allergic to. So, I was looking for somewhere that had bases that were coconut-free… that’s what led me to EW.

      I am thinking about checking out an NDA workshop! They all sound so cool! Maybe in the spring and I’ll definitely tell them that you sent me 😉

      1. Khadija says:

        Amazing! That you already go there.

        I didn’t know you were allergic. That’s really interesting when creating new products for others.

  2. r*dean says:

    I’d certainly be peeved to at that run around!

    1. urbansista says:

      It was annoying… but I am totally enjoying their Exotic Butter Cream 😉

  3. urbansista says:

    @Khadija – my allergies were one of the biggest reasons I decided to go natural. My scalp was reacting terribly to relaxers and many of the commercial shampoos that I was using. It’s also one of the reasons I was so excited to try your shampoo bars! Many of the ones that I saw online were made of saponified coconut oil and I definitely couldn’t use them. Whenever I can find products that don’t contain coconut (and I’m still learning all the different terms for coconut), I’m happy and I want to try them all out.

  4. Khadija says:

    Honestly, I hadn’t even thought that deep, and it’s so true and important. I didn’t really think there would be many people who were allergic to coconut. It makes sense obviously but it’s make me look at our soaps in a whole different way. I guess the Cocoveda with the coconut milk doesn’t work well for you right?

    The first reason I decided on not using coconut oil as part of our base, was because in fact it can be drying in soap, mainly when used in high quantities, but we use other hard oils that work really well. I feel more comfortable knowing and realizing these allergies. I can’t wait to create new soaps and bars. I am working on a few new recipes. Any ingredients you like, please suggest 🙂

    1. urbansista says:

      I believe that the coconut allergy is pretty rare — I’m the only person I know that has it. It’s not like peanuts or even wheat allergies. Yep, no Cocoveda for me, but I’ve encouraged my sister to try it.

      I appreciate that you’re thinking about allergies. Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturers don’t. It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just that for most people allergies don’t play a big part of their lives. It just means more work for me reading and understanding label ingredients.

      I can’t wait to try the new shampoo bars! I love castor and olive oils, shea butter and aloe — if I think of anything else, I’ll let you know 🙂

      1. Khadija says:

        Perfect! For sure

  5. Back to Curly says:

    that sucks big time! Hopefully you’ll get many returns on your purchases and they’ll last well into next year. My aggravation level would’ve long been through the roof…you are a much better woman, lol. If you do plan on making a few things, please share! Your experience with the wholesaler, while VERY jarring…still opened my eyes to the possibility of just doing more at home stuff on my hair. Haven’t had time to investigate new things on the ‘naturalhair market’, and I’d rather spend time in my kitchen making stuff than at the local BSS store these days…the holidays season just has too much bustle & hustle…and ohhh la la! that Excotic butter cream sounds YuM!

    1. urbansista says:

      I think that if you’re based in the U.S., it will be a less annoying process because there won’t be all the red tape that I had to deal with. The thought of mixing my own products does make me happier than shelling out dough at my local drugstore or beauty supply. The exotic butter cream is working well on skin and hair (although my hair’s still in kinky twists… not for much longer!).

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