You’ve probably noticed this already, but in case you haven’t, suffice it to say that there’s a major movement taking place in the world of essential oils.
Perhaps now more than ever, essential oils are garnering major attention from consumers who are endeavoring to live a healthier lifestyle. For the uninitiated among us, essential oils are highly concentrated plant-derived oils that have been shown to have significant health and therapeutic benefits.
People use these intriguing natural substances for everything from healing skin disorders to alleviating stress to fighting off sinus infections, and for those who have adopted a more natural or holistic lifestyle, essential oils represent a return to organic, chemical-free living.
One of the primary drivers of this trend has been the proliferation of essential oil companies in recent years, many of which have become full-fledged behemoths in the realm of essential oil retailing and distribution.
While there’s nothing wrong with having large companies involved in this somewhat grass-roots arena of health and wellness products, many people prefer to do business with smaller companies that have more of a family feel. This is where a company like Plant Guru comes to the fore.
Plant Guru Company History
Headquartered in Plainfield, New Jersey, Plant Guru primarily operates as an e-commerce retailer of essential oils. They do not market their products in any brick-and-mortar stores, nor do they have any physical flagship store of their own.
According to the company bio on their website, Plant Guru is a family-run business, but no founders’ names are given in the bio. They state that they are a family of essential oils enthusiasts, and that their business was born out of two main things: The passion they have for using essential oils, and their frustration with the high prices charged by multi-level marketing companies for essential oils.
This is one of the things that stood out to me from the beginning about Plant Guru – they do not have a multi-level marketing (MLM) arm of their business by which to sell or distribute their products. While I don’t have anything against multi-level marketing companies, I do understand their frustration in terms of the sometimes inflated prices you can pay when buying essential oils through an MLM-based retailer.
Since product sales are essential to the compensation plan of MLM companies, they can often place quite a premium on those products in order to give everyone their “cut” of the retail profit. I understand this to some degree, because you have to provide some type of incentive to your distributors if you want them to continue marketing your products.
The problem is that the higher prices can sometimes be a formidable barrier to entry for people who want to start using essential oils, but might not have the disposable income to commit to those higher prices. I think that’s the angle that Plant Guru is coming from here – they wanted to create a business in which they could market essential oils directly to consumers via the Internet, and cut out the middleman.
Plat Guru Product Quality
Being a smaller outfit, Plant Guru does not grow or process their essential oils in-house; instead, they work with suppliers from all around the world in order to source the highest quality essential oils for their product line.
In addition, their website states that they work with one of the most well-known essential oil experts in the business (although the name of the individual is not mentioned). Each batch they bring in-house is tested by a third-party laboratory that utilizes GC/MS (Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry) testing, both of which are designed to detect contaminants, adulterants or other impurities in the essential oils.
The essential oils they sell are 100% pure (with no additives or diluting agents), and they are extracted from the plant material using the common methods of steam distillation, cold pressing, solvent extraction, and CO2 extraction. In addition, Plant Guru’s essential oils are natural therapeutic grade, which means that they don’t have any carriers, synthetic bases or chemicals added into their composition.
Plant Guru Price Range
Now this is where the rubber meets the road for Plant Guru, because price was one of their main stated reasons why they entered into the essential oils business to begin with. As mentioned on their website, they were concerned about the prices of 15ml bottles of essential oils getting too far out of hand with some of the MLM companies out there.
In response to this, Plant Guru decided to reduce the quantity sizes of their bottles from 15ml to 10ml, which automatically lowers the price per unit for customers. While this doesn’t do much to actually lower the price on an ounce-for-ounce basis, it does help in terms of making the oils slightly more affordable for people who want to start using them, but might not be able to afford the up-front cost of a 15ml bottle.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had times in my life where I needed to buy a certain products, but I didn’t have much disposable income on hand to do so (ahem, college days). At those times, I was so glad that I could go to a local drugstore and get a travel-sized bottle of a particular product, just to get me by until I could afford some more.
I believe that this is pretty much the same principle at work with Plant Guru’s products – they’re offering slightly smaller-sized bottles for a cheaper price, so that you can go ahead and get access to the oils you need without having to hurdle a large price point.
As far as actual dollars and cents goes, the prices for their 10ml bottles of essential oils range from $5.99 on the low end to $59.99 on the high end, based on a scan of the 104 total 10ml products that I saw on their website.
As I’ve mentioned before, these prices will vary based on the type of plant that you’re getting the oil from, as it is far more difficult to extract essential oils from some plants versus others. This keeps the prices quite accessible for most people, but it should be noted that Plant Guru offers larger-sized 30ml bottles for those who are ready to commit more up-front money for a longer-lasting bottle.
Plant Guru Range of Products
To be a smaller company, Plant Guru offers an impressive selection of essential oils, and they also offer other natural or organic products, including carrier oils, waxes, butters, incense, and their intriguing African Black Soap.
Now to be honest with you, I had never heard of African Black Soap until recently, and I can tell you that it is a great product (not specifically their one as I have not tried it). It is designed to address all kinds of skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema and other skin irritations. Plant Guru also offers various gift sets that feature bundles of essential oils, carrier oils and incense sticks.
There are few things in life that I appreciate more than a well-designed website, and this is where I have a little bit of a bone to pick with Plant Guru. While the website itself is clean, good-looking and easy to navigate, I don’t think there’s enough information about the company itself to really put Plant Guru in its best possible light.
For example, while they do mention that they’re a family-run business, you don’t have the opportunity to find out who those people are. Also, there’s really no mention of when the company got started, or any kind of timeline as to the history and development of the company.
To me, this counts against them, because it makes the company seem a little generic. In addition, their “Contact Us” page has a lot of blank white space, which isn’t a good look. The only thing on the page is a contact form where you can send a message to them, and then their address is listed as well.
While their phone number and company email address are listed in a small banner on top of all of their web pages, I just think it would have been a good move to include them somewhere on all of that white space on their “Contact” page.
As I mentioned in the previous section, all of the requisite customer service contact options (e.g., phone, email and contact form) are present on the website, but just the way the “Contact Us” page is designed doesn’t seem very inviting. This might be a “nit-picky” thing to some people, but these types of details stand out to me.
In summary, I believe that Plant Guru has carved out a nice spot within the essential oils space, and they’re operating at a level that appears to be sustainable for their size.
Their products are on par with any other essential oil retailer you can name, and they seem to have a focused approach to their business model, which is to deliver high quality essential oils to customers for lower prices than their competitors.
In this respect, I would definitely say that they’re a company worth watching for future growth.