This blog will provide details about our products and our industry. Best methods to get the most out of what we offer and how to choose the right product for you - as well as how we stack up against other products you will find in the marketplace.
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When we came onto the scene with our beard oils there was still a need for something stronger, more penetrative with its conditioning power and helped neaten the appearance of longer, fuller beards.
Many of our friends were shopping the Black Hair Care aisles at their local stores using products designed for coarse and easily dried and damaged hair. These are amazing products for such hair needs we studied what makes them so awesome.
We went into the lab and created a thick salve like product that will cling to the beard and work hard to condition it. With similarities to some beard balm formulas in the way it helped keep down the stray and fly away hairs while giving some definition to the shape of the beard, we knew we had an awesome product.
Next, we had to think of a name for it... the products we borrowed from were often called "Hair Mayonnaise" - likely for their texture and appearance. Doing a little searching of a test name we had, finding that no product existed by the name at the time we settled on the name BEARD BUTTER - based upon its texture and appearance. I looks like butter!
Our customers loved it. It quickly became a leading product for us and rivaled our most popular Beard Oil formula.
Then we caught news that there was another Beard Butter that just appeared on the market roughly six months after our launch. This first imitator was merely a balm in formula but named "Butter". Then we found another, then another and lots more imitators appeared. Some copying our formula down to the finest details. Then we learned that some of these imitators were customers of ours.
Now, we were angry. Before we had the chance to legal protect the name of our product we had thieves take from us. Not able to be original in their own right - not in formula or name. We never thought Beard Care would be such a cut-throat business.
We remain sad that this happens and we have documents on our side to prove our position is anyone tries to say we stole from them. Creating something to carve out a niche in a growing market and find that others mimic your intellectual property is disgusting and petty. What hurts more is that so many of these copies are so low in quality that it now hurts our bottom line. Folks are scared to try our products because they tried these inferior replicants that are just balms, or even just a whipped oil. Many are using low grade ingredients that counter the reason for why we created it.
At first we wanted to change the name of our product, but instead we decided to use these thieves as advertising. We amended the name of our product to THE ORIGINAL BEARD BUTTER - so gents will know where it came from and trust the original got it right. Because we did!
We have no problem calling those who copied our intellectual property thieves. They lack any sense of respect and decency. They profit off of the work of others without a care in the world.
As soon as we can we will secure the name and ensure that the imitators are limited in their ways.
Through the last 3.5 years we have grown a lot. As a business and as people. What started out as a little side venture has turned into a full time job plus.
From an initial 3 products we are now over 100 unique items we produce and sell.
Our intent and vision was to be different. As founder I have over 25 years experience dealing with retail, inventory management, merchandising and sales, as well as management - that's just my work experience.
Our focus with J&L Pogonotrophics has been, and will always be, about bearded & hairy men. Personally that is the personal attribute I have the MOST experience with. We saw that we had grown so much that our core was diminishing as we gained new customers. That's not a bad thing. But, it confuses some and holds other back from giving our products a try. No matter how much we say we are more than beard oil and that we have products that anyone can use and enjoy they are apprehensive or think we are tricksters trying to get them to buy something that will not be right for them,
Then came the customers telling us how much they love our products but wish there were more options to suit their tastes or needs - these customers were not our core focus but they are customers none the less. Any smart business man would not turn away sales and so we added more products and more options.
When asked to produce a women's line we hesitated at first. In our little industry, women and women's products dominate. We are the minority under this umbrella and we fully respect that we are in a female dominated space. But, if women are buying our stuff already why not enhance products to make their experience better - why not make the products geared for them? So we went to work to see what we would come up with.
We created 10 products at first that were variations of our most popular products that women were already buying for themselves. We tested them out with friends and then the public. The most important thing when testing a new product is to LISTEN to what your potential customers have to say. So, we listened and we learned a few things. We learned that in general women love what we are doing, they loved the scents, the loved the concept; the packaging and labeling were not loved but were liked - that wasn't good enough for us.
We also had a couple negative comments. A couple ladies felt that there is no need to make gender specific products and that doing so is short-sighted. We were honestly flabbergasted at hearing this. But, I hear them... why do things have to be pink is for girls and blue is for boys? Why can't a woman have a Bourbon & Sandalwood body spray and a man have a Nectarine Ginger scent? Honestly, We don't care - never did, never will. We stated early on that we DESIGNED for Bearded & Hairy Men - If someone who did not fit that description found a use or benefit for using our products we felt that was awesome. The lesson we learned would be used to sell more products to more people who could share in that customer's experience.
After we had a chance to relax and think about all that we experienced and learned we came to a clear conclusion. It was obvious we were running 2 brands - a Beard centric brand and an ANY BODY brand. With the original intent being that J&L Apothecary would just be those more female centric products we decided to go in a different direction.
Over the course of this summer we will re-brand, re-label and re-imagine all of our products that are NOT very specifically designed for facial hair and body hair will become part of a NEW J&L Apothecary. The brand will have it's own look and feel but retain J&L Pogonotrophics' values and vision.
There will be changes to our J&L Pogonotrophics products as well. Through our experiences we learned that we are on the right path with our products but not targeting them correctly. As we created new products we found overlap with existing products. We found that the way our products were designed to be used wasn't being translated well. Initially we wished to avoid a "new and Improved" gimmick in regards to adapting our formulas to meet newly identified needs but we see how we need to change some formulas to encompass more than 1 lonely objective when it can be adapted to perfectly satisfy different needs with one formula.
We are currently in the process of ending production of the current DERMA, NAKED and BULWARK formulas. Bulwark will return as a "beard revitalizer" oil to help condition and moisturize excessively dry or damaged beards. The concept will be that you use this only as needed to bring your beard to peak condition. It will be made available as a strictly UNSCENTED oil that you can use in combination with another scented Beard Oil in a layered manner or to use it as a separate step alternatively as part of a care regimen. NAKED, our "no nut oil" allergy friendly formula will be gone for good. We will reformulate our DERMA formula to not include nut oils and still provide the same special care to skin. With newer oils being available that are ideal for the care and treatment of skin issues we can easily make this happen. There will be NO changes to our QUOTIDIAN and OIL #5 formulas!!! These are well suited for the jobs they are designed for and will work well when being layered with the new BULWARK.
We feel we are young enough as a company to institute these changes and have a very positive outcome. Those who have seen the plans and changes already in motion are very excited and are looking forward to seeing these new products and their packaging.
J&L Pogonotrophics LLC
Chicago, IL 60626