J&L POGONOTROPHICS LLC is the “company” behind 2 specialty boutique brands of personal care products that are built on the same foundation: Be of premium quality, as natural as possible, work as intended and priced to be used effectively.

We began with J&L Pogonotrophics to focus on the bearded and hairy male. Targeting specific needs such guys face when it comes to taking care of their beard, hair and skin. With women loving many of our body products and asking for more, we developed J&L Apothecary Brand of bath & body products for EVERY body. While J&L Pogonotrophics is mainly for men, J&L Apothecary is about the product and the job it is designed to do. It is 100% gender neutral and can be enjoyed by anyone with skin and hair.

Being a boutique brand is difficult. Even harder when you are not backed by investors who are pushing sales to make profits. We see ourselves as that “little secret” that people buy and love. We rely heavily on word of mouth through trusted friends to grow our business. We do some advertising here and there, and our involvement in Chicago Street Festivals has been the best way to meet face to face with the masses and show off all our fine products.

Our aim is to expand both brands in a means that allows there to be something for everybody as well as being able to provide every step of a personal care regimen. We do not consider ourselves a cosmetic company, although analysts will. We make products that will help you look your best and we also hope they work to help you feel your best. We like to think that we help bring out your shine, naturally.

John & Larry, the beards behind J&L Pogonotrophics LLC

Below we will introduce some of the key people behind our little company and what role they play to bring all that we make and do to you.

Our Founder

John C Dodge was born in 1969 in Toledo, OH. Growing up in the 70s & 80s brought a ton of creative influences to him through art and music. Always drawing and writing with music playing as a soundtrack. Often found building with Lego bricks, which led to an interest in architecture but as he grew older he found that rigid engineering is not for him. A knack for numbers led to an interest in accounting, while a love of food made him an aspiring amateur chef. Sciences were always a hobby interest as well, and was his main academic pursuit. The necessity of needing to work to pay for school got in the way of a higher education, forcing him to drop his educational pursuits and put him into a strong work history in an field that doesn’t have a formal education to teach you what you need to do the work.

All these interests and endeavors aligned into the tools and the ability to take on the challenge of starting his own business. It is a dream to have a job that you love and uses the most of your talents. Everything needed to launch J&L Pogonotrophics was already in his toolbox. Like most inventions, J&L came our of a personal need. A need for a better product for moisturizing his beard.

Having a beard since he was 14, not caring for the chore of shaving, has made it an iconic part of who he is. He strongly feels a beard is not a part of a trend, a fashion accessory or statement. It is viewed as being just as much a part of who he is as his fingers, nose and toes. Hair is as much a part of the human body as any other part and should not ever be viewed as ugly, disgusting or a symbol of being less than.

I grew up being told that only a bum has a beard. My response was, I guess that I am a bum. I am happy that today we are building a culture where a person is allowed to be who they are as they wish to define it. That men are not being forced into an image defined by ad agencies, nor women as well. If a person wishes to style their hair, or grow a beard, they should not have to seek permission or acceptance from anyone. Personally, I find that beards make many men look better, when well cared for.


Formation of J&L Pogonotrophics LLC

We share over 50 years of “bearding” (yes, this ages us) experience and nearly as much experience with retail, brand building, merchandising; and have become growing advocates for clean living. We are a family owned boot-strap true small business; and proud of it! We call our type of business a “Tiny Business” as Small Business no longer means small.

The principle idea came from John. Along with Larry, we tried many means of conditioning our beards that never really worked well for both of us. Some investigation into a recent big name beard oil Larry purchased, John saw a way to make it better and cheaper. A culinary interest lead to learning everything he could about natural fruit and nut oils that are commonly used in beard oil. From the start it was obvious that not 1 product would be ideal for all beards, so we made 3 formulas to fine tune the conditioning of the oils for different beards.

After introducing our first Beard Oil formulas in late February 2014, John went to work on creating the most ideal conditioning beard balm. A balm that would deeply condition, stick to the hairs and provide a little styling aid. By summer, the Original Beard Butter was introduced to the masses. Yes folks, we invented it and it was quickly stolen by others (still waiting for the royalty checks). This was not the end of our innovating, Junk Oil came soon after. We also started creating products for a complete solution for hair, skin and body all designed for bearded and hairy men. Well, women liked many of those products as well, and this is where J&L Apothecary came to be.

Based in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, we are easily found roaming about in the north side neighborhoods. We are strong supporters of various Chicago organizations and social causes. As a business we have no agenda other than to provide our quality products to those who appreciate them and to expand our appeal to more people to appreciate them as well. We may never be the biggest out there, and we are very OK with that. We merely wish to keep doing what we are doing and provide a choice.

It is anticipated that within the year there will be a permanent home for all aspects of our business – offices, fulfillment and manufacturing. Having a direct retail component for our local customers would be ideal, but may not be possible.

We are also willing to accept limited investment offers to help us move into the next phase. An ideal investor would be one who respects the Brand that we have built and wishes for it to gain more traction with the public. they must not only need to be willing to think outside of the box, but throw away the box entirely. To be willing to not do what everybody else is doing which will allow us to be step ahead instead of behind. Such an investment would let us obtain our factory store and put more effort into our almost non-existent marketing.

We thank you for your time, interest and patronage. We hope you enjoy what you take away from us and will share your experiences with others as well as tell us what you think.

John & Larry