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Eco-ago-go launches affordable natural cosmetics site 04.09.07 launch to make buying everyday natural and organic body care products easier for health conscious consumers. Gary Reed, co-founder talks to naturalchoices about sourcing their unique range.

According to the latest Organic Market Report from the Soil Associations, 2006 saw a 30 per cent increase in the number of health and beauty products licensed with the Soil Association. Organic Monitor put the UK organic cosmetics market at £208 million, in 2007 to date 200 new organic cosmetic products have been launched on the UK market, as opposed to 73 in 2006.

"Eating Healthy organic food is easy today with plentiful good quality, assured organic food. Taking the next step and using organic or natural body care products is a mine field! The labeling regulations are vague making it difficult to make an informed choice, and finding out what a product is really like is virtually impossible without trying it" said Eco-a-go-go co-founder Gary Reed.

“It all started in early 2006 after reading the Guardian columnist, Leo Hickman’s excellent book called ’A life stripped bare - my year of trying to live ethically’. We always try to be aware of the impact our lives have on the environment, and Leo’s book confirmed many of our beliefs (reduce, reuse, recycle, eating healthy, locally sourced - and ideally organic - produce, cutting back on travel, trying to buy ethically, and so on), but one section really opened our eyes! We thought that the ’nice’ ph neutral body care products that are ’kind to your skin’, were actually kind to our skin. It came as a bit of a shock then, when the book told us how many synthetic chemicals there are in most well known body care products.

Reading further we were told that up to 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed, and up to 80% of what you put in your mouth - this rallied us into action. The combination of one of us being a researcher and the other an accountant made us search for more information and facts. After reading loads of web sites and magazines, we were very confused by the amount of conflicting information out there about the chemicals in body care products and the effects they allegedly have. But we identified a key list of chemicals and decided to avoid these - if the verdict on their safety was inconclusive then our thinking was to avoid them; better safe than sorry is our motto!

The next stage of our journey was to buy natural body care products - but there are so many of them, we didn’t know one brand from another, let alone what they were like to use. But we took the plunge, spent quite a lot of money and tried some products. Some shower gels didn’t foam, some soaps just disintegrated and some toothpastes were like putty and some were very pricey for everyday use - but eventually we found some products that we really liked and they were just as good as our usual brands.

After speaking to a lot of our friends, we realised that other people are interested in natural body care products but don’t know where to start. And so, hey presto ………………………Eco-a-go-go was born!

Well not exactly, to find a complete range of body care products, the two Gary’s (the other co-founder is also called Gary – confusing eh?) search started at their whole foods shop. “We were a bit taken aback at their lack of knowledge about the producers and the contents of the products they were selling, so we went online, and through many conversations and product tests we think we have come up with the best range available in the UK.”

“We wanted to stock a range of products we are 100% convinced in, both in terms of quality, ethics and also a fair quality/price ratio. If price is not a problem the range available is large, however we wanted a range that falls within a sensible budget for everyday use.”

“Our core suppliers are Max Green Alchemy, Yaoh, Funk Bubble, and Jason, although we carry a limited range from Jason. We personally test every product, and talk to the suppliers about the how’s and with what’s and by whom each product is made.”

When visiting each product has en extensive write up by the Eco-a-go-go team; there are also customer reviews, full product ingredients lists, manufacturers’ product descriptions, packaging information, a chemical concerns page, and an explanation of Eco-a-go-go’s practical and common sense approach to choosing products to supply.

Prices range from GBP1.95 for a Yaoh lip balm, GBP7.95 for a huge 887ml Jason Shower gel and GBP20.00 for a Funk Bubble organic gift bag. All the products in the range are suitable for vegans, children, pregnant women and babies, and none of the products have been tested on animals.

Eco-a-go-go is run with a focus on customer care and ethical principles, "We have carefully chosen our suppliers, both in terms of body care products and the products and services needed to run our business - as an example; our email is hosted by a solar powered server" said co-founder Gary Orton.

Customer feedback on the products and the service has been positive, both from customers wanting to use more natural products and from customers trying to avoid harsh chemicals that dry the skin. "After using your shower gel, soap and shampoo my skin is rash-free. Thank you very much!!" review by Leigh; "I used the Jason Tea Tree body wash as soon as it arrived and I’m very impressed. It smells and feels nice. Easily as good as any regular shower gel I’ve tried. I don’t think it’s going to need replacing for some time - the bottle’s huge - but when it does I’ll definitely be reordering from you" review by Janah H.

To celebrate The Soil Associations’ Organic Fortnight running from 1st - 16th September Eco-a-go-go are giving 10% discount on all orders over £20 for the whole of September.

Peter Shield

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