Head Office Communique – September 12, 2020

We are gearing up for colder weather and the Holiday Season, despite it only being the start of September. There are a few things to expect and a couple things to not expect from us this season.

WINTER & HOLIDAY PLANS

Our gift wrapping will return, and we hope to start that off in early November. Also expect some great sales with a weekly focus as we get closer to Thanksgiving. Much of what we do will depend on the current climate at the time we start making announcements. The state of affairs right now are a bit volatile and we must be mindful of the impact to everyone.

We have not decided upon a “Holiday” scent for this year. For Fall we suggest our HAVANA scent, which is coming to our new SHOWER GEL. Its notes of vanilla and brown sugar along with the earthy tones is a perfect Autumnal fragrance. Our plan in 2021 is to start having “Seasonal Scents” that will reflect the nature of a season and permits us to offer more options spread throughout the year. Producing them for only their peak season and then letting them sell out before the next season.

CONCEPT: ORDER PICK-UP by APPOINTMENT (LOCALS ONLY)

In the past we had an arrangement with a small boutique in our neighborhood that carried our products and was willing to accommodate the added traffic of our local online customers picking up their orders within their store. As time moved on, they became more focused on other categories of their business and were unable to accommodate our products, and our customers.

This was a setback for us as we had a lot of local customers that loved the ease and the savings of picking up orders over having them shipped. We have been working diligently to attempt to return this service option. We prefer to have a reliable store that maintains regular business hours that would allow more flexibility, but by picking up at our home office may have to suffice until then. As this is our actual “home” we must be mindful of the impact to our privacy as well as our neighbors. If we offer pick-ups there has to be a strict policy of when and how, with timed appointments that would be limited to certain days of the week and hours of the day. Any Pick-Ups will be literally a “CURBSIDE PICK UP” – you park on the corner, we run it out to you. We know this is not typical, but it is the best we can attempt for now.

Here is how a pick-up order process could function:

  • Your place and pay for your order online, customer receives confirmation receipt – this only indicates the order was paid for and sent to us to fulfill, not that it is ready for pick up.
  • We pick and prepare the order the next business day (Monday through Friday). Note, custom items may require an additional day to prepare.
  • Once an order is fully ready, we will contact you to confirm a pick up date and time. We will present options of 30 minute windows for you to select one.
  • There will no Pick-Ups after 12:00pm on Saturday, none on Sunday. The options will be limited to afternoons and early evenings and dependent upon what we have available.
  • When you confirm the appointment, we will ask you to provide a description of your vehicle (make, model, color). We will reply with detail instructions of where to park, how to inform us you have arrived.
  • Once you arrive, a quick text sent to us will prompt us to run your product down to you.

We are still fine tuning this plan, but so far this is how we have handled the case-by-case situations in the past. We are looking for an appointment scheduling add-in for our online store to make this simple.

Another option may be delivery for those who are VERY close to us. IF (just a thought at this point) we offer such, it will be a routed delivery system and done only once or twice per week in a limited area. Again, IF we were to do this.

PRICING SYSTEM

A new pricing system is trickling into our store. You may have noticed the $x.x9 prices. Although many feel this is a means to make a higher price seem lower, we don’t think that way. It essentially boils down to us making it easier to match us up to others as well as a means for us to identify “regular”, “sale” and “clearance” pricing. This is a common practice of retailers. As we have grown, we have seen the need arise for such details.

Initially we shied away from such a format as we were selling in person through festivals. A simple “no cents” price point allowed us to make our prices clearer when sitting on a shelf with a sign. If we return to doing such, we will just round our pricing for such situations. Until then, we can play along with everyone else. For the majority of our products, the prices dropped by a penny.

We continually will audit our prices to ensure that products remain a true value while still be competitive and profitable. As are replenishing inventory of raw goods, we are seeing steep increases in shipping costs as well as pricing of ingredients that are in high demand. This will translate to price increases for affected items. It is a situation we wish we did not have to be in.

CLEARANCE PRODUCTS

Along with this is the introduction of a CLEARANCE category for our online store. Prices will generally end in $x.69 or $x.29, making it clear they are clearance. Clearance will be a means for us to promote and highlight items we wish to move through to make room for new products. Sometimes it may simply be to lower inventory of certain selections as we may have over produced to demand. With the transitioning of our brands began this summer, it also means that older packaging and labels will be sold through to create a better presence for new packaging and labels. The products are still of quality and will perform as expected. All clearance sales are final, there will be no returns or refunds supported.

If there is ever an “OOPS” product, we will be sure to call that out so you are aware that it is not a “typical example” of the actual product we were making. The reality is, working with natural products there are times that the chemistry doesn’t work as expected. In the past, such products were given away to friends and family but we see the viability of making them available for sale to all.

Clearance items will not be discounted any further through sales or coupons unless it is specifically called out. This being new to our store, we will see how we can make it most effective and a value.


Inside the office we have been having a talk about how our competitors in the beard care market advertise and the micro messages that are inherent in the majority of Beard Oil online advertisements. We will share some of our takeaways from this conversation in an upcoming Blog post.

Head Office Communique – August 11, 2020

not top secret
Not Top Secret Communique

Greetings all. There is a lot going on behind the scenes here as we transition into a new way of doing business stimulated by our current environment. Losing out on festivals shook a lot of things up for us. On one hand, we didn’t have the supplies to even begin to make a festival worthwhile; on the other hand it gave us time to focus on our business and see what needed to change to make us better. Having time to think and plan ahead is rare for us… or me actually. Some of what is happening has been dripping out to Facebook and on the Blog. As I started to tap out a simple message on a couple new things, the brain started telling me it makes sense to turn this into a general news and information post. Then that thought rolled into what would I call a regular sharing of such news and information.

We don’t have much that sounds catchy and makes sense to work with based upon what we do and all. I decided to go pseudo-official sounding with a name for this. Don’t hold me to it, but I would like to make these “Communique” posts monthly or more frequently. Lots to share, so lets get to it:

Late Summer Sales & Offers

In a drive to bring more awareness to our top quality Beard Care line, we will be offering our first ever Buy 2 get 1 Free sale. This is exciting for us as it makes it easier for new customers to try our highly rated beard care products. Although we are still operating under the specter of COVID-19, Self-Care through Personal Care is still important. Those that grow and maintain a beard still want to look good and feel good. Once you add 2 qualifying products to your cart (any mix of 30ml Beard Oil and Butter), you will be prompted to select your FREE item. Clicking that link will take you to a page where you can select a 30ml Beard Oil of any formula or scent.

We are not leaving our J+L Apothecary. There will be a similar deal on our Clay Mask Mixes. The offer will be Buy 2 Clay Mixes and get a Mix-ins Bundle Free. This bundle will include: 60ml Argan +Jojoba Oil blend, 60ml Glycerin + Aloe Blend and a 15ml Aromatherapy Oil – individually a $24 value. Similar to the Beard Care offer, once you add your Clay Mask Powders to the cart, you will be prompted to select the 15ml Aromatherapy option for your Free Bundle.

Both of these sales will kick off at the end of August and will last through September. Keep a watch on Facebook for the announcement.

Product Changes and Updates

Our Soap Bar Clearance will continue until all current inventory is gone. We will start to introduce our Shea +Oatmeal Soap Bars in more fragrances as these clearance bars sell through. With this launch, we are minimizing colorants which we have used in the past. The concept being, we wish to focus on the functionality and less about making it colorful or “pretty”. Color will still be used so we all can easily distinguish the scents, but not an important aesthetic.

By the end of August, you will be able to start ordering our new Shower Gel in a 360ml stand-up pouch. This is the same exact formula as our Shower Wash but named differently to call out the packaging difference as we bring the Shower Wash bottle to an end. We will not clearance the Shower Wash as there is little room for discounts as well as it having a longer shelf life. We may offer a special promo deal later to help move through the inventory. The new SHOWER GEL will launch with scents that are out of stock and new scents we wish to offer. Those with SHOWER WASH subscriptions will receive SHOWER GEL in the same scent they have selected for their subscription. Once bottles become more available from suppliers, we will offer empty bottle & pump combos where you can use the SHOWER GEL as a refill if you wish.

All SHAMPOOS and CONDITIONERS will start to be packaged in the new pouches as well. This will remain named the same and our listings will be updated to reflect the size and package changes. These too can function as a refill if you wish.

Changes to Primp+Jol Club

We launched our loyalty/reward membership club a year ago. Since then, we have learned more about what you are looking for in such a program. Those that joined have expressed their appreciation of the club, but others are a little scared off by the pricing. Although the cost offsets a portion of the expenses on our end, it can seem as if we are making them pay for their free stuff upfront – making it not free at all.

Our current members will see that their discounts will apply to more items, as we are adding sale items to the list of what the 10% discount applies to. For new members we will offer 3 ways to take part, each with their own structure. The current version of Primp+Jol Club will become Primp+Jol Club Full. The annual fee will drop to 21.99, or you can now opt for the Full Quarterly membership that will be billed at $5.69 every 90 days. Both of these will include a 10% discount on all products we make, including subscriptions and sale items, 5% off the items we do not make; and will receive Free Shipping on every order.

We are also adding Primp+Jol Club Basic. This introductory tier will be FREE to anyone who joins. To join, you do need to “buy” it for $0.00. This membership tier will offer 5% discount on all items we make, 2.5% off those items we do not make. Members will still pay for shipping.

The “Welcome Gift” is being replaced with members receiving FREE SAMPLES with every order they place. Each month we will pick a new “surprise” sample that we will pack with every P+J Club order when we ship it. The Free Samples will not ship on their own nor can be ordered, it will be an automatic thing we do on our end every time you do order from us. Why this change? Honestly, the Welcome Gifts were expensive to ship. Combined with the cost of the product it was no longer a smart benefit to offer in the manner we chose. By dropping an extra item with each order allows us to be more flexible with what we present to each of you and we can make it more seasonal when it makes sense. All tiers will qualify for the FREE SAMPLES and we hope they inspire to try other products we offer. These Free Samples are a Members Only offering!

Shipping Rates

As a very small business, we do not get the huge discounts major carriers like UPS and FedEx offer to shippers. That is one of the reasons why we use USPS, along with the fact your order is far more likely to make its way into your mailbox and not under a bush or thrown over a fence. Unfortunately all possible carriers we can use are getting ever more expensive and the associated costs are increasing. And, none are perfect every time but USPS is far more reliable.

Our current shipping rates are: $4 for the smallest and lightest of orders, $6 for the majority, $8 for the heavier items. Each of these are below what we pay. In fact, the lowest we pay is $7.40 for anything under 32 ounces going to most addresses. We attempt to make up the difference by applying a percentage of our shipping costs into each product we sell.

At this moment we are stuck in a situation where we either need to raise prices of our products or raise shipping fees. If we raise the fees, there is a risk of increasing abandoned carts caused by the sticker shock of the added shipping charge. For some items, if we build in a higher percentage of its shipping costs we risk losing sales as the perception of the price to value is not justified. It is a tricky situation that involves a lot of nuances to ensure that the total order costs falls in line with the perception of the total value of what is purchased.

With the loss of in-person sales this summer due to COVID-19, we lost the padding such revenue gave us despite the costs of providing the in-person capabilities. That means the percentage of our revenue going to shipping fees in relation to total sales has greatly increased. As we shift to being more online than in person, we need to adjust our pricing and fees accordingly.

For the foreseeable future we will need to make FREE SHIPPING more of a premium service. The threshold will be move to $69.00. Then numerous items will see a price adjustment based upon its share of the shipping expenses in relation to its weight and overall unit sales.

The current marketplace is seeing substantial price increases for everything we buy. We will do our absolute best to keep our pricing fair and competitive. In the 7+ years we have been in business, our prices have been rather steady with only bumps to Beard Oil and Butters caused by the move to better ingredients. In many aspects, our prices have dipped as we have been able to become more efficient. In many ares, especially with J+L Apothecary, we are accused of having prices that are too low. We take that as a compliment despite some thinking that low price equates low quality.

Thank you!

These last few months have been a huge pain at times. We are still struggling with supply chain restrictions and the inability to produce many of our products until these restrictions are relieved. Current state, caps and bottles are non-existent with November being the nearest ETA from our suppliers. This is hurting us a lot.

But, we have you to thank for supporting us through this time. Although we can’t do our Pop-Ups, our online business has seen growth. Our regular customers are buying more and we are gaining a bunch of new ones – and we love you all for it! We are going to do our best to ensure we have our most popular products available, and looking into alternative packaging for our liquid soaps and conditioners that will also be more eco-friendly.

Without your business we may not be able to stay in business. And that is why we have to keep saying THANK YOU to all of you!