Sunday, July 10, 2011

Orglamix is at it Again!

The reason I started this blog was to make my readers aware of companies I think are awesome and comanies I think they should avoid.  If something isn't safe, I do my best to get the word out about it.  If something shady is going on with a company, I will do my best to warn you, my lovely readers.  One company in particular was enough to get me started.  Once I read about the terrible business practices and ethics of this company, I decided I had to do something.

Back in March, I saw a strange post in the Etsy forums that was quickly shut down by admin for "calling out."  At this point, I had never heard anything about Orglamix or Cheri Tracy, but I wanted to know more.  See the original forum post here.  I clicked on the links in the post, and one of them took me to a blog post over at The Eyes Have It with some pretty damning evidence against Orglamix.  I read that Cheri was claiming her products to be all-natural and handmade, but that they were not what she claimed them to be.  I looked further and found posts from many reputable bloggers that had questioned the contents and labeling of Orglamix and/or Urban Apothecary, Cheri's old company that is somehow defunct yet still has a website up and running.  Customers were getting curious after it came out that her Candy Glam line was private label, and sold as eyeshadows when they were not eye-safe.  Some customers decided to peel back the labels on their Orglamix jars and found strange labels underneath.  While Cheri's Orglamix labels were printed on a home ink jet printer with her logo and unscrupulous ingredients lists, the mystery labels were glossy, laser-printed, and had no trace of anything to do with Orglamix.  Some had strange numbers that were eventually traced back to a private label company (though these numbers did not always provide a color match), and the labels on her primer actually stated "Distributed by Quero Pro."  The more I read, the more Cheri seemed like not only a nut job, but also a total crook.  I found a blog that gave Orglamix an unfavorable review, and a follow-up to the post claiming that Cheri had sent the author a cease-and-desist letter.  A cease and desist letter for a bad review?  Are you serious?  I read everything I could find on the subject, and came to the conclusion that this woman is a complete con artist.  Many people, including myself, posted our concerns about the ingredients, double-labels, etc. on the Orglamix facebook fanpage and were promptly banned and their comments removed.  Thankfully, there are albums containing screenshots of the deleted comments on the fanpage, in addition to negative feedback left for Orglamix on Etsy, despite Cheri's claims to never have had a single complaint.  I got a lovely, professional response to my questions before they were deleted.  I was not able to screencap it, but I've copied it directly from the Facebook E-mail: "Jessica, I have a family-- and two kids to attend to for God's sake. I also have over 300 emails and 100+ Etsy convos that need to be addressed. I said I would make a statement and I will. I actually need to write it first-- and make sure I am addressing all legitimate concerns."  And if you were curious, her statement was written on a blog that is no longer available.  But she did gloss over important concerns, crafting her words carefully to make it seem as though she was actually answering questions.  When people continued asking questions, she kept claiming that her products are handmade and the double-labels were due to misprints or new names.  She had nothing to say about the laser-printed labels that had no Orglamix logo, or the ones that specifically said they were distributed by another company.  She even posted a video of her office and her "lab" to prove that she was making her products, but her "lab" lacked any sort of mixing equipment, sanitation equipment, or enough raw materials to make anywhere near the product she was supposedly making and shipping every day.  She also posted a video of her "mixing" a limited edition color, by putting some base, mica, and glitter in a tupperware container and shaking it.  Literally.  She claims she makes all of her products this way, and people still support her.  Her last post on the Orglamix Cosmetics facebook page is dated March 14th, at which point she had stated she would be going on vacation and that a friend of hers had a death in the family.  Her Etsy shop had actually been under investigation at this point according to admin, but she claimed that she had intentionally put it into vacation mode.  I believe that after the investigation was over and the shop was back up, she did in fact willingly put it into vacation mode, but she never once acknowledged that her shop was under investigation.  On April 17th, her shop was suspended due to non-delivery; any links to her shop, feedback, etc. now go to an error page.  Her twitter feed, which is run by a bot, is still up and running and posting broken links to her Etsy account.  Throughout everything, Cheri has been ignoring her customers, not sending orders, and being extremely curt and unprofessional toward any person who questions her.  Her PR representative, Kelly, has been contacting bloggers to do giveaways and reviews and acting as if everything is totally normal.  Some people had speculated Cheri had taken ill because of her having been quiet for so long, so it came as a shock to many when an article was posted about a new boutique opening up in Glencoe, Illinois as a joint venture by Amy Bishop and (surprise, surprise!) Cheri Tracy on July 6th.   Let me take a moment to make it clear that I do not wish any ill toward Cheri.  If she had said, 'No, I don't make my own products.  It's private label and I will now leave Etsy in respect of the fact that Etsy is for handmade items only.' and properly labeled her ingredients, this whole thing could have been avoided.  Saying your products may contain carmine essentially means that all of your products contain carmine if they are all made with the same equipment, just like the 'may contain peanuts' warnings on certain food items.  The peanut warning is there so that people with allergies know not to handle the product due to a potential reaction. In this case she was advertising her products as vegan, when in all likelyhood, they all contained carmine.  Saying your products are all-natural and paraben-free, but placing a label that says "pomegranate oil" over a label that says "liquapar oil" is straight deception.  Many people have serious reactions to ingredients that are in Orglamix products, and improper labeling knowing that it could cause a reaction  is absolutely deplorable. It's my belief that Cheri Tracy's business practices are horrendous, so I am sure that this post sounds quite biased, but I assure you this is not a jealous rant from a competitor.  This is fact.  This is research.  Take from it what you will, and form your own opinions.  As always, thanks for reading!

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