Change is Afoot

During our downtime the last few months we have been take a deep look at so much of our business. Despite the reasons why we had this time, it is very appreciative to have such time. Often we get bogged down with managing the day to day and preparing for the coming days that we don’t get a chance for true analysis of everything we do. In some situations, we were placed into a position where we were forced to think of a new way to do things. Whether it is a little as changing a package to having to rethink formulations for popular products.

When you look at any businesses’ back story you will often find that very challenging circumstances lead to great opportunity and future success. We would like to think that we are in a challenging time for our business and we wish to take the opportunity to fine tune ourselves in the hopes it leads to future success. We are taking a moment here to introduce some of our plans for change. Some of these we may have touched on previously, the rest may even seem surprising.

Packaging Changes

Seemingly everyone decided to start making hand sanitizer. Because of this, the most common sizes of bottles we use are simply not available. Even looking into other shapes and colors have come up empty. And, it’s not just bottles but caps as well. The interest to move into a more Eco-friendly packaging model has been on the whiteboard for some time now. Our solution is to package as many liquid products into pouches is in the works. These pouches can serve as the primary storing and dispensing method in your home, or they can serve as a refill to use in any bottle of your choice.

Some products may not suit this method well, and in those instances we are looking into new sizes. We already started migrating our 120ml Beard Shampoo and Beard Conditioner to 180ml bottles. Hand and body lotions will follow suit as we move through existing inventory.

To ensure consistency of our presentation, we are discounting some product options to help move the older packaging out. Once this process is complete, expect new photos of the new packaging.

New Product Formulations

Some may already be aware, to others this may be a new detail about our business and our products that you may not be aware. We have relied upon pre-manufactured bases. Early on, this was a means for us to offer products that are not easily made from scratch. Sourcing premium quality organic bases from a very reputable and internationally know maker of personal care assured us that we would be providing our shoppers a product that would perform extremely well. This also kept production costs down and permitted flexibility. These bases have be used to make all liquid soaps, foaming soaps, lotions and hair conditioners.

Our first foray into a house made version is our Beard Conditioner. With this formula, we were able to craft a very specialized conditioner that meets the needs of beard hair. It also allowed us to add in beneficial nutrients into the product at the optimum point in the making process. This experience has lead us to expanding into making our lotions and hair conditioner in house. We can still ensure premium quality and maintain flexibility, as well as offer a more dynamic formulation. We will be starting this transition with our REVITALIZING LOTION with Kelp. Soon afterwards, expect to see all our lotions made from scratch!

Bar Soaps will also experience a change. When we introduced the three formulations we currently have it was a means to find out what shoppers liked best. Every reaction was noted, along with every suggestion. The plan is to move through existing CRYSTAL and ORGANIC bar soaps and move some of those fragrances to our SHEA + OATMEAL soap. Other scents will migrate to a new glycerin soap recipe that includes better skin nourishing ingredients. We hope to introduce these changes this fall.

An Entirely New Look for J&L Pogonotrophics on the Horizon

From the day one, our Beard Care line of products has incrementally evolved into its current look. Little tweaks here and there have led us to our current label style that we use across the entire line. Realistically they really haven’t changed a great deal. Well, that is about to change. As we work into getting our products on the shelves at retailers, we feel a more refined approach would be beneficial to our namesake line of distinctive beard care products.

The initial impetus: Roughly a year ago we changed our design software for our labels. To put it simply, this new software didn’t like our current label layouts. Although we use standard file formats, they did not all translate well when opened in the new software. This has led to us rebuilding the labels as best as could while retaining the current look. Some may have noticed the colors were not exactly the same, but a bit darker. Taking some feedback and looking at the current landscape of package design, we feel it is the right time to go in an all new direction.

Select branding nuances will be retained. The color scheme for our different formulas will remain, along with our familiar fonts. Gone is the bold presence of our company logo which allows the individual products and their properties to be the focus. We even a borrowed a little from the new Apothecary labels.

These labels are still being evaluated and tested, yet the core of the direction we are headed is evident. Due to packaging needs, there will be the same style variations as you see currently. Smaller packaging will necessitate key elements be of a larger scale. Details we will strive to keep consistent is the “branding block” on the front and the placement of product information; with ingredients on the left, description and suggested application on the right. In our testing we are finding that this design style is much easier to scale to all products which leads to a much more consistent look. Tiny nuanced details will be refined before these are finalized and our rolled out to with new production runs. We feel that giving the product details center stage allows it to speak for itself.

New Product Development Shelved

We have a few items on the shelf, awaiting for the right time to launch. With the current environment it may not be wise to take on the risks associated with introducing all new products. Such items as deodorant, spray cologne, new body oil, body mist reformulation all for J&L Apothecary; and a utility soap bar for J&L Pogonotrophics are still being considered and internally developed. We are also looking into migrating our liquid soaps to an in house formulation. If we see the necessity of enough interest in these or other items, we will re-evaluate our position.

We Believe Change is Good

We never want to become stagnate. The surefire way to prevent stagnation is to be open to change. Change is scary to many, to make it easier for them we will call it progressive development. Some feel change is necessary for the sake of change – that is not us. You will not see us sweep aside so much of who we are and what we stand for just to show that we are now different. At the root, we are about simplicity when it comes to personal care. That root forms two trunks – a beard care brand that is rather masculine by nature; and our bath & body brand that caters to every body. This will not change! Products, formulations, fragrances, packaging and logos will change. Some may change more frequently than others.

You are our inspiration for change. By telling us what you like and what you don’t like gives us the information we need to either improve what we are already doing as well as to try new things. And by “you” we mean everybody. Not just those who shop with us as we listen to what others are saying in social media and other forums about personal care and grooming. Doing exactly that is what led to our two biggest inspirations – ORIGINAL BEARD BUTTER and JUNK OIL.

Be on the look out for all that we have presented here. Along with our J&L APOTHECARY rebranding, this year will be a big dose of change that will invigorate and hopefully inspire.

Transitioning to Flexible Packaging

The state of the supply chain because of the current pandemic has pushed us into more aggressively seeking a new means to package and sell our liquid soaps. We plan to transition all liquid soaps to a more eco-friendly flat bottom pouch for SHOWER WASH, BEARD SHAMPOO, LIQUID SHAMPOOS and CONDITIONERS.

We started exploring “flexible packaging” last summer to help reduce the environmental impact of the plastics we use. Our thinking was that a soft sided pouch filled with SHOWER WASH would serve as a refill to any bottle you may already have. J&L would still offer an empty bottle and pump for a low price and possibly add some style options as well. This would operate like many other “refill” scenarios out there for household and personal care products.

Now that bottles are in short supply and it can be months before we can acquire more, it is sensible to explore this concept more aggressively today. The process to purchase these pouches is already in motion and could be available to us much sooner than bottles.

There are some great benefits for you and the environment with this change. First, they weigh less and use a lot less plastic. This makes them cheaper to ship; to us from the manufacturer and to you when purchased. Both of these expenses are factored into our product price. Our current bottles can easily be 1/3 to 1/2 the manufacturing costs of everything we make. Where with some bottles it is hard to get all the product out, leaving up to 14% of the product going to waste, depending upon the contents, a pouch makes it easy to squeeze out nearly every drop. Pouches take less energy to produce and dramatically lower the carbon footprint of packaging. By using them as a refill for an existing bottle, less plastic is heading to a landfill. These pouches are also PET, which means they can be recycled. As much as we would love to find a much more green solution to our packaging, this puts us a lot closer to our goal.

Here is the biggest plus to you: where we save money gives us a means to lower their price. Currently our SHOWER WASH comes in a 360ml/12.2 oz bottle and we sell it for $15.00 in our store. A pouch variant could be 400ml/13.5 oz and we could potentially sell it for $13.50 – giving you over an ounce more while you pay less. Our BEARD SHAMPOO could even be a bigger savings. This is all tentative based upon our early negotiations with suppliers.

This plan is in an early stage at this time, but we hope to go into summer making this a reality. If this works out as well as we anticipate, we will work to find similar packaging for lotions and creams along with any other dispensable liquid or cream product we make. The flexibility in this packaging is nearly limitless.

We think you will like all the options this will bring, letting you refill any bottle you have or you could even use it straight from the pouch if you wish to be frugal. Once bottles are more available, we will look into providing a few options to assist in matching your style. Keep following us on Facebook to stay in the loop on this as it develops.

Advanced Skin Care is here!

We listened to what you were saying. Over the past few months we have worked on developing formulas for very specific skin care products that truly bring depth to our catalog of products. Current trends are pointing to simple and natural means to bring spa quality products to the home that are affordable. This speaks to us loud and clear. We are always trying to find ways to make higher grade, premium or even luxury level goods to more people. Simplicity and being natural is our style as well!

In mid June we introduced the first 6 products of this new branch of our skin care line. Designed to work together to be a complete face and skin care cleansing regimen. We look for this line to expand over the next year.

  • SERUM H.A. – 2% Hyaluronic Acid serum that penetrates and restores. A tiny bit of this alpha-hydroxy goes a long way to work with your skin to deeply moisturize and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • TONER – a simple oil-free toner to remove dirt and oil that soap leaves behind. Water based formula that is very light on the alcohol. Contains Witch Hazel, Cucumber Extract, Green Tea Extract (still to come)
  • TONER with 2% Salicylic Acid – the same as our basic toner but with added acne fighting power.
  • FACE MIST – a great way to refresh the skin and prepare it for your care regimen. Ideal for those who have dry skin to prevent a dry feel from other products.
  • CHARCOAL FACE WASH – a specialized version of our FOAMING FACE WASH where we added the cleansing trio of Activated Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil & Lemongrass Oil. Each works to ensure as much dirt, oil and residue is removed before you go forward with your daily face regimen.
  • FACE WASH – a liquid face wash built upon our organic liquid soap base. It’s light, lathers very well and rinses away super clean.
  • FACE WASH with 2% Salicylic Acid. Our new face wash with acne fighting power of beta-hydroxy Salicylic Acid.

All of these products are free of added fragrances. The formulas are kept to the fewest ingredients possible and are designed to be a total daily facial regimen.

We are very excited to introduce these new items to our Skin Care line. With our Clay Mask System, Lotions and Scrubs we offer a very comprehensive collection of total skin care all priced attractively while offering equal or better quality than most known luxury brands. Produce in small batches to ensure you get a fresher product.