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.

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!

Bamboo Boar Bristle Beard Brushes are Back!

New J&L Pogonotrophics Brand Beard Brush

We love alliteration!

It has been out of stock since last holiday season as we were looking for a more reliable supplier. We hope to have these back in our store by July 12. We decided to be a little vain and place our logo on the back this time.

The base is made from bamboo which gives a strong hard wood that is more moisture resistant than common hardwoods. As with the previous edition, this military style palm brush contains 100% boar’s hair bristles.

Check back to get yours before they are gone again.