About six or seven years ago we began receiving requests to export Essential Care out of the UK into other parts of Europe. We have meanwhile built up a number of wonderful relationships with distributors in about 12 European countries. From time to time I travel to visit our partners; to offer training and advice, learn from their local experiences, talk to journalists about organic skin care and help in any way I can.
Understanding of organic abroad is usually pretty high. Among our Lithuanian team it’s incredible – does everyone know what biodynamic agriculture is? I asked incidentally in the training session, referring to the many biodynamic extracts we use in our skincare. All thirty hands shot up.
Essential Care is distributed in Lithuania by Sveiki Produkti which literally means “healthy products”. Sveiki are pioneers, having created one of Lithuania’s first ever health food shop chains, which now comprises 12 stores. The shops are in wonderfully prominent places in shopping centres (Lithuania having its fair share of cold weather, shopping malls are quite a prolific feature on the urban landscape and a much-frequented destination). Somehow I can’t quite imagine such good quality health stores in British shopping centres. You certainly wouldn’t find a shop advertising ‘Natural, Biodynamic and Ecological’ products sitting opposite Tescos or Sainsburys.
Nor would you probably find store owners who care with such a passion about the products they sell. Sveiki Produkti have made the brave and ultimately successful commercial choice to stock a small selection of products they believe in rather than offer their customers a mind-boggling choice of bigger-name brands.
As a country which is keen not to be dependent on Russian energy, Lithuania has taken green issues to heart. I was lucky enough to visit a journalist from Lithuania’s largest online environmental magazine – which receives a whopping 30,000 visitors per day (Lithuania’s population is just 3.3 million). She asked me the very interesting question of whether there was a list of ingredients not allowed in certified organic skincare. I assumed it would be easy to find, but on returning home and looking, she was quite right, there wasn’t. So thank you for the challenge Inga – that list will be the subject of another blog.
And thank you too to our fabulous Lithuanian team for a lovely stay in Vilnius.