COVID-19 Response

We are expanding upon previous communications related to the impact and our reaction to COVID-19.

Inventory Impact:

Due to our packaging and ingredient suppliers dealing with a dramatic increase in demand for components we use, we expect to see tighter inventory levels and an increase in out-of-stock situations over the coming weeks. We will be managing our inventory levels for our website more tightly during this time. Through the upcoming weeks we are switching to producing inventory in even smaller batches or ‘to order’ to better meet demand of more popular items and permit flexibility of packaging. If there is a much preferred fragrance option showing that it is not available, please email us at support@pogonotrophics.com to see if we are able to produce the item for you.

Reliability of Pricing:

We are personally disgusted by those who are working hard to take advantage of this very challenging situation by drastically increasing prices on essential items. It has been our policy from our first day of business to always strive to offer our products at the best possible price. This does leave us with tighter profits due to our size and buying power; yet we feel it would heavily contradict our values if we were to raise our prices without genuine necessity.

If you see any price increases during this time, it will truly be related to a substantial increase in the cost of materials. One of our key suppliers has dramatically increased their prices to where they are no longer a wholesale supplier and no longer a reliable option to buy from. This means we must find other suppliers for our materials which can lead to a higher price paid by us.

J+L APOTHECARY March Coupons Expire Earlier

Because of inventory limitations and the desire to offer FREE SHIPPING on all orders $25 and up during this period. All J+L APOTHECARY coupon codes have been deleted. This step helps us ensure adequate revenues to offer the free shipping and safeguard us from having to raise any prices on our soaps. This is something we regret having to do but it is important to protect our sustainability through this period.

Changes to Production Plans:

At this time, we will place a higher priority on bar/solid soaps. As we sell out of current bar soap formulas, we will be able to start introducing our new Hemp Oil based soap bars. They will be available in many of the same fragrances currently available. Our Shea Butter Soaps will continue as is, we may add more fragrances to this line as well. As a whole, the CRYSTAL soaps are being discontinued.

We are working hard to source our organic liquid soap base. We import this item from a major supplier in the UK which is currently experiencing the same societal impacts we are facing here in Chicago. This is forcing us to postpone the release of our new liquid shampoo line. The ability to produce a small amount of the most popular SHOWER WASH scents is still possible and that will take place this week.

All Beard Oils are currently on hold for production until we can source bottles. The hording of products has impacted this supply chain as well, as crafters and other small makers like us have overwhelmed the network to capitalize on the opportunity to sell their products at higher prices.

What we are doing to safeguard ourselves and you:

Since we are unable to use our drop-in production locales during this time. This requires us to make everything in house…my house. Any items that require a more highly sanitized work area will be lower in priority for us to make. This relates mostly to our SERUM HA, FACE WASH and TONERs.

All other production will take place in a sanitized area that is free of potential contaminants and as always, all tools, containers, work surfaces and materials will be disinfected. First using a chlorine disinfectant, then once dry, they will be wiped with a hydrogen peroxide solution to remove any residue and apply another level of disinfection.

Before shipping, we have always wiped clean all bottles and jars with the hydrogen peroxide solution. This has been to remove dust and particles that would settle within our storage area for finished goods. As the virus is unable to live past 3 days on any surface, what is inside the package is likely safe to handle. But, be safe and wash your hands after touching any mail or packages arriving at your home. If possible, wear latex or nitrile gloves.

A Personal Note:

This is a very challenging time for many lower wage earners who are finding themselves without work due to this virus and uncertainty that the Federal government will find a means to help. We are feeling the impact here as well. This is my sole source of income. As a tiny business, I am essentially the only employee. Bar far this is not a well paying job but it has many other rewards. When in a time of uncertainty, businesses like this feel the hit harder than other businesses, and they feel it sooner. We hope that our loyal followers will consider us during this time when stocking up on their soap and other personal care item needs. Your dollar spent with us goes immediately into our community to support other small local businesses – such as grocery stores, restaurants and other shops where we do our daily business. Shopping from us, helps other businesses like us as well. When we get through this, and we will, I know we all will be stronger.

I thank you all very much for your understanding and consideration. Please continue to be well and help all of us get through this time.

John C Dodge

March Focus: J+L Apothecary Branding Refresh

When we fully committed to J+L Apothecary (JLA) as a product line, it was imperative we clearly create its own iconic brand image. Forus, it needed to be something that captured two key elements of the brand: skin and hair essentials (basics), and be gender neutral.

We took some time looking through the history of modern person care branding. The 1950s was a big change for the marketplace. Many popular products that are household names to this day can trace their origins back to this time. Much like our branding of J&L Pogonotrophics, that evokes the early 1900s with being the last era where men having facial hair was commonplace, we felt that the ’50s was an ideal era to reflect in our branding.

Another time period that had a major impact on the original design for our labeling was the 1980s and the ‘Generic Brands” of the day. A very minimalist, monochromatic style that was heavy on direct and to the point text. With the 1950’s being light on color and images for packaging, mix that with the 1980’s generics with bold text and simplicity, we feel we created something that openly communicated “basics” and not force an engendered appearance.

As you can see above, we went super simple with naming, text style and color. Text was bold, information was minimal and there was as minimal color. When we used color, it was in two ways, to identify a product category, or to highlight variants of a product. The color band that was the highlight for the Brand name subtly noted whether it was a soap, skin care product or hair care product. We didn’t openly communicate that little detail to consumers as we liked hearing the “Aha!” moment when it was figured out.

For our brand refresh we are executing this year we did not want to lose touch on many of those key components, but it was obvious we needed to improve our labels to be more eye catching. With our transition to white or clear bottles and jars, our previous style was less appealing.

The color coding was retained and is still used to denote product category. Gone is most of the white space, to be filled with a coding color gradient. Text remains bold and is more consistently used. Scale of text sets product and variation names apart from helpful product information, which is new to our labels.

With our new look, our product names are more prominent, our brand name is less pronounced and more strategically placed for clarity. Smaller text calls our key features and ingredients. Color is more comforting by use of a gradient that transitions from bold to white.

Testing of this new look was well received. People liked sharpness of the product name being out front. The additional information provided helps one perform a quick comparison to determine if the item will suit their needs. Ingredients are generally on the left; use and maker information to the right. Reviewers felt this was more modern yet very much held to our brand values.

Over the course of this year you will see this branding roll out to more and more products. First we need to move through current inventory of produced goods as well as current label stock. Some products feature above, are still in development but should be launching soon. Also, some items are seeing a minor tweak to their name to better reflect their uses. For example, HAND + BODY LOTION is now called FACE, HANDS + BODY lotion to help customers know that it can also be used on their face with great results. We call it FHB for short, and it will be a featured product on our Facebook page this coming Saturday.

Please comment or share your thoughts with us, it is always great to hear from you.

March Focus: J&L APOTHECARY

We have selected this March to focus on the J&L Apothecary brand. Since its launch in June of 2017 it has grown to be a bigger beast than J&L Pogonotrophics in the variety of products we offer. Compared to our foundational Beard Care Brand, J&L Apothecary is rather young. In the last year it has really taken on a life of its own; making it the right time to freshen it up and let more people learn about it.

Built on the same principles as J&L Pognotrophics, the items we make are intended to be as natural as possible, free is gimmicks, perform very well and be a better value than most other “specialty” brands. We started J&L Apothecary to satisfy a growing demand for more products that were outside of caring for a beard or facial hair. We were already making soaps and lotions, which were attracting women and non-bearded men. The one detail that we needed to manage is the fact that Pogonotrophics literally means “beard – care”. How do we embrace all those other people who like all these other skin and body products? Easily, we change the name of the brand for all those items that are not for facial hair.

First order of business was to broaden our variety of fragrances to appeal to more people. Although our J&L Pognotrophics scents were not all stereotypically “masculine” scents, there plainly was not enough depth of options to appeal to those that like softer, floral or fruit scents.

Once we pulled together some familiar and some truly unique scents, it was time to grow the product offerings. Within the first year we added more clay masks, more lotions, all new bar soaps, and more. In our second year we added a more specialized line of daily facial products such as toner, face wash and a hyaluronic serum. All of these have done very well for us so far.

Q: Why do we need to focus on it J+L APOTHECARY if it is doing well?

A: With its diverse options in multiple categories of personal care and grooming, it has the potential to become bigger than our J&L POGONOTROPHICS line. Where Beard Care has a very specific demographic, everything we offer with J+L APOTHECARY is beneficial to our existing customers and can easily bring us new customers. Since its inception, J+L APOTHECARY has started to rival its bearded brother. Now we wish to push it ahead, and make sure everyone knows about all that it offers. Even if J+L APOTHECARY takes over and far exceeds J&L POGONOTROPHICS, we will not ignore our foundational line of products. We certainly will not drop it. In fact, there are some new things coming to keep it thriving. J&L POGONOTROPHICS will always be our most male focused line.

Learning more about our market and the behavior of shoppers, we have identified a hurdle that we feel is holding J+L APOTHECARY back to some degree. There seems to me a lack of awareness and understanding of the brand; and what differentiates it from the rest.

  1. Many women believe we are only making products for men, specifically bearded men. That was only true of us within the first 6 to 9 months. Early on we had products that women and the follicle-ly challenged enjoyed.
  2. Many of our male customers that are aware of J&L Apothecary, think it is our “women’s line”. That is very much not true. ALL of the dozens of products we make as J&L Apothecary are gender neutral – intended for use on every body regardless of gender or gender identity. The reason a product appeals to you should be two things; how it appeals to your senses and how well it will perform the job it is designed for. If you like the way it smells, feels and works then what else genuinely matters other than price?
  3. Men that are aware of J&L Apothecary and it being gender neutral, still are fearful of skin care. Either they don’t know where to begin or what products they may need. It is a huge myth that men, in general, do not have an interest in taking care of their skin. The issue is, the vast amount of information out there is not presented to men in places they would find it.

A little more about Reason #3:

Our industry, cosmetics and beauty products, has been innately geared towards women. With that comes marketing, sales and product features solely directed towards women as they are seen as the solitary user of most products or are the decision maker behind the purchasing for their family. Today, there are a full spectrum of personal, home and family dynamics that makes that approach outdated and even sexist.

If you don’t think they are talking to you, you are likely to tune them out. That is a key reason why men are lost in the forest when it comes to personal care products. Right now, when you look at advertisements for body wash, you will see that they are either aiming towards specifically either women, men or kids/family. Packaging, fragrances and the entire presentation targets on specifically one of those categories. For general products, we feel the marketing should have a much more broad approach; work towards speaking to everybody with a focus on the product’s benefits. The marketing directing towards men plays to tired tropes about it making your more masculine as well as more appealing to women. Another misguided tactic, is to make a solitary product to everything for a man; as if they don’t wish to be bothered with taking care of themselves.

In additional posts during this month, we wish to go into our approach with packaging and marketing. From there we will highlight our most popular products with a focus on their ingredients, uses and characteristics. All in an effort to bring more attention to this growing brand. During the entire month of March, we will also offer coupon discounts so you can save 20% on any of our J+L APOTHECARY products. We hope to you follow us to learn more about these great products for your skin and hair.

Subscription items are now available for discounts with Primp+Jol Memberships

Primp+Jol Members: your 10% Product Discount will now apply to Subscription Items. We wanted to make these more attractive to Club Members, and the best way to achieve that is to allow them to bundle on a little savings and get Free Shipping during the duration of the membership. Subscriptions offer you an easy way […]
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Changes to payment options

PayPal has long been a trusted gateway for many buyers and sellers since the earliest days of eCommerce. At that time, setting up a credit/debit card system for a website was costly and difficult to integrate with small business websites. It was seen as trustworthy, with numerous protections for those on both sides of a transaction.

In recent years, many options have become available that are as secure or more so, integrates seamlessly into modern websites and are competitive fee structures. Today we offer 2 channels for you to pay for your order: Stripe and PayPal. Stripe was founded to be a simple to use robust payment gateway for all sizes of eCommerce businesses. They use the latest in technology to protect your identity and credit; along with superior fraud protection that exceeds US and International guidelines.

We have used Stripe (follow link to get a snapshot of the company) since we launched our website. For us, on the back end, they are fast and reliable. We chose Stripe because of all the benefits mentioned above, as well as they were one of a very few payment gateways that would allow use of credit cards from outside the USA. This would permit us to accept orders from Europe and Canada just as easily as any within the US. With Stripe, we could even take BitCoin as a payment method if we choose.

PayPal has continued to grow and acquire other businesses to reach the level that Stripe holds. But, their policies and fee structure is no longer a benefit for us. In fact, their policies put us at risk of fraud through abuse of questionable loss claims. We are given no tangible protection when this happens. Along with other issue that affect our bottom line and efficiency of processing transactions, we feel that PayPal is a redundant payment option and does not offer the security for you that you deserve, as well as for us. It is also used in less than 10% of our transactions.

Effective March, 20, 2020 we will turn off the PayPal payment gateway.

We understand that many feel more secure using PayPal. By using Stripe you are getting even more protections from identity theft and fraudulent account activity. Once we remove PayPal, we hope to turn on Apple Pay and Google Pay as another way for you to enter your payment information with added security. Such payment methods only adds to the ways we can process your payment and does not require an additional payment gateway.

For those that prefer PayPal, do rest assured that we take your protection seriously. Those that work here never see any part of your credit card information, not even the last 4 digits. Stripe handles all that and in full accordance of US banking laws. Once they validate the legitimacy of your payment, we will receive your order with an attached approval code. All your credit protections that your bank offers are enforced.

6 Years of Epic

Today marks our 6th Anniversary and entering the game maker 7th year of doing business. This is another milestone for us as we continue to grow and evolve yet still hold tight to our guiding principles. Early on, we noted that we are not merely using the “think outside the box” cliche; but building an entirely new box that can expand and morph into any shape necessary. In every corner we are seeing dramatic changes to how we live, communicate and work; the landscape has changed and will continue to change. It is important to us take what we have learned to use as tools for existing today and prepare ourselves as best as we can for tomorrow.

Six years is not a long time at all when you sit to think about it. In the last 6 years we carved out a name for ourselves as we built our reputation. During these 6 years we saw a lot of similar brands making much of the same products come on big and disappear without a trace. It was important for us to not make a big splash when we entered the market; it could easily be why we are still here. Our mission now is to stand proud of what we have accomplished and spread the word more openly; to start making a splash.

Truly, we do know why we are still here. We are here because of you and your continued support. You have told us what you like and what you don’t like; with your dollars and with your voice. You also told us what you want to see from us and we listened. What you asked of us is behind most of the new products we have introduced. You are a huge driving force for us, and that is how it should be.

As we have said, we are not a lifestyle brand. We are all about making a product that is better than the average and sell it at a lower price. We want you to feel special every day, and that is what is behind our BE YOU : BE EPIC motto. While others push a mystique as a goal for you to achieve, we feel that you are amazing as you are and deserve to feel that every day. Like us, as a business, there is always room for improvement and growth, but that should never lessen who we are right now.

We expect to be around for more years to come with your engagement and support. You are like our family. Our goal is to bring even more people into our family. Along with that, we hope to continue to innovate and develop new and useful products as we grow.

Thank you very much,
John C Dodge
Founder & Proprietor

2020: Year in Preview

The first few months of any year is a time to regroup, refocus and energize to take on all the new challenges that a new year brings. Typically, these are the slowest months of the year in regards to sales and productivity; but not for planning and strategy building. We have a lot of aspirations for this year, as well as some solid goals that we must meet.

This year we are changing a few things in regards to how we promote ourselves. Our newsletters will become monthly and will operate like a newsletter. Much of what each email will contain will be pulled from our blog as well as unique information to be shared first in the newsletter. There will then by a few special emails that will strongly feature products and services. These will be tied to busier times of the year.

We also plan to become more aggressive with our social media presence. This has been something we have been inconsistent with since the beginning. Although J&L is often referenced as a “we”, in reality it is only one person juggling the majority of activities. After production, administrative and operational tasks, there is little time made available for social media posts. Now that I have refined some processes there will be more time for mapping our on-line presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even here on our blog.

Changes to our Festival Participation

Many of our most loyal customer came to us from meeting us at area Festivals and Pop-Ups over the years. It had been or focus to use such events as a means to not only make money, but to be a marketing tool. Having a physical presence where you can meet people face to face helps build a reputation and trust. With the changes in how city street festivals are managed and promoted, we are see a decline in sales from these events in direct correlation to the attendance numbers. This specifically boils down to “bang for the buck”. If we don’t make enough money being there, we are not going to come back.

Although these festivals are well attended overall, most of the attraction is around food, drink and entertainment. Merchants are not valued by the promoters and organizers in conjunction with fewer attendees coming to shop the merchants and see the artists. For these reasons, we are not doing anywhere as many festivals as we have in the past. In fact, we will only plan to take part in Andersonville Midsommarfest, Jarvis Square Music & Arts Fest and possibly Andersonville Arts Week.

Along with our new position on festival appearances, we will no longer take part in farmer’s markets, small bazaars and socials. Most of these are too tiny to drive traffic, are too narrow in appeal while providing less space for presentation. Another issue with such events are the hours of operation are very brief, sometimes as little as 4 hours on one day.

Factory Store Concept

The drawbacks we experienced this year greatly affected our plans for 2019. Our hopes were to have a dedicated space to not only sell our products, but to make them. It was important that we performed well enough in the scheduled events to have the funds to make this happen. This was a major setback for us, but not a defeat. We are going back to our whiteboard and rethink this plan for this year.

Place the Spotlight on Online Sales

For 2020 we will put more energy behind those areas where we are experiencing significant growth. Our online sales grew tremendously in 2019. This was done with zero advertising! This year we plan to bring back an advertising budget and place a more concentrated effort into our messages – micro and macro. From images to written content, we will strive to build a cohesive message that captures our values and our mission while genuinely representing our brands.

A New Business Plan to Guide Us

During these quieter months, we will be drafting a new business plan. Our initial business plan drove us to where we are today, but it is no longer relevant to where we need to go next. We have a strong proof of concept and a solid history to pull from in creating our driving vision for the coming years.

An essential focus will be financial stability and a restructure of any debt. As we have been a genuine bootstrap business, relying on personal funds and credit to build J&L, we have incurred a realistically small debt that carries higher interest rates than other forms of credit. By moving that debt to a new loan with a much lower interest rate, we will free up cash for all the things we wish to do this year. Our current debt is all in revolving credit, a micro loan will allow smaller payments with a solid pay off timeline, a much smarter way to handle it.

We are also opening ourselves up to the idea of a partnership or single investor situation. Bringing in a fresh voice that can also help drive this bus would be very beneficial if the terms are right. It will be imperative that anyone that wishes to become part of our family must like us as we are yet can further our growth and fine tune what we have already. Our customers pretty much like us as we are, we do not wish to alienate them as they have been a driving force for us all along.

At this point in our journey we are not in a critical or dire situation. Our needs at this point are purely to make a substantial jump in our growth. We feel this is a wise move to make at this moment and it can open us up for more rapid growth. We are not looking to dominate, we are merely seeking a higher level of stability. There are a lot of plans we have around new products and improvements for current products that we wish to bring to the marketplace. Once we have achieved those goals, we can then focus solely on improving other areas of our operations as we maintain our catalog of goods. Although, we know that our offerings must be flexible to satisfy changes in tastes and trends.

Products and Product Changes on the Horizon

We have mentioned some of these before with a few of them having been planned for 2019.

First off is Natural Deodorant. This has been heavily requested and something that makes sense for us to get into. We don’t plan to go big, just a couple sensible options.

We had talked about Toothpaste in the past. While it is still being worked on, it is not a huge priority for us.

Liquid Shampoos and Conditioners will return this spring. Production has already started and we have items ready to sell, but we are waiting for “creative” department to do some photos so we can get them out there for sale. We have dropped the plan for solid conditioner as it is not mass production friendly. There will be changes to our Shampoo Bar line with the dropping AMP, reformulating QUENCH as well as SHOCK. We are also considering doing a combo bar or FIXER/BALANCE to address itchy/oily scalp.

Sustainability has always been important to us, but due to our size it has been a very expensive component. This year is where we plan to move away from as much plastic as possible, or at least minimize the amount. This is leading to our revamped concept with liquid soaps. This spring we are going to start using a pouch format for liquid soaps that can re-fill any style of liquid soap dispenser or bottle. This will allow us to keep the price lower as well as reduce the total weight of plastic we are currently using.

Solid Cologne/Fragrance has been immensely popular for us. We are planning to put more energy behind this line with new unique fragrances and new “air tight” packaging. Formulas will see a boost in fragrance strength as feedback has been that they are a tad light.

We will be bringing back Salt Scrubs. This was a line that was badly affected by doing festivals as the heat was causing the sugar to melt. We are removing sugar, and going back to just salt. Scrubs will remain a small-run product that will see very tight inventory levels. Essentially, they will be made to order.

We do have plans to introduce new scents as we are retiring a couple. Tarocco and Citrus Grove have ceased production. Remaining inventory is currently clearance priced. Absinthe & Leather are moving to Expanded Assortment – only available as scented to order. Lakeside and Seaside will be expanded into Beard Care and in more Apothecary items. They were well received as Solid Colognes last year. Also popular as a cologne, Aruba will be introduced as our official new scent of 2020. Expect to see this in all Beard Oil formulas, Original Beard Butter, Shower Wash and Bar Soap.

Expect Expanded Assortment to come to Shower Wash and Body Mist. With other planned changes in production, we intend to make it easier to scent a product on demand wherever possible. A system we are developing will make it possible to maintain an inventory of unscented items with a scent blend “dose” that we can mix-in just before shipping. This is part of our desire to offer more options while keeping prices lower.

In Closing

We are about to reach the end of our 6th year. Through these years we have seen quite a few similar businesses come and go. We cannot express how thankful we are that we are still here and are in a position to consider further growth. What was meant to be a tiny little hobby for myself as grown into a very unique brand that is changing how we all look at personal care. We stand firm that there is absolutely NO REASON to pay so much for premium quality natural products. It boggles my mind to see a shampoo that costs $50 (11 fl oz) and is no better in performance than anything we have every made. Yet there are still beard oils out there that charge $40/ounce for glycerin with aloe and a few drops of specialty oils. This past year I was reminded why what I do matters to so many people. I hope this year, that with your support, we are able to reach our modest goals. You got us here, and we hope to remain a force in the personal care industry. When we have big name brands “borrow” from us, and are even beating us with their forgeries, we will keep making our mark!

A heartfelt thank you to all of you,
John C Dodge
Founder, J&L Pogonotrophics LLC

Reflection and a Peek Into 2020

2019 was another good year for us when looking at the big picture. Although we had some great wins, there were certainly some opportunities this year.

Any business’s 5th year is a mixed bag full of growing pains. It has been no different for us. We were presented with some challenges that we may not have handled at our best as well as amazing wins. Through the year we added a lot of new features and benefits to our online store, and have changed how we handle our Festival and limited Pop-Ups.

This year we introduced gift credit [cards], product subscriptions, order specific automatic reward emails and a shopping membership club. Little by little we have been updating our product information within our website to provide more information in a less cluttered manner. All of these things will continue through 2020, but there may be further improvement tweaks to how the operate. We know not all things are for all people, but it is awesome to have options. And, every option we offer allows the shopper to have the experience that suits them best.

Our biggest challenge this year came from our Festival participation. As much as these can be a huge business driver for us, they can also be very problematic. Too many factors can create a negative experience for us as well as those shopping with us. This year we had to deal with unruly crowds that blocked access to our booth, poor assigned booth locations that made interactions with shoppers near impossible, and poor weather that kept people away from the festival entirely. As these outings are very traffic driven, fewer people in attendance means fewer sales. With the comparatively lower average price per item, we have to work harder than many vendors to break even at these festivals. Anything that negatively affects our ability to engage with those attending can means a loss for us. To be fully transparent, we only had 2 successful outings this year.

Despite the troubles with events, our on-line business saw substantial growth. This is ultimately where we need to be until we have a brick & mortar location. While the events do a great job an introducing us and providing a means to interact with us and our products, they do not provide consistency. Seeing our online business grow allows us to plan and understand trends more accurately. This is how we can gauge customer loyalty and truly see what sells and does not sell.

Looking Forward

For 2020 we are revamping our involvement with outdoor festivals. We will only participate in those that genuinely support their vendors. We plan to take part in a couple maker-seller events instead of “street festivals”. Such events focus on vendors like us, and are not about selling beer and providing top-notch entertainment. Through other vendors, we have been encouraged to take part in such events.

2020 will be a year of change for us. It is true that we have been a constantly evolving organization, but this year we intend to fully revamp our J&L APOTHECARY branding as well as overhaul many products to make them more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This has been important for us from the start, but when you are a tiny business it is financially difficult to procure GREEN packaging. As me move through existing packaging we will transition to more metal, more glass and more easily recycled plastics. We also plan to take steps to reduce shipping costs as well as end user plastics by offering a “re-fill” concept for liquid products. This will allow us to sell you a larger capacity product that you can easily store in your home and fill any bottle of your choice, or buy a more decorative bottle from us.

Over the last few months we have moved to a wax paper packaging for bar soaps. The wax is an organic material that protect the product from moisture and along with the paper, it is biodegradable as well. Unfortunately, we cannot move entirely away from plastic, as the trade offs lead to heavier products that are more expensive to ship and are may break in transit or in your home. The majority of our products are intended for use in bathrooms where water and glass can be a major hazard.

This new year will also kick off our plans to restructure our debt to free up cash flow. The measures we plan to take will allow us to advertise more which will gain us new customers as well as permit us to improve many aspects of our business – from supply chain to administrative.

We are also willing to explore other means of increasing our capital. This can be done through various investment opportunities or bringing on board an equity partner. These are options we are still sorting out and will consider if presented to us.

Expect to see a lot of new fragrances coming over the year. We plan to expand the use of 3 scents we tested this summer and we have a few more in development. We intend to make it easier to offer more options in fragrance through a “scent to order” system that can be implemented for online as well as in person sales. Many of our oils and liquid soaps can quickly scented on the fly as needed. This will allow us to reduce waste while offering more options. This system will roll out over the year as well sell through existing inventory and transition to the “re-fill” system.

Our mission for 2020 and beyond is to:

  • Continually improve our products, packaging and other offerings to be an even better option
  • To improve the shopping experiences online and in person
  • Free up cash flow to streamline our operations and support continued growth
  • Introduce new and improved products that further reflect our core values
  • Maintain our premium quality while still offering a more affordable price
  • Further violate expectations of our industry – to be even more visionary and breaking barriers

Thank you!

Since our launch we have seen real competitors come and go. They flash big with a lot of fanfare and advertising to then fade into oblivion. Many of them relied upon gimmicks or lacked originality when it came to their products or their image. We are still here! Despite some challenges we are stable and we are growing every day.

We are very humbled by our success up to this point. What was meant to be just a little “side gig” has become a full-time business. Although we are tiny and have taken our time to grow, we feel we are poised to break through this year. The last 5 years was like a BETA test in some ways. We offered a functional product and relied upon your feedback to make it better. We feel that this coming year we are finally able to come out of beta, and release a robust and complete experience for everyone. To those who tried us early on and was not impressed, check us out now! We are only going to get even better!

Thanksgiving and Holiday Plans

We feel it is important to communicate as much of our holiday plans as we can to help you plan your shopping or know what to expect. Please monitor this post for any new information or changes to current offerings.

SALES & PROMOTIONS

Our current Beard Care and Lotion promotion will end on November 23rd. This will be the absolute lowest price on our Beard Oils you will see for months to come!

On Wednesday November 27th, we will begin our THANKSGIVING WEEKEND promotions. There will be select items on sale from across all our entire catalog. It will also be the beginning of our FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $25. Due to the expense involved, there will be an order premium placed upon SHOWER WASH and PET SHAMPOO due to the higher weight of the items. This premium is a $1.00 price increase on each unit.

PRIMP & JOL CLUB: we will introduce a 3 month TRIAL membership to allow folks to see the benefits of this savings plan. This special limited membership will have all the same savings built in, but you will get a smaller welcome gift. This will launch in December and will be available until January 4th.

SHIPPING

We will continue to ship all domestic (USA) orders via USPS. This offers more of a value, and more package security, than any other means available to us. Expedited Shipping will not be an option.

These are important deadlines for Christmas Shipping

  • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2019 – last day for shipping to ensure arrival before Christmas. Orders must be received by 10:00am CST
  • MONDAY, DECEMBER 23 – the last day we will ship any orders until DECEMBER 27

HOURS OF BUSINESS

Are order processing will be done Monday through Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturday 9am to 11am. Daily cutoff for orders to be shipped that day is 10:00am Monday through Saturday. No orders will be processed after 11am Saturday or all day Sunday. Customer Service will monitor email and Facebook messenger Monday through Thursday 8am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 8am to 5pm. On days we are closed, there will be no activity in our offices. These dates and times are effective November 25, 2019 to December 19, 2019.

  • WEDNESDAY NOV. 27 – close at 2pm
  • THANKSGIVING DAY – closed
  • CHRISTMAS EVE – closed
  • CHRISTMAS DAY – closed
  • BOXING DAY – closed
  • NEW YEARS EVE – closed
  • NEW YEARS DAY – closed

SERVICES

We are offering GIFT WRAPPING as a service this year. We will have 1 color option of a solid red wrapping. Wrapping will include wrap, gift tag (with a brief note). An individual item is only 50 cents, 35 cents each for multiple items when wrapped together. You can either select to have each item wrapped separately, all together in one box or a mix of both. Ensure you select the correct options when selecting each item.

Examples of our gift wrapping style along with our hugely popular Junk Oil
Gift Wrap Style

Gift orders: If you wish to have an item sent as a gift to another address, please ensure accuracy of the SHIP TO address. Please note in the ORDER COMMENTS box any extra details, like NO PACKING SLIP or delivery instructions for carrier.

If you wish to have multiple orders go to more than one location, please contact us so we can assist this process. We can offer the best possible means to accommodate your wishes and do so with a single payment transaction. If you do place the orders through our website, please do a separate order for each SHIP TO address. We will not be able split orders for shipping.

Gift Credit (Gift Cards) We have varying denominations or create your own value for Gift Credit. Gift Credit works by assigning a credit value to an account that the recipient can use anyway they wish. Don’t worry if the person you are gifting to does not have an account. All you need to do is provide a valid email address for the recipient and they will receive instructions on how to access their gift. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us.

RETAIL – POP-UPS

We do not have a POP-UP store this holiday season. If this changes anytime soon, we will certainly share the news. The situation that permitted us to have such a shop last year is not available to us.

There will be a one day appearance in JARVIS SQUARE neighborhood on DECEMBER 7th. Details will be on FACEBOOK for time and exact location (when available). We will only have a limited amount of space, so we will focus on our most popular items for this appearance.

We will work with our current resellers in Chicago to make sure they are well stocked on the items they offer. Currently we do not have a retailer that carries J&L Apothecary products. We are open to the idea of having retailers have us visit for a day or two to operate as a “trunk show”. Please contact us if you have any questions.


Some fine print: Due to product availability we may be forced to change promotions and sale items. It is important to us to not disappoint you by not being able to ship a product we presented as being available. We also reserve the right to change terms listed here based upon typos and errors – although we try to proofread this as much as possible. We do not offer rainchecks If there is an item you really wish to purchase and it shows as being unavailable, contact us and we may be able to provide an alternative or be able to honor the price and ship later if we are able to produce a unit within 48 hours.

Retiring Products and Scents for 2019

We have a policy to rotate out some of our fragrances from time to time. This allows us to introduce new scents to meet trends and evolving tastes. Every year we will work to introduce a few scents in a couple select products to check engagement and popularity. If well received they may get brought to our most popular products in a larger scale. Retired scents will still be available as a custom option in products that permit such an option to be maintained – essentially liquid soaps, beard care.

Production of the following fragrances has ended. Once existing stock is sold, we will not be producing complete units. There is a chance that they may return if there is demand or as a seasonal option.

TAROCCO – bitter citrus (J&L Pognotrophics)
CITRUS GROVE – herbal citrus blend (J&L Apothecary)
LONDON – rose peony (J&L Apothecary, Solid Cologne will continue)

LEXINGTON – removed from J&L Pogonotrophics’ Shaving Products only, Beard Care line will continue.

Retiring and Changing Products

Liquid Shampoo & Conditioner: New formulas are being introduced very soon. And remaining old stock is being discounted to make room. These formulas will match our most beneficial formulas of our BAR SHAMPOO line.

BAR SOAPS: The CRYSTAL & ORGANIC OILS Bar Soaps will come to an end. Some will be migrated to a new opaque soap base made from high-glycerin HEMP SEED OIL [This is the same base used for our ACTIVATED CHARCOAL SOAP]; other scents will be migrated the SHEA BUTTER formula. Once all existing stock is sold, expect to see the new bars.

240ml SHOWER WASH has been discontinued. We may introduce the scents that were targeted towards kids and those who appreciated the whimsical fragrances at shower time in our 360ml size.

All SHOWER WASH 360ml units will be replaced with 500ml “pouches” in 2020. Once we exhaust all our current packaging we will transition to a more sustainable packaging concept. The pouches will be such that they can be used to refill existing bottles you may have, use of an in shower soap dispenser or we will present a few options in bottles to use anywhere in your home. There is no plan to change the formula, although we may change the name to promote use of this great liquid soap as a hand soap and bubble bath.

J&L Apothecary branded shaving products. The formulas have been identical to our J&L Pogonotrophics line and we feel that those women who wish to use our shaving products will not be put-off by the alternate branding; especially when it will offer them more choice.

J&L Pogonotrophics branded Solid Cologne changing to J&L Apothecary branding. No formula changes, new scents coming!

J&L Pogonotrophics’ Shaving Soap in a Jar is being deleted. We have had an issue with jar quality that was creating too many defective units. Our plan is to reintroduce this product in 2020.

J&L APOTHECARY will receive a new look. It was overdue for a facelift, so we are making 2020 the year to do it. There is also work being done to change the name of the brand to avoid legal issues in some states. The name change is not definite as we will look into every point that such a change will impact. We will move forward with our new packaging with the existing brand name of J&L Apothecary. If, and when, we do change the name we will simply replace it on all existing packaging and marketing materials. We do not see any bulk change to formulas or product as a result of this change.

CLAY MASK MAKER: We are looking to revitalize our Clay Mask components with better communication on how it works, why it is a better option for a clay mask and what an amazing value it is. When speaking directly to a shopper it has been well received and rather popular. Online, the message does not seem to translate well enough.

A goal that is impacting much of our planned changes:

Becoming more sustainable is important to us. As we have focused so much on natural ingredients, we have not focused much on the sustainability of our products, packaging and all the components that go into making them. The idea is to change production methods to support less waste and a fresher product without sacrificing quality or options. Our plan for SHOWER WASH, as mentioned above, is the first step in this process.

We would love to use less plastic but for many of our items are used in areas of the home that are not ideal for glass containers. Where we can, we will transition to metal, glass or paper packaging. Where we do use plastic, we wish to use less of it or ensure it and is a more easily recycled plastic.

This is a goal that we feel we have been behind in instituting. Being a tiny business makes being sustainable very expensive. It has been more important for us to keep costs down until we are in a position to be smarter about what we use and how we use it. The time is right for us to make this transition and we trust you embrace the changes we plan to make.