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Tips for starting a palm oil free brand (Interview with SAEPIO)

We interviewed Elizabeth from SAEPIO to get the inside scoop of what it’s like to start a palm oil free brand. Elizabeth is driven to provide haircare, bodycare and skincare products that are ABSOLUTELY 100% palm oil free. At SAEPIO they believe that everybody should have a choice to buy palm oil free. All their products are not tested on animals and are 100% Australian made and owned.

Read on to see what tips and tricks Elizabeth has to offer about her palm oil free brand SAEPIO (

Elizabeth - Founder of Saepio

Elizabeth - Founder of Saepio

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What made you start SAEPIO?

  • I started Saepio Bodycare because I could not find any palm oil free shampoo or conditioner products on the market. Having interned at WWF working to assist large companies become more sustainable I realized that consumers have the power to make change.

If you had to do it again, what 5 learning lessons would give somone starting their own product based business?

  • Be patient. Everything will take longer than you think but it will eventually happen.

  • Don’t give up! Sounds cliché but it is true. Just because something doesn’t work out or you come across road blocks you don’t know how to get around doesn’t mean that it wont ever happen.

  • Invest in yourself and know what your strengths and weakness are. If you have no experience in running a business take courses, read business blogs/websites, talk to people so that you know what you need to do to make your business successful. Some things may come naturally to you but other things you may find challenging. It’s ok to outsource those tasks if it means you can then focus on your strengths and grow your business.

  • Be organized. Make sure you establish a record keeping system early.

  • Accept that there will be ups and downs. You will be completely invested in your business. There will be a lot of great moments but there will also be a few heartbreaking ones. Knowing and remembering this during the hard times will help you to keep going.

Why did you decide on getting your products certified with Orangutan Alliance and why did you decide to launch a palm oil free range?

  • I wanted my customers to feel confident in knowing that what they were buying is truly palm oil free. I wanted to launch a palm oil free range of personal care products because I saw a gap in the market and a growing demand for palm oil free products.

What are your plans for the brand in terms of distribution? Are you looking for overseas or national stockists?

  • At the moment I am working on building my brand through social media and online. I am looking to stock my brand with online health stores.

 Was it hard to formulate palm oil free and what would you say for brands that think it’s too hard?

  •  It was a very challenging process. It took me nearly 5 years to develop our products as we essentially had to go back to the drawing board and recreate these product formulations from palm oil free ingredients. I would say, if you are a brand looking to go palm oil free but are having a hard time getting there, don’t give up. There will always be a solution to the problem, sometimes it just takes a little extra time. It will absolutely be worth it!