Challenges & Rewards of Personally Sourcing Argan Oil

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Moroccan mosque, photo credit Katharine L’Heureux

This week, as I was planning our first trade show (iSpa in Washington, DC), several Fall events at Bergdorf Goodman, an increasingly rigorous production schedule that will keep up with our sales requirements, as well as the ongoing maintenance of our website, I contacted my cooperative in Morocco to place an order for a quantity of argan oil with the hopes of its delivery in one month.I was promptly told that this would be impossible, due to the concurrence of the holy month of Ramadan and the late summer heat, and that it would be impossible to fill this modest order in less than two to three months.

Of course there are other cooperatives and distributors that could serve my needs within ten days if needed, and I have access to them.It would make my life much easier if I purchased from one of these better-known distributors.I often am required to weigh my needs as a business vs. my goals of trying to help women in need. Often this means purchasing oil from small cooperatives that can most benefit from my help.These cooperatives are frequently less organized, and can be populated by elderly women who need the money to support their large families.

While I sometimes have to choose the needs of the women over those of my business by taking risks on small cooperatives, what I gain in return is invaluable.The personal satisfaction of knowing that my purchase is helping women who really need it is what gives me the energy to persevere through the crazy months ahead.And I have the added benefit of being reminded of a different culture, one in which tradition is revered above all else, and in which age old rituals supersede our urgent need to “get things done”.

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