Memberships

UPDATE: We are calling our membership plan the “Primp & Jol Club” and it will be available on September 23rd. The plan will cost $29 annually and you will receive all the benefits listed below.

Some may have already seen our current little survey on what they would find most valuable in such a plan. We know that a plan is not ideal for every customer. Some may not wish to shop with us enough to make it of value to them. We are crafting this for those that already or would wish to shop with us a few times per year.

Our objective is to create a rewarding experience for those who do shop with us regularly or wish to shop with us more often. A large hurdle is always SHIPPING RATES when shopping online. As a tiny business we do not get any discount on shipping fees because we are unable to supply the volume they require. Paid services exist to help businesses like ours, but at this time the savings is lost to the monthly fee we would have to pay. Until we generate enough shipping volume, we pay what everybody else pays. This makes it hard to offer free shipping without raising our product prices. The membership fee is a means to offset those costs upfront and hope members will use their membership to not only get back what they paid, but save going forward.

Another nugget of feedback we receive is around volume pricing, or discounts for return customers. First, ALL our customers are our BEST CUSTOMER. Regardless of the quantity of items or orders each may purchase. Personally we are not fans of special treatment and prices for select customers. We have to balance this with the fact that those who spend more with a business want to be appreciated for their loyalty. The easiest, most cost effective way for us to offer such is through a paid membership and give those a blanket discount.

All of this is what goes into any online retailer offering a paid membership, much like Amazon Prime.

MEMBERSHIP vs LOYALTY PROGRAMS

Loyalty programs give you “points” based on a per dollar basis. Most programs earn a penny for each dollar you spend. Your points would then be turned into cash-off discounts at a later date. With some programs, the points expire within a year making it nearly impossible to get any benefit out of them. A Membership works as a means to incentivize repeat business. If you pay a membership fee up front, you are more likely to return as a customer to recoup the expense. When the plan is priced right, the expense is quickly recovered with a small amount of transactions and as a loyal customer you will continue to save for the duration of your membership. The negative is for those who join but then don’t shop more than once or twice during the period.

The pricing for our plan is designed to pay for itself very quickly. Based on our repeat customer’s habits, members will see the most benefit after 3 orders. Our Welcome Kit is also a value added benefit as the retail value of included items will be more than the cost of the membership.

OUR PLAN at launch

We have very specific goals we wish to achieve with a membership plan: Reward repeat and high volume customers as well as offer a means to save money on those orders. Here is what we are planning to offer for the annual membership fee:

  • FREE SHIPPING for all orders.
  • 10% Discount on all items we make! This will exclude subscriptions and clearance items as they are already discounted more than 10%.
  • No need to apply a code at checkout – you will see your membership price when browsing, as long as you are logged into your account.
  • A “WELCOME KIT” that will be filled with smaller versions of our most popular products to inspire interests in our full catalog – valued around $30 (at retail) and will ship with your first order as a member.
  • 5% Discount on select PRIMP & JOL accessory items.
  • Early Access to hot new items.
  • Membership exclusives to special scents or sizes of our regular products.*
  • Specially priced gift sets and collections.*

*planned, but no firm date as to when to expect these benefits

What you will not be able to do:

  • Share this plan. It will be associated with your account email address and you will be required to log into your account to order. Sensible gifting is perfectly acceptable, but please avoid shopping for all your friends and family.
  • Apply your membership in person. We do not have a brick & mortar store at this time. When we set up a pop-up, we may not have the means to validate your membership. There are also a bunch of different cost factors related to this as well. When we do have a fixed location we will certainly include functionality for memberships.
  • Monthly billing will not be available – this will be an annual membership to run for 12 months from the date of purchase. You will have an option to renew. Membership is paid in full at start of the plan for each year. If we see strong enough interest, we may introduce a monthly plan, but it would not be the same price.
  • “Double Dip” – to protect our business we cannot permit the stacking of discounts. As a member you will get 10% off automatically on everything we make. If an item is on sale for 15% off, the risk is there with some items to become a loss for us to sell. We will simply make the discount not apply to sale items, so you can always get the lowest price. This is also the reason why Subscriptions will not be included in the discount for members.
  • Coupons may not work with your Membership. Each coupon has it’s own rules but most will not allow stacking to begin with. If a coupon works, even though we may say it will not work for Memberships, then YAY! You get to save more.
  • If we see a plan being abused with an abundance of orders being shipped to various addresses, we are likely to send notice that it is of concern and if we see the behavior continue we will terminate your membership. If you have friends that want to save, encourage them to join!

Will their be tiered memberships?

Not at launch. As we go forward, we will evaluate how it is being used and its overall effectiveness. If we see a demand for a lower or higher level membership, we will determine the best means to incorporate it and what the best pricing would be for all levels. Once we get some early adopters going, we will look into a 30 or 90 day trial membership level to help more people experience the benefits. As of now, we know that a trial membership will not include the Welcome Kit that we have planned today.

If you have any feedback or questions, please message us on Facebook

2019-2020 NPD Roadmap

Yes, the headline reads more like a business plan than an informational post. That is intentional as this is a more formal piece on where we are heading as we go into our busiest time of the year.

NPD = New Product Development. This will layout what our plans for new products that in the works for the upcoming 6 to 9 month period beginning July 2019.

BODY BUTTER & BATH BUTTER – available now

These have been in the works for the last year and have finally launched. The Body Butter was a bit premature as we had a huge “A-Ha!” moment. We have retooled the base formula of our Beard Butter into an amazing skin cream for superior moisturizing.

The Bath Butter was actually slow in development but we finally got around to actually producing it. This is a body cleansing cream with Himalayan salt for exfoliating and softening. This will be available in “flavors” that will be unique [for now] to this product line.

MEN’S UTILITY SOAP BAR – plan is for November 2019

We have been tossing around the idea for this product for some time, repeatedly pushing it off. The concept is a soap bar that is ideal for hair and skin. Intended to be launched with our Bar Shampoo, we held off as we wished to not overwhelm the market at the time. Many men like to keep it simple and have one product that does all their bath time cleaning. Where many of these bars that are already on the market do the duty with varying levels of mediocrity, we will get down to the skin and hair basics to create a product that has the right levels of what will work best for head, beard and skin. Using some of our newest ingredients that bring out the best in your skin in hair and pack them into a clean, organic soap bar. These bars will lather great, rinse away easily and come in our most popular J&L Pogonotrophics’ fragrances.

DEODORANT STICK – February 2020, maybe

Another project that has been in the works for some time. We have looked at numerous recipes and like everything else we do, we look into the core ingredients that will best suit the job of keeping BO at bay while not being greasy or irritate sensitive skin. We plan to bring 2 to 3 variants to market that will give options in performance and fragrance.

“JUNK OIL” CREAM – Fall 2019

It has been requested that we make a cream or balm version of our JUNK OIL. We have a name selected for this product that will be just as fun and attention grabbing as Junk Oil has been. The idea is to have a thick lotion like deodorizing item that is natural/organic, safe for the most intimate of areas, does not feel greasy and most of all, does the job of keeping you fresh “down there”.

FRAGRANCES & FLAVORS – FALL 2019

As part of our plan to always bring variety to our fragrance offerings we will be retiring a couple fragrances at the Holidays to make room for new scents. The plan is to rotate out some scents after 2 years. This year we will say farewell to TAROCCO and CITRUS GROVE. Tarocco will remain as a custom order scent for Beard Oils & Beard Butter. At this time we have ceased production of these 2 scents. LONDON may also be retired as well.

We are currently testing new scents to bring forward. Some are already out there in select products to test the public’s reaction. So far, ARUBA looks like it may be a winner for J&L Apothecary products, but we don’t see it being a great fit for Beard Care products.

Lip Balms will see TWISTED MINT and PINK GRAPEFRUIT come to an end. DREAMSICLE will launch this fall. CUCUMBER MINT is also on the horizon. Expect a couple more flavors to be added. We also plan to introduce new sets with exclusive flavors.

Solid Cologne has been very popular and we hope to expand this line with more fragrances from our current assortment as well as try new ones. Solid Cologne has been a means for us to test new ideas for fragrance. If we get plenty of positive feedback from a new cologne scent, we begin to share it with other lines.

“BUG REPELLENT SPRAY” – SPRING 2020

This is likely the product that we have been working on the longest. We intended to launch it this summer but we had too much on our plate and shelved it to be launched Spring 2020. This spray will be 100% natural, safe for you and your pets, and safe for most fabrics as well.

Recently we took a camping trip where we were able to field test our formula. It performed very well, keeping flies, moths, beetles and mosquitoes at bay. A simple spray over exposed areas and at the feet lasted for hours before reapplication was necessary. The blend of essential oils smell pleasant to you but offends the bugs enough to keep them away. The formula is light, water based and does not require shaking before each use.

PRIMP & JOL

This retail concept, as first introduced, is postponed indefinitely. Our Pop-Up this past Holiday season taught us a lot and has inspired us to re-tool this concept. Our focus will be to create a production facility that we can open to the public for shopping as well as demonstrations and group activities around personal care, grooming and self care. By doing this we feel we are capturing more of what “Jol” means as we create a fun environment to explore us and our products as well as yourself. Depending on how well we do going into this coming holiday season will determine how soon we can make this happen. If only we can flip a switch and make it happen today!

SUMMARY

Much of what is listed here are ideas that we have had since the launch of J&L Apothecary. We feel that once these products are completed and introduced we will then put our focus on improving the products we already offer, update packaging to be more environmentally friendly and challenge ourselves with expanding our customer base. 2020 may see us pull back from doing Chicago street festivals and focus on retail outlets that take less physical drain on us and presents our products in a better fashion. Festivals are fun; but they are a lot of work to prepare for as well as operate. The sun and heat are not ideal environments for our products, which have caused quality issues for some items. Fluctuations in weather affects how well we perform at these festivals and due to their costs to participate, we cannot risk rainy weekends that soak us and keep shoppers at home.

We hope you appreciate our roadmap and are excited for what we plan to bring to you. In some ways this is the fruition of our “Phase 2” as we plan for “Phase 3”.

Thank you, John & Larry – and the J&L Family

Us vs Them: Beard Shampoo

From time to time we wish to call out what makes us different and in our eyes, better. With much of our beard care line it is almost MacIntosh to Gala comparisons (apple to apple). But sometimes there is a distinct difference that needs to be called out so you can see that there are not always equal comparisons.

We recently introduced our all new Beard Shampoo, replacing our Quotidian Beard Wash. Time was taken to research and study what is best for most beards to clean without stripping away important oils. Looking at the marketplace we saw a lot of shampoos out there that are merely a typical liquid soap with a more “guy friendly” scent. Focusing on the most popular beard shampoos and we see that they really don’t treat the beard’s hair any differently that what’s on the top of your head. Well, any bearded gent can tell you those hairs are not the same.

Here is an example of a popular brand that can be found at many common stores:

Water, Decyl Glucoside (plant-derived surfactant), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (coconut-based), Glycerin (plant-derived), Cocamidopropylamine Oxide (coconut-based), Xanthan Gum, Coco-Glucoside (coconut-based), Glyceryl Oleate, Polysorbate 20, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ethylhexylglycerin

Colorfully Named Pirate’s Brand Beard Wash – retails for $14.00 for 4 ounce bottle

Above is a very popular and well established brand’s ingredients list for their Beard Wash. They make a point of calling our what is plant based or derived. We find it easier to have all our ingredients be plant based or derived. While nothing stands out as being outright harmful to you or the environment, although there are organ toxicity concerns over Ethylhexylglycerin. With this being pretty much a standard liquid soap formula made by a larger brand we don’t see any justification in the price. A 12 ounce bottle of any popular natural shampoo brand is about $5.00.

Water, Potassium Cocoate*, Potassium Oleate*, Lauryl Betaine, Glycerin*, Macadamia Nut Oil*, Hemp Seed Oil*, Avocado Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Palm Kernelate, Palm Kernel Acid, Decyl Glucoside, Aloe Vera Leaf, Potassium Citrate, Natural or Essential Oils for Fragrance, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5)   *Organic Ingredient

J&L Pogonotrophics’ Beard Shampoo – retails for $8.00 for a 4 ounce bottle

Read through our ingredients, you can see that between the two shampoos, we share many of the same core ingredients. Our formula does use Xanthan Gum, which is used to give a liquid soap viscosity, nor Polysorbate 20 – an ingredient to get water and oil to mix. We also do not add Vitamin E as a whole ingredient, we do use Hemp Seed and Avocado Oils which are very high in Vitamin C as well as Omega Fatty Acids that enrich the hair. In this new formula, we also added Panthenol. Panthenol is a B5 Vitamin that helps repair the hair cuticle, which can easily be damaged by heat, sun and harsh soaps. The cuticle locks in moisture, and that is very important for your hair!

Our pricing is $6.00 less than the colorfully named pirate’s brand. We can assure you that our quality is on par, if not better; as well as we offer our Beard Shampoo in fragrances that can be mixed or matched with any of our other beard care products.

So, if the quality is comparatively close with both brands being rather natural in ingredients, why pay more? Now add in that one is a major brand that focuses on beard care and they offer a rather generic shampoo at a higher price than a small boutique shampoo with added hair nourishing ingredients; the choice should be clear.

To help in your choice, we are offering a special deal for a short period of time. Save 15% in our online shop until the end of July. Then let us know what you think of our brand…

Why your expanded assortment item takes more time:

In select products we offer “Expanded Assortment” options for scents. It literally means we are able to expand upon or normal assortment of in-stock offerings with items that are made to order. These additional items are scents we have made in the past as regular stock that had limited popularity or are scents some have requested but do not warrant full production.

Most of our items are easily customizable. We produce an unscented base that can be scented and packaged later, as needed. This permits more flexibility in our offerings without increasing our production costs exponentially. This is how we are able to offer Expanded Assortment. As long as if we have the fragrance ingredients we can continue to make the finished scented item. Unlike our normal inventory, where we produce an amount to satisfy anticipated demand for a span of time, expanded assortment items are produced the day we receive your order.

Whenever we package products, whether for inventory needs or for customized orders, we need to wait an extra day to ensure the product set as expected and meets our quality control standards. When adding fragrance and essential oils to our bases it can result in unexpected changes to the product. This is chemistry and if the ambient temperature and humidity levels are not ideal it can cause the base to react differently. This is extremely rare, but possible! Gently adding any amount of oils to our liquid soap base can cause the bonds of the ingredients to break and make the soap too watery. With beard oils & Original Beard Butter it can cause the ingredients to separate or layer.

Whenever we make an expanded assortment item for you, it is scented and packaged and set in a cool dark place overnight. The next day we open the package and inspect for any changes to consistency as well as fragrance accuracy before we commit to fulfilling your order.

By being able to provide this service, we are able to reach more people and provide more options to our customers. It also allows us to ensure you get a fresher product that has not sat waiting to be shipped for too long. We wish to continue to offer more items in more options for you. Sadly, we cannot bring these options to bar soaps, solid shampoo, creams, and lotions.

So, this is why it takes at least 1 extra day to process your order when you order an Expanded Assortment option.