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.

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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.

Change is Inevitable, and Necessary

Over the last few years we have gone through a lot of changes, as people and as a company. When we started this little endeavor it was intended to be a hobby to make a couple extra bucks. Due to life changes and our products being well received, we have changed into a small, boutique, brand of products that are much loved by many; but not widely known. With ongoing changes we hope to expand our exposure to more people.

We started it all with 3 beard oil formulas in 3 scents; eventually getting up to 6 formulas. Today we have settled back to 3 and offer 16+ scents. Our packaging and labels have evolved with us as we sought a clearer way to present our products. Expanding well beyond beard oils and into total bath & body products for everyone, including the family pet.

When we launched J&L Apothecary, it was to meet a request of a reseller that wished to have products, made by us, that would appeal more to female customers. They dropped the ball on this venture and with a bunch of produced products we created, not only a new line of products, but a new brand. J&L Apothecary was not the ideal name for this brand but was what first popped into our heads when we made up our test products. Unable to come up with something better, we stuck with it.

Since that time, we have also learned that in some states use of the word Apothecary is reserved strictly for licensed pharmacists use. In our home state of Illinois, this only applies to a retail businesses. To avoid confusion and potential legal issues we have decided to rename this product line and brand.

New Name for J&L Apothecary?

J&L Apothecary is just over 2 years old now, making it early enough in its history to make a name change without a negative impact. When we find this new name, we will ensure there is solid communication to everyone that the only thing changing is the name and that everything else will be as before.

As we sell through existing inventory of J&L Apothecary Brand products we will work on finding a new name that suits the brand and our mission. Labels and packaging will also change with the new branding.

Big change for SHOWER WASH

We are migrating to a more environmentally friendly package concept. Our goal is to offer a 16 or 24 ounce (500ml – 750ml) pouch to fill and re-fill bottles. We will also offer a small variety of bottles that you can re-use over and over. The pouches will still be easily recycled while using less plastic.

Once this new package concept rolls out, we will introduce the same for liquid shampoos, conditioner, pet shampoo and other liquid soaps. The bottles we will offer will for from a basic PET plastic bottle to more decorative glass, metal and plastic options and offer different sizes. We would love to use only glass bottles for our products but the costs to ship and the risk of breakage during shipping as well as in your shower is far too costly, and not a risk we wish to take.

Our Values and Mission will not change.

J&L will continue to grow in an endless drive to be better. It is not acceptable for us to merely make a few nice products and then rest. If we did that, we would never last. We challenge ourselves daily and we have put a challenge to the industry of which we are a part. The Cosmetic/Personal Care industry needs to change. The sexist advertising, fear mongering towards consumers to drive sales, and ignoring the wishes of the customer is not sustainable anymore. This is at the core of what J&L was built around.

With these necessary changes coming to J&L Apothecary, it will remain a Gender Neutral personal care product line that focuses on product performance over unnecessary gender and customer profiling. J&L Pogonotrophics will still cater mainly to those with facial hair and the most masculine attributes of a person, but are still a viable option for any person with a need to condition or remove hair.

Look forward to seeing a contest to help us rename J&L Apothecary later this Fall!

More About Fragrance

We get it, we offer a lot of different scents. It may even be overwhelming to find the right fragrance for you, or for the person you are shopping for. In the personal care/cosmetic industry (sadly, this is an industry) fragrance is an important component of the products. These are things you are putting on your body, and they must not clash with whatever else you may be wearing as well as not be off-putting to your own senses. Even if the product is not scented, it’s natural fragrance still matters.

flower and spice

Why do we offer so many choices?

Simply because we wish to cover as much of the scent spectrum as possible. To offer sweet to musky; light to bold; fresh to earthy. It is easy for us to offer so many choices as each scent blend we have is added last and can be easily dosed for each item. Everything we make is in very small batches; with most only having a dozen units or less per batch. Our approach to our manufacturing can easily be scaled up as we grow which will allow us to continue to offer more options than most other brands.

Does this method add to the price of our products?

No. I am sure you will find many analyst tell you it does. That is the downside of thinking very narrowly at how things have always been done. As we say, “We not only think outside the box, we don’t put ourselves in a box to begin with.” Our production methods are such that it is more similar to the automotive industry in regards to color. Some cars still come in 6, 8, 12 different colors direct from the factory. Paint is applied in a wholly separate process and can even be randomized. Our scents are added as the last component before bottling/packaging. For many items, they can be added and with a few shakes be fully scented and ready for use. For example, we can produce a larger batch of Beard Oil of 36 units and have them bottled and ready – then we separate into groups of how many we wish to make of each fragrance option. The scent is added, we plug and cap the bottle and give it a good shake. Next step is simply applying a label.

Unscented does not equate being scent free.

Not everything we make is “scented”, but everything has a scent. When the terms “unscented” or “natural” is used it means we did not add anything to the product for the purpose of scent or fragrance. That any scent it has is sourced from the core ingredients. For example, our Bar Shampoo is available in 6 formulas. Of those 6, only 1 is scented. The remaining 5 formulas each carry a scent from the essential oils used for their properties in how they work with your skin and hair to achieve the desired results. Yes, they do have a scent but they are not scented.

Scents will come and go…

We plan to have anywhere from 6 to 10 in stock and ready to ship/sell scented items available at all times. We may rotate out scents options every year or every other year to allow us to bring new scents and retire less popular scents. In some instances, we are able to scent items to order for those less popular options so those that have a strong affinity for them will be able to buy them as long as we have means to make it. We hope to get to the point where we can offer scents on a seasonal basis, where one can stock up when it is available if they wish to have it year round. Or, enjoy them to stimulate the senses to match the season.

It is at our core to offer real choice in every manner possible. Choice in formulas, choice in scents and even choice in size. By having real choice you can find more that suits you and your needs best.