in the workshop

The Kardashians are Loving Duross and Langel!

If only, right? No such luck. At least for today.

Instead I'm going to give you a quick 3 minute read on shortages and why you might want to consider shopping your favorite little boutiques this season so that they can still be around next season.

Lately we have all been schooled on how supply chain issues can gum up the works. Like most businesses, spring and summer of 2020 was a bit of a dust up for D+L. Raw materials were scarce, our lab production was down for weeks, and shortages of everything forced us to make due with what was available.

As we progressed into 2021, we decided to prepare for the worst. We loaded up on raw materials, packaging supplies, and we standardized our plastics consumption into two lanes. Lane one: choose plastics that would be highly valued by recyclers, to be repurposed by the industry and not land-filled. Lane Two: find three sizes that make the most sense as a manufacturer, and take into account the cost and use as a consumer. We ordered our holiday shopping and gift bags back in February. Candle glasses were silkscreened by the thousands. Ribbons, tissue, boxes, packing tape.. most of us don't think about the special little things until they're in short supply. Among the goals for 2021 was to state that this holiday season we will have plenty of everything. We will continue to give back within our community and strive to be greener, but we are taking nothing for granted.

Last year gave us a glimpse of what havoc shortages can bring so in a sense we were lucky to anticipate this year. Nothing goes to waste in our workshop. But not every small business is quite so lucky. For many retailers who need the holidays to fund their year, survival isn't possible without our support. We encourage you to shop small again this season. To support the little stores in your towns and neighborhoods as so many of you already do. Please share what you love about them on your social media feeds and by word of mouth.

Too much of what we love about Philly is already in scarce supply.

The Future Is What You Make Of It

By now almost everyone knows where our business has pivoted since late winter 2020. It's been fairly easy to adapt since most of our energy goes into making the stuff we sell. A sort of "keep your head down" mentality prevailed throughout the storm

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Stepping Into The Unknown

The other day I was chatting with a man about vaccinations and what comes next. This is, I imagine, the same conversation people have been having all over the world since last year's lockdowns began. March 2020 to March 2021 feels like a loop that we've experienced alone. Together. A mass disruption event beyond what almost anyone would have imagined. While not a year I will look back upon with undiluted pleasure, many amazing things have come my way in twenty-twenty, and there are lessons I hope to carry forward into the years ahead.

When we moved to 13th street fifteen years ago, I was in the midst of chasing a dream about making awesome products. I wanted people to know about us for sure. Visibility meant opportunity. For me success was about the quality and efficacy of the skincare we made. If we got that right, money would follow. Then my ego began listening to all the people who were compelled to should all over my plan. You should open a larger store. You should open two. You should make sample sizes for hotels. You should wholesale. You should become a lifestyle brand. I appreciate that the noise and excitement people were compelled to share came from a beautiful place, but rarely does the larger conversation become about what makes us happy. Is money the key to happiness? What constitutes success? Who are we trying to please? And each time we step into the unknown, what is it we hope to find?

For Sarah and myself, this last year has peeled away all the preconceived notions about what we should or should not do. We followed our gut early on in the pandemic and pivoted into a position that will propel us into the next fifteen years. Breaking free of the main street model, twenty-twenty has proven to us that having a thriving, self sustaining business does not mean slavishly chasing after every dollar, open morning until night 365. The last decade and a half was about building our brand. All of the past stress, pressure, debts, successes and failures are now balanced by a sense of calm. The next fifteen years will be built by trusting in the process we have already created. Finding success in our own sense of happiness while continuing to work on the brand we love.

There will be many among us looking to go back to the old normal. Expectations that somehow the world will go on as before. But I imagine there will be many who will be longing for something richer. Deeper. A fresh perspective on how we live into the next decade of our lives. There is more room for amazing and wonderful things to occur when we are offered a fresh perspective.

Sarah, Alli and I look forward to welcoming you into our reimagined shop on May 5th, 2021. Belly up to the scent stations to sniff out your favorites and discover our newest scent blend creations. Sample the skincare, scan the shelves for new and favorite products, or peruse the colorful soap list on an ipad. We are also very excited to chat about how you can make your own custom skincare creations right online. Sure, the doorbell will need to be rung, masks worn and a limited number of people coming in at a time, but we have recreated the experience to be more personal. One on one. And while some might find the new situation a little bit disappointing, the old model of shopping (at least at duross & langel) is a thing of the past. The former shop hours are in the dustbin. In the process of navigating the last year or so, we have surrendered to the process. Our goal is to be better over more. Quality over quantity might mean a bit less coin, but at the end of our lives who is going to say "I wish I had worked more hours?"