An Interview with The Jojoba Company

by Andrea on October 22, 2010

The Jojoba CompanyI began using The Jojoba Company’s certified organic jojoba at my former business, the Finger Lakes School of Massage, in 1998 and fell in love with it.

I continue using it as a carrier for aromatherapy blending in classes at Aromahead Institute.

The work The Jojoba Company does is a wonderful service to the aromatherapy and massage communities!  I recently had the opportunity to interview Bob Butler, the owner of The Jojoba Company, to get his perspective on his business and jojoba.  I hope you enjoy!

Can you tell us about jojoba?
First, I need to explain that jojoba is not “oil.” Oils contain triglycerides, which are fragile and oxidize. Oils turn rancid. Pure jojoba, a liquid wax ester akin to the esters humans produce in their skin, does not turn rancid. It has an indefinite shelf life.

Jojoba seeds, if kept dry and clean, can be stored for years. Also, unlike oils, pure jojoba is non-allergenic, does not clog pores, and does not stain. Again, jojoba is not oil, and grouping it with oils, as most members of the jojoba industry do, is both misleading and does the product a disservice.

Pure jojoba may look like oil, but after you apply it to the skin, you realize very quickly that you’re working with something highly unique.

Jojoba absorbs into the skin and leaves it feeling very soft and smooth, almost silky to the touch, and definitely not oily or greasy. Jojoba is an emollient–it softens and conditions the skin, the scalp, and the hair. Actually, I’ve never seen the value in oils…other than as possible sources of food. For skin care, it makes no sense to me to put oil onto the skin. Oils oxidize, releasing free radicals, which can actually promote aging. Pure jojoba, which does not oxidize, actually helps the skin maintain itself.

How did you get started producing jojoba?
I was a jojoba grower for 15 years. What “inspired” me to produce my own end product was economics, pure and simple. Jojoba farmers typically sold their seed to processors, who produced varieties of jojoba as commodities for mass market companies that used jojoba as an ingredient–oftentimes as little as one-tenth of one percent of their formulations. Jojoba farmers were subjected to the vagaries of commodity pricing tactics. We were no exception.

Our decision to press our own jojoba seed and to produce our own jojoba product was a strategy of survival. We began to sell our jojoba from a cart in Fanueil Hall Market Place in Boston. Our customers taught us how to sell it. We listened, and we realized we had a multi-purpose personal care product that was pure, unformulated, and highly useful. The rest, as they say, is history.

Is there currently an international shortage of jojoba this year?
The Argentinians are reporting that their fields experienced very low temperatures this year. Low temperatures cause the flowers to freeze, negatively impacting crop potential. But… the Argentinians have hollered “wolf” every year for as long as I can remember. They are adamant that this year is different. We’ll know more in three or four months.

In the meantime, the perception of shortages has taken the market by storm. Perception counts for a lot. We believe our supply for the coming twelve months is secure and, we hope, sufficient to serve the needs of our customers. We are going to see pressure on prices, however. Growers who come up short will require better prices to ensure they can transition successfully into the following years.

When does The Jojoba Company harvest jojoba and produce it?
Commercially grown jojoba seeds (not beans) are harvested in the fall. The jojoba seeds are expeller pressed, a physical process. For a more complete explanation of the process, please see our website, which has a video link to YouTube. You can watch our video on YouTube and witness the entire procedure from the field right into the bottle.

We’ve been around for 16 years–not too much longer than your successful Aromahead Institute. I think we probably share a lot of the same values with you:

  • ALWAYS focus on the facts and NEVER embellish or create unrealistic expectations.
  • Offer a great product at a fair price.
  • Share product information without bending or shaping it, and never forget that the best customer is an educated customer.

The Jojoba Company

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Andrea

Owner/Instructor at Aromahead Institute
Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

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