The past couple weeks have been rather stressful on our end. We were seeing a sudden drop in load times for our website as well as other administrative errors happening. During all this we started the migration of our scent options to our new SEASONAL plan. And, we have ironed out the issue with our Shower Gel that was delaying us in getting a reliable supply of all scents available to all of you.
Our eCommerce platform is comprised of numerous individual parts that we pick and choose to activate according to how we wish to operate and make our products available to the masses. Each of these parts get regular updates from their developers and rolled out regularly throughout the year. Normally, the Christmas holiday season is blacked out for updates as it is too crucial of a time for businesses to risk having their sites crash from bugs and conflicts with other parts. This year was different. From mid-November to February we saw every part of our website platform and backbone update. Many saw numerous updates because of reported issues. Although our site remained functional for the most of it, we had many anomalies appear that caused some shoppers to have difficulties placing orders or even browsing our pages.
To add to those issues, our server went through some performance “improvements” that led to further issues. As soon as we were able to troubleshoot and resolve one issue, a new one would develop. The worst issue was our administrative access saw a drastic slow down that made it very painful to acknowledge orders, update products or even make posts like this. Thankfully the worst of it all was during our slowest time of the year and during a major snow storm that shut down much of the country for a week.
Over the last week we saw updates that were correcting many of the problems we were experiencing. Just moments before starting this post we had an update to our visual layout theme that improved our admin experience – which is making it possible for this post to be made. Please share
SEASONS OF CHANGE
Finally happening! We are rolling out a way to offer the wide variety of fragrance options that many have expected from us over the years without it being as overwhelming for us and for our customers. Those items that have had the greatest number of fragrance options are going to have a set number of Every Day – year-round scent options made up of the most popular fragrances we have within their categories. Then we will have a few options go to a seasonal availability based upon when we see them sell the best, or best suit the season. Lighter or sweeter scents will be more towards warmer months, heavier and spicier or musk scents will be around for the cooler months. The Every Day scents will retain their current availability as long as they continue to sell at the same rate and we are able to source their ingredients. The seasons will primarily be Spring-Summer, Autumn-Winter and Holiday.
To make it easier to tell them apart, seasonally scented items will have a different catalog entry. All the scents for a specific item that will be available during that season will be presented under one listing much like their Every Day cousins. Seasonal scents may change from year to year, some will also be very limited editions where we will only do one production run in that fragrance. Every Day scents will range from 6 to 8 options with each season having 3 to 5 options.
JÖL Candles will be different, each candle is listed separately and there will only be 6 Every Day options, with 2 for each season. There is a chance we will do Wild Card scents for Candles if we stumble across and idea and wish to run with it. These will be SUPER LIMITED EDITIONS that may never come around again. The mission with these will be to more daring and different.
Seasonal item listings are starting to roll out, we should be 100% ready to run by March 10th.
THE THICK OF IT
When we started our last production run of Shower Wash/Gel we met two new obstacles: 1. Bottles were scarce with the pandemic and everybody making hand sanitizer. 2. Our supplier for our organic liquid soap base changed the formula and didn’t mention it. The first obstacle was easy to overcome. We had already planned on switching to eco-friendly pouches for our liquid soaps. We moved up the plan and ordered pouches. The second obstacle kept biting us. The formula changed to where a thickening agent was needed after scenting. Every standard method we applied led to less than ideal results. Either the Shower Gel would not be thick enough or the thickener would separate out. Putting every methodology to work, following the makers guidelines, led to an imperfect product. By the way, those imperfect units are available at deep discounts until gone. Yes, they will function very well but the aesthetic and consistency within the product are not what we wish to truly represent the product.
Applying a little learned science, we tested and found the perfect thickener. Sodium Lactate, a natural humectant that functions much like glycerin and is wonderful for skin, is being used to thicken up our Shower Gel and other liquid soaps. Sodium Lactate is a “salt” and a the source of Lactic Acid. Commonly used in hard soap making to aid in hardening of the soap, and is used in lotions to soften skin – both are reasons why we have it on hand. Since salts are ideal thickeners of liquid soaps, and with Sodium Lactate functioning as a humectant; we thought to test is as a thickener with wonderful results. We had removed glycerin from our recipe as it was thinning the soap more, having a humectant that pulls double duty to thicken the soap makes it a perfect match. SHOWER GEL’s formula is being updated and you will start seeing refreshed inventory in our store immediately.
In the near future we will be transitioning to an all new organic liquid soap that we will not use a pre-made, ready-to-use, base; but one that will use essential ingredients blended to our specifications. The key difference in our future recipe is that it will be based upon olive oil rather than coconut and palm oil; and rely upon fewer ingredients overall. We will share our journey when we begin testing this formulation later this year.
SHARE THE JÖL
We are changing up how you can join our entry level FREE savings club. All it takes is creating a user account to be immediately enrolled. Why this change? We want this perk to be utilized and mindlessly easy to join. Our initial thoughts were to not force it upon people, so we made it something you had to consciously and intentionally join. The issue we saw is that folks want the benefits but were not aware that this FREE savings club existed.
By making it an auto-enroll membership when creating a user account makes it still something a shopper is intentionally doing. They are trusting us with their personal information to make shopping easier for themselves. Why not reward them from the start? If you are concerned about the safety of your information shared with us, rest assured we do not share your details with anyone or anything. It is used solely to aid in customer service and for ease of your shopping. Your payment details are never seen by us and we have no access to your credit/debt card details – not even the last 4 digits! A user account with us is VERY SAFE!
What are the perks of the PRIMP+JÖL Basic? Save 5% on most things we make under J&L Pogonotrophics and J+L Apothecary brands, excluding Subscription items as they are already discounted. Members also save 2.5% on most accessories. They will also be able to access all Members Only content and exclusive products. Due to the tight margins on JÖL Candles, we are not offering a discount on candles at this time. Once we are able to recover the costs related to start-up we may open up discounts.
How is this different than the FULL membership? P+J Club Full members get twice the discount percentage and get FREE SHIPPING on every order. This is a paid membership that can be purchased as a quarterly subscription or annually. Annual memberships do not auto-renew, in case you forgot about it or found you didn’t use it. Quarterly subscriptions can be cancelled at any time. Learn more about these plans: PRIMP+JÖL CLUB
- Natural Solid Deodorants launched with 2 of our planned 4 scents. They are selling fast!
- NEW JÖL Candles scents are available CITRUS GREEN TEA, RED SANGRIA
- Works is starting on improving our product images for load times as well as getting new images for those items where we have changed packaging or labels.
- Restrictions on large gatherings are likely to be lifted by summer. If so, expect to see us out at a couple Chicago Festivals.
- SHAMPOO and CONDITIONERS are up next on our production planner. They have been effective M.I.A. for over a year and will be excited to bring them back AND in our new Eco-Pouches!
- CAREN is about to take to her desk. Our new generic email account to weed out spammers and scammers. Customers/Shoppers should still use our support@pogonotrophics email with any product, order or account questions.
Thank you all for your continued support. We fully empathize on how rough the last year has been for everyone, yet there seems to be a light ahead and we cannot wait to reach it and see you all there with us.