WHO WE ARE
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 also strongly believe in the philosophy of Self-Care through Personal Care; a belief that the little things we do to make us look better and feel good can help improve our overall self-esteem.
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 them profits. We see ourselves as that “little secret” that people buy and love. We rely heavily on word of mouth through friends and their 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 folks face to face 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 don’t like to consider ourselves a cosmetic company, although analysts do. We make products that will help you look your best and we also hope they work to help you feel your best. We will do so in a manner that respects all people, even as we carve out unique needs among some segments. For the most part, every item we make can benefit everyone and anyone.
We make every single product ourselves, by hand, in very small batches. Our ingredients are natural and all but 1 is sourced from plants. That one is Lanolin, which is natural but is derived from Sheep wool processing. A few products rely upon extremely top quality bases that are made by a leading soap industry supplier in the United Kingdom. The bases are designed to be built upon to customize, focus for desired results and scent as we like. They are Certified Organic with standards that exceed those of the USA.
At this stage in our growth, every item we make is hand packed. We even design and print our own labels. This is to allow us to keep our costs down while we provide more flexibility in our offerings. This also leads to minor imperfections here and there that we like to call “character marks”. It has always been important for us that every activity possible is done in house and not outsourced. There are things we will not be able to sustain on our own once we grow larger. Mainly, the printing of our labels. Another step is to move away from the bases as we perfect our own “from scratch” formulas for Lotions and Hair Conditioners.
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.
John C Dodge was born in 1969 in Toledo, OH – right in the middle of the GenX timeline. 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 a field that you have to learn by doing it, not classroom will give your the right skills.
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 out of a personal need. A need for a better product for moisturizing his beard.
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.
Due to the current social and economic situation we have been placed in a holding pattern to preserve our business through a rocky market. All Research & Development has been suspended. Plans for new products have been shelved. The ability to sell in person through Pop-Ups and City Festivals has been taken away from us. Although we agree with these decisions, the impact will be substantial if we do not shelter our business from any economic downturn.
Plans for continued growth
We are willing to accept limited investment offers to help us move into the next phase. An ideal investor would be one who respects the Brands, as they are, and wishes for them to gain more traction with the public. They must be able to think of a wholly new box, not just outside the box. To be willing to not do what everybody else is doing which will allow us to be step ahead of the curve instead of being behind it. 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.