Only a few quick items here in this installment.
Festival Pop Up happening this weekend!
If you haven’t heard, we are taking part in what will likely be our one and only festival appearance of 2021. Andersonville Homecoming is happening September 24 to 26. This event serves as a postponed Midsommarfest, ordinarily a big event for us. With all things considered, we don’t anticipate this being as huge as past Andersonville events for us, but we are more than happy to show some love to our spiritual home. Much in the same way it has shown us a lot of love over the years. We are doing our best to bring our most popular items up to acceptable inventory levels, but with this being late in official announcement we are not going to have everything on hand and limited stock on many items. Up until this event, we have been operating in a made or packages to order situation for many items.
Would you like to see us vlog or provide video content?
As we have grown over the years there has been a lot of pressure from many sources to create video content to promote ourselves along with those things we find interesting. Personally, I am not all that comfortable in front of a camera nor do we have a reliable location available to us. Not having a full time production facility, it would be a huge challenge for us to show us doing a full production run of anything. Although, we can show you what goes into what we make and doing a tiny batch in our kitchen.
Work is being done to source some basic recording equipment and create a vision behind what we wish to accomplish. It would be ideal to hear from you what you would like to see us present in this media. It doesn’t even have to be directly tied to our business. The idea of doing a couple round table talks with some of us and with a few friends. Outright “How To” videos may not be best for us, but we can cover some aspects of the culture behind our products and marketplace. Whatever we come up with, we want it to be fun, informative and most of all be entertaining.
Let us know if you’d like to volunteer in helping us put this together. We are looking into doing YouTube and/or TikTok content at this time. Would you want to watch it? What ideas do you have for us on topics or features to cover?
Let’s speak of JÖL’s aesthetic and what it means to us and hope it will mean to you
JÖL: Utilitarian Simplicity
You are going to see and here a lot about this from us going forward. This is our current “Tag Line” that covers the JÖL brand and pulls together our purpose.
We see this as two words that overlap in meaning but can also capture different aspects of the brand and its products. When we started, we wanted to make products to be used regularly; and to have a solid purpose without glitz and pretense. Well, if there is any pretense to us, it is that our stuff is basic. We’re not thinking in a pedestrian manner either. Basic in the sense that we make everyday items. Nearly everything we make you may already have in your home and have made it a part of your daily routine.
But what makes JÖL different, or even special then? Quality? Price? ingredients? Our scents? All of these are important to us and strongly factor into what we do. For the most part, you often have to settle for average quality or ingredients for a lower price, and pay a much higher price to get better quality and ingredients. The niche for us is to use premium ingredients in simple formulations and strive for a comparably lower price, while maintaining a higher quality performance. Doing all of this as a small, boutique style, maker. This is a tough challenge and at times very hard to achieve. The view we have of ourselves is that we are not Wonder Bread and margarine; nor are we an Artisanal 12 grain loaf with imported Organic Irish butter. We are somewhere in between. Something that you can consume daily that has a little more depth and texture to it while being easier to access and costing you less.
JÖL is a Celebration
In our look, we have been migrating to a refined “less is more” style. Gone are all the flashes of color and large block letters. We are putting the product forward and our brand is being pulled back. All to help make THE product to speak. Where scent is the object more than the rest of the item, the scent will be called out more prominently, otherwise the scent will play a smaller role in the presentation. This will be most evident with our JÖL for Home products.
Following the general rule of “5 feet – 5 seconds” for labeling, we are making it easier to being able to know what a product is all about when seen for 5 seconds from 5 feet away. To help this along, we removed a lot of noise from our labels. There is no implied lifestyle and certainly no engendering. We don’t make “men’s” and “women’s” products, we make products for bodies – EVERY BODY. JÖL is about having a good time, to celebrate all that we love. Life should be a celebration, and doing those little things that contribute to feeling good about who we are is how to have that celebration.
A side of Industrial Style
To compliment or maybe even as a feature of this Utilitarian Simplicity, we are moving to a more modern to industrial look for all our packaging. Take our JÖL Fragrance packaging as a prime example where we are headed. Black and wood grain wrap this new line of products. Similarly, we use a cream matte paper background with black lettering, using only color sparsely within thin lettering to call attention to scent or product variant. Many of our products will transition to amber or black bottles and jars. Clear packaging will remain where we wish to call attention to the contents where its appearance is somewhat a piece art in itself.
We are going to be updating a lot of our features and way of business as we head into peak beard season and heavier holiday shopping activity. We will institute the lower cart total for Vale Free Shipping to $49.00 on or just before November 1st. Other than a couple new items planned for late year introduction, production will focus 100% to keeping core products in stock. This gives us roughly 4 weeks to get all our new Shea Butter BIG BAR Soaps made!
As we had announced early, our liquid soaps are back into production. In part due to necessity and to reinforce our Utilitarian Simplicity, we will introduce a new shampoo and body wash combo we will call HEAD 2 TOE LIQUID SOAP. This new multi-use soap is a gentle cleansing shampoo for most hair types as well as a perfect body wash and hand soap. The intent is to have a refill pouch that to fill a bottle for the shower use as well as keep a bottle by the sink for hands and fill a bottle for travel. And, thanks to a new partnership with a supplier that caters to tiny businesses, we will have some more decorative options when it comes to pump bottles.
About that partnership
Being a very small business, it is hard to find good wholesale prices on unique accessory items. We tested the waters with razors and other shaving accessories but found that the channel we used to buy through was very unreliable and was selling the same products they sold to us at wholesale through direct channels for only a tiny percentage more. There was no way we could compete with our supplier! Another hurdle is the necessity for smaller quantities. Many suppliers demand minimum orders of 1000s of units, when even a 100 units is a bit much for us to test the waters with.
Often the items that we come across that suit our style and compliment the brand are being sold on eBay and Amazon. Often the items are prices only 10-15% over what we would pay for them. Even worse is when you find it being sold by dozens of sellers online and in stores. One of the suppliers we are going to work with specializes in connected small makers or distributors sell to other small businesses. Some items are more common, but can be purchased in smaller quantities without having to pay a substantially higher price. Even better are the makers, like us, who want to sell something that you can’t get just anywhere which makes what they offer more attractive for us to sell to you.
We hope to start have some items trickle in over the coming weeks and months. We will start with as small of quantities that make sense as a means to test what you all think about them. There is also a chance you will see some items that are of interest to us that are not necessarily accessory items to what we make. The mission will be to start building a genuine multifaceted JÖL Store that we have envisioned. First up will be more decorative bottles and dispensers, wash cloths and face towels and a few distinctive soap dishes. After those are in store, we are looking at a few fun items for the kitchen or bar to bring JÖL to more parts of your home.