O M G !
Andersonville; YOU ROCK! It was such an amazing weekend for Midsommarfest all the way around. Can’t say I wasn’t nervous about the potential for rain to bring it down, but what tiny rain there was made it OK… if not cool. Well, it definitely made Sunday cooler. I can never express how much I love setting up shop in Andersonville. I do hope to make it J&L’s permanent home; whenever we can make that happen. If we keep having weekends like we just had makes it looked brighter that we can.
Currently we are in recovery mode. Stock levels are very depleted on most of our products and we are working hard to get a functional quantity made of as many items as we can for the short term then build back up for the long term. We hope to have a few of each candle available next week, room sprays by weekend.
Change is looming
As always… And we seem to be Captains of Change here. Always adapting to the market, to demands and somewhat to trends. In some areas we tend to lead trends. Which is funny that we seem to have an influence upon contemporaries in some areas.
Most of our proposed changes are in direct correlation to market/industry trends based upon an evolution of what customers are looking for in all that they consume. It is hard for us to say we are “all natural” and “eco-friendly” when we still rely so heavily on plastics. We are not comfortable that it is something we need to do because of our size. In every situation where we can, we are looking to move away from plastic to glass or metal container for our products. Paper packaging is not ideal for many of our products. Although paper tubes and such have been introduced for deodorants and the like. They have a much shorter life span on the shelf and get gross quickly. The oils and butters used in such products still permeates the coatings on the plastic. I have done research on them and even the suppliers are backing away from offering paper tubes. And those tubes are super pricey – like 4x the price we pay for the plastic. The pricing of more sustainable packaging is at such a high premium when the supply is readily available and inexpensive to produce.
Sustainability is our goal… and it will remain our goal. It should be every business’s goal regardless of their position on climate change. The more we can support safe, clean and renewable the better. A challenge we face is finding suppliers that can document their efforts in sustainability. Many are medium size businesses that are resellers of goods made by another business that would not engage in sales to genuinely small businesses. This is why we pay more for what we do buy.
This leads us to the changes we are ready, or near ready to roll out. First off, we are phasing out liquid soaps. Although we just introduced our Head 2 Toe Liquid Soap, we are going cease production immediately. Remaining inventory will sell through and be gone when gone. The remain inventory of our liquid soap ingredients will be used for Beard Shampoo. In regards to Beard Shampoo, we are going to phase out scent options. Why? To make it more universal and to not conflict with other scents used. Most of the shampoo’s scent is washed away – we see that as wasteful. Those that have bought our unscented Beard Conditioner have not complained – and that is used after the shampoo; masking any scent that it would leave behind. Once we are able to gauge the impact of the changes to beard shampoo we will decide if we will continue to offer a liquid shampoo. We have already been encouraging guys to try our BIG BAR SOAPS as a beard shampoo if they wish to have a scented option. I have to admit, the scent of a soap in the shower can affect my experience and mood.
Will that be glass or metal?
Items sold in plastic jars will be evaluated to see if glass jars or metal tins would serve well for their packaging needs. If safety is a concern for use in the bath or shower, we will continue to use plastic over using glass or metal. It is important that any package we use be easy to open and will close tightly just as easy.
Although we are not officially into Summer just yet, we are looking toward the Fall for our slate of Autumn/Winter/Holiday scents. A couple of last year’s scents went to become full time fragrances; NORSEMAN & BLACK CHERRY PIPE TOBACCO were so popular we decided to keep ’em going year round. HOLIDAY HEARTH, CYPRESS BAYBERRY & WASSAIL will certainly return. We plan to have a solid assortment of Autumnal, Winter and Holiday scents that properly represent each season right. Expect warmth, spices, pine and dark sweet notes to be more prominent. We also have plans for a special AUTUMN 3SOME SET that will contain at least 1 exclusive scent.
Production of Spring Scents will end JULY 1, 2022, the Summer scents will end their production AUGUST 1, 2022. ARID FOREST will run through SEPTEMBER. The first Autumn scents will launch SEPTEMBER 2022, Winter/Holiday NOVEMBER 1. Expect the announcement of our selections late August.
Scents being retired and returning.
Scents can be tied to trends. Unlike the seasonal nature of some, others tend to mirror a longer cultural trend. To keep in step with what people are looking for in scents, we need to say farewell to some longer running fragrances. These scents are retiring for an indefinite period of time: HAVANA, LAKESIDE, SEASIDE, RED SANGRIA, LEATHER, MATCHA MINT, BLUEBERRY THYME, ABSINTHE
ATHENS and FIRENZE will return as AUTUMN/WINTER scents for Beard Care. HOWARD’S PIPE will replace HAVANA as an every day scent for Beard Care. As mentioned previously, most of our 2021 AUTUMN/WINTER Candle scents will return for this year.
We are outgrowing our current home. This is presenting many challenges for us. Directly linked to increase sales we must keep larger quantities of goods on hand. We are also stepping up our production levels to meet this demand. Not sure how candles would do for us, we only put a small investment into the line at the start. Over time, we have increased the number of units we produce at a time from just a few to dozens. With the popularity increasing, that means we need to be ready for not only the next pop-up but for returning customers along with new customers that find us. Before we can even consider expanding the line, added more sizes and options we need to have more space.
Starting this fall I am going to start shopping around for a new studio space or storefront that can suit all our needs and maybe some wishes as well. The ideal space will have room enough to securely store all supplies, ingredients and finished goods; serve as a place to process online sales; offer the ability to support order pickups anytime during regular business hours if not a full retail experience. A desired location would be anywhere in Andersonville, Uptown, Edgewater or East Rogers Park.
I am also opening up the opportunity to take on a partnership or other investment to help me build upon what we already have. Previous offers have equated to a hostile takeover and reinvention of everything we are. An ideal partner is willing to put in sweat equity as well as help build up finances. I am not looking for a check to be handed over – but assistance in accessing standard business capital that is available. Most importantly, they must like what we are about; respecting the years we have put into building what we have now.
The biggest hurdle we face is marketing. Being able to get social media and advertising to be on brand and consistent. Improving SEO and Google Ads to increase our reach there. To be honest, I don’t know exactly what any kind of partnership will look like but I am open to hearing ideas. No guarantee there will be a match, but who knows without trying? If interested, reach out to me: john @ pogonotrophics.com
Keep an eye on our Facebook for other news and information about upcoming events, scent of the month and more.\
Have a happy, safe summer! John