Dear Cosmetics Container Manufacturers - You're Missing Out on a Huge Market

We're going to be ranting just a little bit today.

This situation has been ongoing for a frazillion years. Yes that's number I just made up because I'm downright tired of how long it has been going on.

To date, I am unable to count how many frustrating and FRUITLESS searches I (and my European colleagues) have made for quality cosmetics containers with NO MOQ.

MOQ stands for Minimum Order Quantity, and the standard in the industry is death on a stick for artisan skincare businesses. The standard ranges between 5000 to 15.000 units.

Really, folks?

Dear Cosmetics Container Manufacturers,

Wake up and have a look around – the indie beauty business has boomed and you're missing out on a huge potential market.

No start-up or artisan company can afford to invest in 15.000 containers (of each needed size and shape).

5000 is too many too.

In many cases, even 1000 is too many.

Smaller Orders, But There Are More of Us Than You Might Imagine

I will admit I don't have exact numbers, but judging from my experiences via my contacts in the industry, there are thousands of smaller businesses making and selling small batch products in Europe alone.

They all have the same frustrating problem: sourcing quality containers at a reasonable MOQ.

Note the very important keywords here: QUALITY and REASONABLE MOQ.

And yes, we all realize manufacturing and distributing cosmetics containers in larger numbers makes for a lower price per unit.


Consider this:
If every manufacturer focuses solely on selling to the major players, they are not only competing with EVERYONE ELSE for the same few clients, but cutting themselves off from a whole market of interested buyers who would in all likelihood kiss their feet in gratitude.


This massive group of artisan companies, aromatherapists, formulators, makers of custom cosmetics, and enthusiastic DIY'ers over here waving at you would love to buy your quality containers!

We KNOW they can't be sold at the same price per unit as if we were ordering 10.000 at a time, but as it is now, we can barely find anything at all!

Surely This Can Be Solved

Imagine for a moment a manufacturer of quality cosmetics containers making SOME of their products available in smaller amounts.

Here's a handy dandy clarification of smaller amounts: as low as ONE to TEN UNITS.

Imagine this manufacturer setting up a central distribution center in Europe and selling their quality containers via a webshop.

Would this take administration and packing/shipping know-how?

Yes, of course it would.

And just imagine this manufacturer made it possible to order from ONE UNIT up to 15.000 units with graduated pricing.

Hey, there's an idea!

Then it would be possible to service a full range of business sizes: even more customers!

First Come. First Serve.

I don't have all the answers on how to set this up or all the details of what it would take, but I'm convinced if the logistics can be solved, there is a huge market opportunity here that cosmetics container manufacturers seem to be missing out on.

And I'll bet my best boots the first company to set up a shop along these lines in Europe is going to be so busy filling orders from willing buyers, they'll wonder why they didn't do it 10 years ago.

Thanks for reading, and to the first company that takes steps to set this kind of solution up, thanks for paying attention.

Do Tell

Do you have trouble sourcing quality containers for your artisan cosmetics? Please make yourself heard and leave a comment below.

Make your own naturally balanced shampoo bars and leave the frustration of looking for containers behind


Jared said…
Your article inspired me a lot Lise!! As a bottle manufacturer, we need a basic quantity to guarantee the production process goes smoothly. However, we overlooked indie business owners are looking for high quality bottles/jars as well. I am willing to support the shop owners if someone is interested in selling bottles online with low MOQ.
Unknown said…
Hi Lise! I can’t explain how many hours I’ve spent (wasted) looking for certain bottles & containers in certain colours especially. I don’t really want to go down the Alibaba/Aliexpress route. I’ve tried & it’s just well frustrating. It’s really hindering me to be honest. They have what I love in the states but there is another problem....Import taxes, billionty shipping fees (I’ve ordered from the USA before for small things). If someone in Europe could care for us small scale formulators, I’d be forever grateful. Especially if it’s unusual.
Perfume bottles(screw on type as those crimpers are mighty expensive!!), non plastic containers, wooden containers for balms etc. Sharon. Two Sheep Soapery. PLEASE! Xxx
Ieva said… sell small to large quantities of lovely glass containers in UK. Shipping to continental Europe would be expensive though :/
Anonymous said…
I have struggled with the same! It’s so maddening to spend so much time looking for functional as well as pretty containers to no avail. I find the perfect item i’d like to use only to find that the moq is far far beyond my reach and wallet. 10 rather than 10,000 would be perfect for me. I think these manufacturers haven’t taken into consideration who we might become!! What can we do?
Naturally Naz said…
Thank you so much Lisa, for posting this! The frustration of buying reasonable containers for my Handmade Cosmetic Business is escalating! We have so-called Suppliers claiming wholesaler status but we know they aren’t; they go in for the kill when selling their containers and they know they’re not much “True Wholesale Suppliers” who’ll drop their MOQ for us smaller Indie Brands, so they don’t care Money is all for them. If we could set up a system where we could even all pool or monies and order together then distribute that would sooo help! I do prefer if the True Wholesale Suppliers would drop their MOQs and consider the overall sale from that a great contender for their other regular accounts! We do make a huge difference! These True Wholesalers would make even more from us Small Brands cause their MOQs would be even a little higher than regular. True Wholesalers, please LISTEN TO US, WE THE SMALL INDIE BRANDS ARE THE NEXT BEAT THING OUT HERE FOR YOU! ✊🏼
Check out Finnish wooden containers, custom shape, no MOQ (only waterless products though)
Leslie Harris said…
I am in the USA and found companies that sell in small quantities usually add on such ridiculous shipping charges which has caused me to cancel the order before it is even placed.
Catherine S. said…
These guys NO MOQ
LisaLise said…
@catherine S - I noticed your link is to a company in the USA — I am ranting on behalf of Europe but your link might be useful for readers in North America - thanks for sharing
Relax the Bath said…
Trust me Lise, for unique packaging it is a problem here in the US as well. I don't want a bottle, tube, or container that looks like every other competitors.

I just spent most of my weekend trying to source another container to stand out among the crowd. Sometimes, labeling for me just isn't enough.

Sometimes, I feel like undies are forgotten stepchildren.
Niki K said…
I am in Canada and have the same experience/challenge.
By the time we pay the exchange on U.S. dollar + the shipping; outrageous! Pretty well doubles the price. Even though they say wholesale - not really.
It seems to be an issue everywhere but the U.S.
Heather Ballim said…
Hi Lise....great blog as always....shared this to fb....ranting from SA....£1 = R18,88 as we speak which makes it impossible to import....add to that exbhorbitant shipping and high import duties....MOQ's are is frustrating beyond comprehension even here in to choice and eco-friendly options as well....but hoping all that changes soon....
Anonymous said…
Hi lise its andrea from spain!as always(!!!) you nailed it!i have spent years in trying to get access to quality (that inculdes for me the environmental factor,too) cosmetic jars and bottles but it is just impossible! Hours and hours i have spent in internet searching with no viable results (big frustration).My aim was for example to pack my oils in amber glass bottles with plastic dropper and metal lid but the problem is that this type of packaging is not available in smaller quantities here in at the moment the way how i solve this when i make my product samples in order to showcase them in my business plan and future potential clients and supporters is this: i buy the amber bottles with dropper and plastic lid, i then remove the plastic lid and put on a metall lid which i buy online (well they come from far away or i buy these when i visit germany). I really feel very very very ridicolous doing this ...the same for amber glass jars with metal lid and other drives me literally crazy and more than once i found myself at the point to order from alibaba..but that just doesnt make sense for my business model and ethics (when containers are shipped thousand of miles and production processes including labour issues are unknown to me..). At the moment i order papertubes from etsy for my deodorants but guess what..they come from the US!!! (Its absurd i know!) just doesnt make sense but manufacturers here told me i need 2500 minimum order a small future artisan business that is impossible at the moment unless i decide to focus all on i am wondering what could be done about this??? Sometimes i even thought: why not establish a business that buys and resells quality packaging to artisan cosmetic manufacturers??? Your article made me think again about this again..!!!!!!! Thanks for your great are visibilising an issue that affects a lot of people!!
Ilhem said…
Hey Lise! I have only one thing to say: Amen!
Ana Zap said…
I found this Swiss company, after many hours. They have some kraft paper/bamboo packaging as well. From what I can tell, orders from Switzerland have limits, orders from Eu start from 95 EUR. It's way too much for me still(I made some things for myself only).
LisaLise said…
@Ana Zap - THANK YOU for sharing this!
Ana Zap said…
If you know someone, that sells nonplastic packaging alternatives in small quantities in the EU, without crazy shipping fees, please me know. I contacted Aromazone, they will only do glass and plastic(albeit recycled).
LisaLise said…
Hi Ana - as soon as I find ANY useful information and suppliers I will post it -- you might want to sign up for my newsletter as subscribers get first peek :)
Unknown said…
Thank you Lise for this blog. I am having the same issue in Australia. I have ordered some bottles to try them and they turned out pretty much essential oil mist sprays. I managed to create a nice scent and trying to find a nice perfume bottle with a high quality atomized spray. Seems almost impossible if I'm not ordering ridiculous amounts! It's such a shame! So yes I have resorted to Alibaba and yes it is frustrating. And I'm not even sure how good their sprayer are which is as important as the aesthetics of the bottle! I wish some professional companies will see the potential in supplying smaller quatities for creative people like us!
LisaLise said…
HI Unknown - I hope someday more of the manufacturers of containers will focus on servicing more of the smaller companies instead of all scrambling and competing with each other to service the bigger ones.
Unknown said…
You couldn't be more right. I am just in this situation, starting a cosmetics company based in Barcelona, and I'm just losing it. Really. I look for a manufacturer that could meet our requirements both in design and sustainability and they ask me for 10.000 units, what the hell...
The only thing I keep in mind is that once my business succeeds I will never go back to those that didn't give me the option before. I hope they remember my brand's name and think: what an opportunity we missed!!
LisaLise said…
Hi Unknown -- I feel for you and hope you will someday be able to turn them away when they come begging to sell you containers after your company has become huge. The frustration is enough to get me to scream once in a while. Thanks of sharing and wishing you luck in finding what you need.