I hope your week has got off to a great start. Mine has. I went to see my GP yesterday and it seems the pills are really working. I'm starting to feel like my old self. I'm still sleeping like the dead but once I'm up, I'm more productive.
Anyway, onto the point of this post. Hopefully this isn't confusing.
I noticed this evening that inexpensive make up brands MUA (Make Up Academy, which has its own website and is also for sale in Superdrug stores in the UK and on the Superdrug website) and VIVO (which has its own website and is also for sale in Tesco stores) come from the same beauty wholesaler. I noticed because I made a VIVO order tonight (I was lured in by the 3 for 2 offer) and also chased up a hugely delayed MUA order.*
The paypal names matched up - FB Beauty Ltd. They're a beauty and perfume wholesaler with an address in London (probably for tax purposes) and offices in Cheadle Royal. The Paypal payments I made to both VIVO and MUA go to the same man, Martin Wormser. A quick search of the Companies House website revealed he is director of FB Beauty, who supply make up for people including the make up spin offs for the TV show TOWIE; as well as Accessorize and Look Beauty. *EDIT* they also make Famous Makeup as when I ordered from them my Paypal receipt was from FB Beauty. FB Beauty is part of an American company called Wormser Corp. Wormser Corp are a company who design and make whole ranges of make up and perfumes for brands. Wormser Corp have offices in New Jersey, California, Texas, UK, Germany and Shanghai, according to their website. Their factories are in China.
So far from buying English products, we're actually buying products made in China, with the money going to the US, just so you know. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it's nice to know where things come from.
Did you know a lot of different make up brands are made by the same company? Does it bother you?
This is just another reminder for me to find out the provenance of things before I buy. By the way, if you were wondering if VIVO is tested on animals, I did some research here on the Tesco website (PDF - do CTRL+F 'animal testing' to find the relevant patch of text to see for yourself.) It says: We do not support testing on animals for cosmetic or household products, and do not carry out or commission such tests on our own-brand products or the ingredients they contain. We support the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experimentation (FRAME), which seeks to end animal testing.
However, it still makes me feel slightly uneasy because make up made for sale in China has to be tested on animals by law. As this make up is for sale in the UK I hope and pray it isn't tested on bunnies and rodents and the truth veiled behind smart words. Even if it's not tested on animals, I don't feel great about people toiling away in Chinese factories, probably for a pittance and in horrid conditions. It raises some uncomfortable questions. I hope these people are getting a fair wage.
Do we know enough about where things come from? Are our clothes made in sweatshops or do workers get a fair wage? Are we adding to pollution in these high-volume manufacturing countries?
When you can buy a lipstick from MUA for £1 and a lipstick from VIVO for £2, is there a difference in quality or are we just paying for better packaging? Not necessarily. I find the MUA lipsticks to be slightly drying, whereas my favourite VIVO lippie has always been in my make up bag as it's so moisturising. When it comes to some things, like eyeshadow, the MUA shades are so smooth and pigmented already, you could argue why spend more than £1 for a single or £3-4 for a palette? I really enjoy the Famous Makeup packaging and don't mind paying a bit extra for the sexy animal print packaging, and if they have different colours on offer to MUA or VIVO then I'll happily snap them up. Really, I'm just so glad these affordable make up ranges are all cruelty free.
Playing Devil's Advocate, you could say if everything wasn't made in China, it'd only be somewhere else. What's more important - a bargain or moral/social responsibility? I have all of the questions and none of the answers, I'm afraid. I'm trying to live a kinder life but I'm more confused than ever. I think asking myself uncomfortable questions is good. It's OK for me not to know all the answers. I think the important thing is I still ask them of myself and question what sits right with my own beliefs and morals.
I don't hold anyone else to account over their beliefs and never would. I believe in agreeing to disagree if no common ground can be found. I believe your opinion is just as valid as mine is, even if we differ. A bargain is always a bargain and times are tough right now. We all make our own decisions and live with them. What sits right with you is really none of my bees' wax, unless of course you want to chip in with a comment.
*P.S. MUA's customer service is non-existent. God forbid you ever need to contact them, because they don't answer customer queries on the Facebook page and they don't reply to emails, full stop. I emailed them on Saturday and now it's nearly midnight on Tuesday and there's been no reply. I think that is unacceptable. I know they're battling a huge amount of orders from their recent 35% sale, but even so. It shows poor planning. If you purchase from them, for the love of all that is good and holy pay by Paypal, because if they screw you over you can open a dispute. Just make sure to open it before 45 days are up.
Thanks for reading.
Over to you in the comments if you want to have your say.
***HOLD THE PRESS!***
I got a response from MUA. It took almost a week but props to them for getting back to me eventually.
We are sorry for the delay to your order.
Your order was held up due to a nail polish that was out of stock but it is being shipped this week and if the nail polish is still out of stock then we will refund this.
Hopefully my goodies will soon be mine....they'll be a total surprise to me because I've forgotten half of what I ordered because of the time frame! :)