We have a lot to cover here; we will condense it as much as possible to make it quick. More details will arrive later on many these points.
We have been approved for SBA Advances for Capital
With the toll the pandemic has taken on many small businesses, the SBA has worked to help them with extremely attractive loans and advances (grants with less red tape) to assist in sustaining or even boost growth. Over the last year or so we have lost out on a lot of selling opportunities that we had counted on for a large portion of our revenues. Without the ability to take part in Chicago Street Festivals we have had to rely solely on our online sales, which is less than 30% of our overall business. With barbershops closed or very limited in their operations, we took another hit there. The loss of these sales channels did lead to a spike in online sales, but not enough to keep us going long term without requiring dramatic changes to our business model.
This infusion of much needed capital will bring stability and increase spending power. We are allocating funds to pay off debt to help increase cashflow and build a better savings cushion; significantly increase our marketing/advertising budget; source needed production tools and supplies. We can also put more work into our social media and website to better compete with more aggressively funded like businesses. All of this will lift us into a better position to compete, gain new customers, and improve our product. With the anticipated return of all the major festivals, we should be quite the force to see next year.
Price changes coming
At the start of the pandemic we lowered the prices of much of our beard care line and a few other popular items. Costs have increased and we can no longer sustain these lower prices. Even with the capital we have received, it would not be smart for us to keep these items priced as they are. Our plan is to return to our regular prices on these items by August.
Seasonal Scent Changeover
Although Summer just arrived, we are getting ready for Fall. Current Spring/Summer scents will cease production in this month and be removed from our site by Labor Day. We plan to introduce our Fall/Winter scents at that time. Our Limited Holiday scents will arrive October. We will not discount end of season JÖL for Home items as they have a long shelf life and can store well. Beard Care items are scented to order, so there would be no inventory to discount.
Super Clearance Event Coming
We do plan to unload a lot of our inventory that contains the “J+L Apothecary” branding. Much of this inventory is ageing and sells more slowly than other items that we are already introducing in JÖL packaging. Since our LIP BALMS are not exactly a hot item on our website due to shipping costs related to such a small low price item, we may find ways to bundle these as a “grab bag” mystery item, or add them to other product bundles. Anything we clearance under this process will be DEEP DISCOUNTS and will not be available for any other discounts. There are also some J&L beard care items we need to move out as well. Look for these clearance prices to post over the next couple weeks.
Primp + JÖL Club Update
This year we made the base level easier to join when you create a user account. Now we are looking at the benefits of the full membership. Some items will see their discounts increased from 15% to 20%. Basic members may see an increase to 10% for those same item. Candles will be added with a 10% discount. Free Shipping will remain available. We also want to bring more bundles and combo items to members. Also, limited time discount increases on select items or categories. We are still putting the finishing touches on these changes and plan to launch them by September. These discounts may not seem huge, but when we are already less expensive than most others, they should make our products even more attractive.
Reminder on Shipping Rates:
Every year we tend to drop the earned Value Free Shipping threshold for the holidays. We plan to do the same this year. The threshold is currently $69 or higher product subtotal to earn Free Shipping. Expect the reduced threshold to be the same as last year. We plan to introduce an expedited shipping option using USPS Priority Express. We rarely have a request for such services, but it is no added cost for us to offer this option. Expedited shipping will cost more, prices to be determined. Standard USPS rates are likely to remain the same until the end of the year. Due to increased costs to ship to further destinations, we may have to increase our rates for heavier orders headed to those regions. This is under analysis, we will announce any changes well before they take place.
What’s coming up next?
There are so many things we were working on and many more we were hoping to be able to get into. The capital we received will not instantly turn all of this around as supply chain issues still exist for many of the ingredients and packages we use. What we can do is be ready and can jump immediately when all that we need is able to be sourced.
We did have to cancel the Citronella Candle we had planned. The vessel we had sourced failed in testing, despite being sold as for candle use. We feel it is too late in the game to find a better vessel and restart the process. Over the winter, we will look into finding a more ideal container for these candles and add them in next spring.
We are anticipating added larger sizes to some products. Now that bottles are easier to source at reasonable prices, we wish to offer some of our most used items in a larger size. With the packaging being a substantial portion of the price, a bottle twice the size does not cost twice as much. Often they are only a few cents more. This means we can offer you more product at a better comparative price. Do let us know what you would like to see in a bigger size.
This year was looking bleak for us, and with your support and appreciation of the changes we made is helping us bounce back. Now we anticipate some great things to come over the next few months – and