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!

COVID-19 Response (updated 5/16/2020)

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

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 (which are well in stock at this time).

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, items 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 90% alcohol 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 in significant quantities past 3 days on any surface, what is inside the package is very 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.


Due to our packaging and ingredient suppliers dealing with a dramatic increases in demand for components we use, we expect to see tighter inventory levels and an increase in out-of-stock situations during this period. 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’ as a means to better meet demand of the most 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.

UPDATE 5/16: We moved up our plans to change liquid soap packaging to stand-up pouches. Our initial plan was to introduce this Fall 2020. Due to limited availability of our current PET bottles, we feel that it makes sense to do this sooner. It will take some time for this transition to take place as the pouches will not arrive until this summer. Which is still much sooner than we can expect to have bottles available. In the meantime we will sell through all current inventory of produced inventory. Current unfilled bottles will be sold separately empty, as the pouches will be a great refill to any bottle. Look for these items to trickle in over the coming weeks.

Also, we have remaining inventory of some older bottle styles that we will use for lotions until we can source an alternative package or are able to acquire appropriate bottles. Both of these measures will mean that the pictures may not match the product you receive. The volume listed will remain the same, along with 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. It is important to ensure we maintain the same level of quality in raw goods (ingredients) that we are currently using.

UPDATE 5/16: We have lowered the price of our 360ml SHOWER WASH to $13.00, a $2 savings. Subscriptions will be $12/unit, plus $1 for the first unit. When the pouch package becomes available, the item will be 400ml and sell for the same price of $13.00.


During 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 presented. 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.

Outside of what has been noted above, there will likely be Out of Stock [OOS] situations for select items. Unless explictly noted, they are not discontinued and will be back in stock as soon as we are able to produce them. Sometimes this is merely hours and no more than a couple days. Please track us on Facebook to be informed on any long term OOS items.

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