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Some Recent News: Meet CAR.EN • OXFORD Scent • Apple Fest 2024

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We have three nuggets of information to share.

Meet CAR.EN

As of today, we have introduced a new single point of contact for all customer email communication. This move was necessary due to the generic nature of the “support” account name leading to extreme spamming and potential malicious content distribution. The vast quantity of emails we have to sift through to actually get to a real customer question or actual issue that needed or prompt response made it very problematic.

woman in brown blazer wearing black headset looking at camera
CAR.EN, not Caren. Photo by Antoni Shkraba

What is CAR.EN? It is the Customer Activated Response & Engagement Node, not an actual person. Just having fun with acronyms and not intended to be any more meaningful than that. If we eventually hire a person who literally has the name Caren it will be purely coincidental. Questions about products, orders, or news you wish to share with us as an existing or potentially new customer send email to car.en@pogonotrophics. com (remove the blank space we added so to prevent bots from grabbing it to use)

Related news: Higher level filters have been added to this and all @pogonotrophics.com email accounts to block more spam and potential malicious content. Part of this is to block any free email domains from our Business To Business accounts. That means any Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook emails, which are prime tools for scammers to use to their benefit, will be blocked for those specific accounts. This will not affect any customer accounts like CAR.EN, which will still accept all email domains. If a business or professional service wishes to contact us they will need to have a legitimate domain that reflects their company name. Overall we are reducing the impact of all unnecessary clutter that prevents our ability to efficiently conduct business.

Other changes are a new NO-REPLY account to promote one direction announcements and alerts coming from us. In time, all of our accounts will be updated to diminish the amount of spam we receive and make it easier to identify sources of such content to help us be more efficient in our communications.

OXFORD Scent

OXFORD scent option has been on life support for some time NOW. The sole source of this scent oil had ceased production over 4 years ago. Remaining inventory at suppliers has run dry, those that may still have inventory have dramatically increased the price. As scent oils tend to last indefinitely when stored properly, it is possible that supply will keep dwindling and increasing in cost. We would need to increase the retail price of the OXFORD scented Beard Oils by $1 to cover the added expense, and would not be able to offer this scent in other products. This is something we really do not care to do.

We can no longer sustain keeping a level price policy for all scents if we continue to offer the OXFORD scent. On hand, there is enough inventory to last through the end of the year if exclusively used for Beard Oils and Original Beard Butter. Once our supply is exhausted, we will not be restocking. Attempts to find an alternative source has been futile. We have a source that will replicate the scent oil for us, but we would need to purchase a massive quantity that we cannot justify the expense at this time. We are holding some of the oil in reserves for the day we can make that happen as it will be needed to create the replica.

CEDAR LEATHER has been the alternate variant used in candles and soaps. This is an in-house blend that comes close but does not capture the same level of spice notes as OXFORD. We are looking into ways to change that and if we find a blend that works well and captures all the right notes, we will introduce that scent under a new name – yet reference the similarity to OXFORD. Unless we get it right on, then we will keep the OXFORD name.

Apple Fest

We have received confirmation concerning our participation in APPLE FEST 2024. This festival takes place October 5th & 6th along Lincoln Ave in Lincoln Square, south of Lawrence. This will be our 3rd year vending at this fun seasonal event that captures some of the best things about Fall. Expect all our premium Beard Care, lotions, body sprays, and bar soaps; along with the JÖL for Home Every Day, Autumn, Winter, and Holiday Collections. There may also be a couple surprises, still sorting that out.

Apple Fest is likely our last festival of the year. The plan to do 4 festivals this year fell short due to the nature of things. Although there is a chance there could be a Winter or Holiday Market to attend, no word of such has been posted. This will have an impact on our plans for securing a brick & mortar home for J&L, but we are not giving up. Currently we are drafting formal plans that will be shared with potential capital sources to help us reach our goal. If timing is not on our side, we may seek a temporary business license to have a Holiday season Pop-Up Store. Much like we had in Andersonville for Holiday 2018. Such a situation can help us gain more awareness to our brands and let us fine tune plans for a future permanent store.

The Nature of Festivals

We love doing them. They are a great way to interact with people in a relaxed and fun environment. Most of you first became aware of us and our goods through our festival appearances over the years. Yet, there are still drawbacks for us that make festivals a less attractive means to promote J&L as we grow.

Weather is the largest variable we must deal with. These are outdoor events that mainly occur spring through autumn. It can be too cold, too hot, too windy, or too rainy. Not only does the weather potentially keep people at home, it can have an impact on our products. A hot sun will melt Beard Butter and can also lessen the lifespan of Beard Oil in the bottle. Humid air negatively affects many of our labels that contain paper, causing them to wrinkle and bubble. Windy days rattle our canopy which can lead to product getting knocked off shelves.

Even well attended festivals may get cancelled, or moved. A few are announced very last minute leaving us without enough time to make enough of our goods. Planning as if a previous festival will happen again may lead to having too much product on hand that won’t sell if the festival doesn’t happen – which also locks up our storage, leaving little room for other items. Simply, there are too many variables to be navigated that are out of our control.

The logistics make these festivals a challenge as well. Packing up much of our inventory and all the other necessary gear to set up a mini store for 2 to 3 days can be a lot of work. There are weeks of planning, analyzing data, production, and communication that takes place to assure we have the right balance of goods and adequate fixtures. Without higher day to day sales volume that would come with a retail location, we are making educated guesses as what would be popular. By making the shift to a Brick & Mortar store, we can start building better data and make the most of what festival appearances we do.

Hope you all had a safe and enjoyable 4th. Until next update, find ways to keep cool in the summer heat!

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