February 4th marks our 7th Anniversary
This has been a tough year for us all. Because of all that has affected our business this year, we will not be celebrating this Anniversary through any promotions or specials. Our focus is to remain a lower priced option when it comes to high quality hand-made natural beard, bath & body products year round. Where we can, we have lowered prices or increased the value of our products to keep us reliably priced during a time when so many people are needing to tighten their budgets. During this past year we have seen our every day expenses remain constant from the previous year without the added revenues we normally generate through our Pop-Ups and festival appearances. Without those appearances this last year we have lost over half of our earnings. This leaves us little room to offer big sales at this time.
Reflecting on the changes we made this past year
in 2020 we made a lot of changes to our business.
Some were planned and some were quick responses to the situations presented by the pandemic.
Of those changes we had fully planned to execute:
- New label designs for J&L Pogonotrophics.
- Revamping our lotions and skin care products to 100% house made formulas.
- Introduction of JUNK CREAM and NATURAL DEODORANT.
- Packaging change for SHOWER GEL (although this occurred much earlier than planned).
Changes we did not plan to make, but were needed to sustain our business:
- Larger size bottles of BEARD SHAMPOO, BEARD CONDITIONER and LOTIONS – all are 50% larger with little or no change in price.
- JÖL Candles, which were launched to appeal to demand at a time when people were spending more time at home and looking for ways to add a little something to the experience.
- The addition of LOCAL PICK UP order fulfillment option. Introduced during the holidays as a means to make it easier for our local customers to shop with us and save on shipping. We are continuing to offer this option and may make it permanent if it continues to operate smoothly.
Then there are the things we didn’t accomplish that were planned to take place:
- The return of liquid shampoo and conditioner was postponed to 2nd quarter of 2021. These will also be in 360ml pouches.
- New Bar Soaps were planned for Summer 2020, now that may be Summer 2021.
- New BODY MIST formula (which is now delayed indefinitely).
- As part of a planned “Outdoorsy” themed category, a Natural Insect Repellent spray was planned for Summer 2020. Depending on the pandemic and market trends this may happen this year.
- Additions to our Pet Care line with a Conditioner as well as a PAW BALM.
- The pandemic introduced major supply chain issues that made it nearly impossible to get bottles, caps, spray pumps and many commonly used ingredients. What was available saw dramatic price increases in the items as well as shipping costs. This affected most of our changes
Unrelated to the affects of the pandemic, we have made changes to or discontinued some of our products and making room for new things to come.
Items that are saying farewell:
- Our CLAY MASK SYSTEM was deleted. Although it was seen as a great idea when launched, we feel that our low pricing made it less attractive according to customers – go figure. Our pre-mix Clay Masks will remain and may see an addition of a new formula or 2.
- SHOCK Shampoo Bar was deleted due to it making more sense to modify the AMP formula that saw overlap in the benefits these bars provide.
- J+L Apothecary branded shaving products take a bow. With overlap with J&L Pogonotrophics shaving we felt it made sense to remove these products. What was intended to be a more feminine variant was not making the inroads we anticipated. For those women that enjoy our shaving products, you can certainly find the same formulas with more options under that other J&L brand.
- Many of our Accessory items, mainly related to shaving, are being deleted. These were fully intended to be a test to see how well they will blend with our core product mix. We saw mixed results and those items where we are able to reliably source again will continue on in some manner. The remaining products we have in stock are being clearance priced. Our beard brushes and combs will not be going away!
What new things we have in the works for 2021:
- Street festivals are expected to return this summer in Chicago. We are planning on creating a very safe shopping experience if these go forward. We may also be able to offer order PICK UP during any Pop-Up for Festival appearance. And, plans for a new Point of Sale system to allow our Primp+Jol Members to receive their discounts in person.
- Expanding on our JÖL Candles, we plan to introduce matching scented home sprays. We are looking into making melts and/or votive candles too.
- Multi-purpose bar soaps for J&L Pogonotrophics. These will come in the same scents as our core Beard Oil scents. There will also be a “Camper’s Bar” that utilizes naturally bug repelling essential oils that also have nice outdoorsy fragrance.
- Conditioning Hair Oil in a spray formula. These will be available in our core Beard Oil scents as well as a few branded for J+L Apothecary in additional fragrances. For J&L Pogonotrophics they will carry the QUOTIDIAN naming. These may become a replacement for the QUOTIDIAN Beard Oil formula, which has seen a drop in sales over the last couple years. As it is, QUOTIDIAN Beard Oil is going 100% made to order once we sell through all produced inventory.
- All new SOAP BARS are planned. All bars will be made using a high glycerin Shea Butter formula. A couple select scents will be made in an organic Hemp Seed Oil glycerin soap formula. All will offer superior hydration/moisturizing while smelling great.
- And, who knows what else we may come up with. There are ideas to expand JÖL with a couple other products that are not scent related but have been part of a plan for our retired retail concept. Your feedback helps steer our future product plans, so keep telling us what you want to see, or smell.
We are wishing you all well and hope you are remaining safe. This pandemic has been a huge impact on our lives in so many ways. The past year has been a time of great loss, especially when it comes to the loss of loved ones due to COVID. The impact of which will last with us for a long time to come. While businesses come and go, and can easily be replaced in one way or another; losing a vital soul that enriched our lives as well as the lives of all those around them can never be replaced. There is a struggle for remaining vigilant when we are presented with so many challenges. In the end, we will come out stronger as we carry the weight of it all.
Being a tiny little business here in Chicago is rough and full of challenges. Your support through this time means so much to us. Not only are we a business, but we are people who look to J&L as a means to survive. We are small and local, where every dollar you spend with us goes back into our communities through supporting local businesses wherever we can. For those things we cannot source locally, we do source from other small businesses that cater to businesses like ours. We can never thank you enough for what you do for us when you spend your money with us. We know you have lots of choices out there, and they can even be cheaper than us, shows you genuinely appreciate what we do. We hope that we can continue to earn your support as well as share it all with even more people!
THANK YOU! From John, Larry, John, Brandon and the rest of us that make up the J&L family.