Out of  Stock Essential Oils.  Oh my.

Yes, the out of stock oils situation has made many an even-tempered person want to pull their hair out.  Believe me, I totally get it!  There are oils that I use regularly that I have not been able to buy for some time.

It is frustrating.  I really understand.

But, I want to pose some thoughts that might help us to explain and to understand what a GIFT we have in Young Living.  To be truthful, even though I cannot currently get any oil or blend I want on demand, this out of stock issue has shown me several truths about the essential oil industry and has cemented my belief that I’ll be a loyal Young Living user as long as they keep up their quality commitment.

So what can out of stock essential oils show?

Essential Oils From the Land not the Lab

Young Living has grown at an exponential rate, particularly in 2014.  The growth has become so rapid that many oils have been out of stock intermittently, and one oil, Valor, has been out of stock (except for in the Premium Starter Kit) for pretty much the whole year.

Now, I’ll be honest, that bums me out because Valor is a daily use oil for me.   I’ve had to ration it out, but thankfully I had done a bulk buy right before it became scarce and I have had enough to get me through so far.

Now, why has Valor been out of stock (apart from the starter kits) for so long?  This blend includes an essential oil called Black Spruce (Picea mariana).

At some point in of 2013, the growth of demand began to outpace the available supply of Young Living quality spruce, both from our own sources and on the open market.  It became impossible for Young Living to buy enough black spruce to keep up with the amount needed to produce all the highly coveted blends that use it.

When you’re dealing with a botanical product from a tree that has to grow for YEARS before you can use it for oil distillation, you can’t just turn around and instantly ramp up your production capacity when you have an unexpected surge in demand.

Real oils, and the plants they come from, take time to grow.  Sometimes a long time.  Other oils have to be harvested and distilled at a specific time of year and under specific weather conditions to be viable.  If the supply from the previous year is exhausted before the next year’s harvest time, well, you just have to wait!

In fact, according to the sources who shared with us this past summer at convention, there were opportunities to buy large lots of spruce oil from a brokered source early in 2014 that would have allowed Young Living to bring back some of the popular blends that were out of stock due.  Unfortunately, the spruce oil didn’t meet Young Living’s purity and botanical composition standards, and so they rejected it.

They rejected it.  In the face of overwhelming demand, and restless oil users wanting their favorites back.

The seller of the oil, after not being able to sell it to Young Living, then went and sold it to another essential oil company, who then turned around and sold it to their customers.  An oil that Young Living rejected for quality was sold by a competitor.  Yeah.

But other companies have those out of stock oils in stock!

Yes, they do!  But have you stopped to consider why?

If Young Living, who is willing to pay a premium price for a premium oil cannot source enough oil to meet their needs, how are the other companies who sell those same oils getting them?

Let’s be honest.  Young Living could make money hand over fist if they would just get those oils back in stock yesterday.

People would (and do) buy Valor and other oils in large quantities, and the company would be able to increase their earnings proportionally by selling those oils to meet the level of demand.  But instead of seizing the opportunity to sell more product and avoid the customer relations difficulties that come with long-term shortages, they made an unpopular, but a very principled choice to not carry the oils until they found or produced enough of the good quality oil.

Q.  Doesn’t  Young Living want to sell those oils that are out of stock?

A.  Oh, you had better believe it.  Even from a money standpoint, they are losing money by not selling oils that they stocked in the past.  The demand is so high, and their quality standards are also so high, that the projections of oils that they need to grow were lower than the actual demand that happened in this year.

Q.  So why don’t they get those oils?  Don’t they know that people desperately need them?

A.  Oh, believe me, they are VERY aware of how upset people are over certain oils being out of stock or coming in and out of stock.  People are not shy about sharing their frustrations or disappointments, both directly to the company and on social media.  Any company would desperately want to avoid the PR fallout that unhappy customers would bring with it.  In fact, if the oils could come back more quickly, they would be back!

Q.  Well, why is Young Living out of certain oils and blends that I can find in stock at other companies?

A.  Well, the answer is a bit complicated, but it all boils down to the Seed to Seal Quality Commitment.

Let’s just take the case of Valor again:

I mentioned this above, but it bears repeating that an oil broker selling spruce essential oil approached Young Living and offered them a sample of a lot of black spruce that would have helped Young Living bring Valor back full-time and ease the supply constraints.  As they do with every batch of oil, Young Living’s research and development department analyzed the sample using their intense quality control testing standards.

Despite that accepting this shipment of black spruce essential oil would allow them to bring Valor back full-time, and ease the member frustration, they rejected the lot because it did not meet their quality and purity standards.  The broker went on to sell it to a competitor and it made it to market with another brand.

So, what was Young Living’s solution to the problem?  Since then there is still not enough good quality spruce oil available on the market to bring back one of the most loved blends.  They could have bought a lesser quality oil, could have bent their standards just a bit, but they didn’t.

Instead, they bought a farm.

The Northern Lights Farm in British Columbia was Young Living’s answer to the lack of quality Black Spruce essential oil on the market.  According to my friend, and up-line leader who recently returned from working at this new farm to bring it into operation, there is enough black spruce at this site to distill and meet Young Living’s needs for many years to come.  It is nearing its completion and should begin distilling soon.

So, remember, in the face of some oils being unavailable at times, remember, you COULD have them all the time from other companies, but it wouldn’t be the same.

It couldn’t be.