The first thing I need to do is express my sincerest thanks to all of our customers and stockists; you are the lifeblood of our company and without you there is no Phoenix and Beau, so a huge and heartfelt thank you to all of you.
As a token of our gratitude, and to brighten the dark winter days, we'd like you to enjoy 25% off our Solaris shaving soap. Please use discount code: solaris25 at our checkout and enjoy a bright and uplifting shaving experience.
What a year.
What a great and thoroughly knackering year it has been (for us).
And what a year for the loss of some of our favourite actors, singers and sports folk, e.g. David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Anton Yelchin, Alan Rickman, Muhammed Ali.. 2016, evidently, has had a real grudge against the celebrities of our times.
Being in a reflective mood I take no small amount of pride in realising that, in 305 days, we have *takes a deep breath*:
And when I say we what I really mean is Sarah (that's the wife to you) and myself. We feel satisfied, yes because of the above list, but also because we've done that whilst simultaneously going about our other (non-soap related) jobs and the herding of our two cats, or as they're sometimes referred to, our two young children..
So yes, "knackered" is perhaps the most appropriate adjective.
I'm proud of what we've accomplished and I'm especially proud of my wife; she's an awesomely talented illustrator who has poured herself in to our tiny company. She has had to learn new skills (as have I), thoroughly removed herself from her comfort zone and she hasn't blinked once. I've found it deeply gratifying to think that it has been our own intellect, our own hands and energy, and our own sweat and tears (but thankfully no blood) that has formed Phoenix and Beau from nothing.
If you asked me to describe the last ten months I'd say:
Fulfilling, stressful, absorbing, exhausting, validating, searching, adventure, thrilling, amazing, supremely testing, rewarding and (here it is again..) utterly knackering.
The journey we have had since we launched on February 29th has had its ups and its downs; it's real high and low points, or, as we like to call them "sunshine and showers". We've made some silly and completely innocent mistakes, but out of each one we've learned the lesson and improved as a consequence.
Having our own company and managing Phoenix and Beau is about evolution; it's about making continual improvements and seeking ways in which we, our products and the Phoenix and Beau experience can be made better.
We have so many things to do, so many ideas to bring to the table and yet our time is heavily restricted. This in itself has been a wonderfully valuable lesson.
When we opened for business our attitude and application was bent towards achieving our dream as soon as possible. That dream was and remains for us to be able to step away from our other forms of employment and for Phoenix and Beau to be a positively life changing experience. You know, pretty much the same reason any sane person gets in to business; to better the circumstances for their family and themselves.
Whilst we never lacked in ambition we evidently lacked experience. "Business", it transpires, is bloody hard work. Mercifully however our naivety as to the trials and tribulations it would present insulated us from the tougher parts of our journey to date.
It wasn't before October of this year that we realised the business was bending us to it and, do you know what, perhaps that's necessary if you want to make it "big". However, given our current circumstances with our young family (and other jobs), our then method and pace of operating just wasn't sustainable.
And so something had to change..
That change? It sounds simplistic but we now bend the business to us. By this I mean we fit it more to our timings, more to our schedule with the kids and now there's virtually no overlap between PB and our small people. We're working just as hard but, crucially, we're trying to work with more intelligence.
As we bid farewell to 2016 I'd like to share what we have planned for 2017, and by the way, we're REALLY looking forward to next year. So here we have it:
- As of 1st December 2016 our soap is cured for 10 weeks. This will improve the quality of our soap further and give you a product that should exceed the performance of all other soaps that you own. N.B our research tells us that there is only one other soap on the market that is cured longer than ours, and that's something that is made on a commercial scale.
- We will be making a smaller 60g soap available; the same full range of scents, only smaller and in different packaging. The rationale being it allows customers a more affordable way of trying our soap.
- We’ll be adding two new soaps to our core range. Firstly, in the guise of a modern take on the bay rum profile; ‘Imperial Rum’ is built around an accord of pimenta racemosa (bay), lime, orange, benzoin, all spice and ylang ylang and it’s all I’m using at the moment. It is categorically my favourite soap right now.
- The second is our barbershop profile; 'Pall Mall' is a captivating scent that currently blends 18 essential oils and three aroma chemicals. It produces a classic Italian barbershop scent that has a prominent citrus nose. Put simply, it's a beautiful and classic scent.
- We are collaborating with Chicago based gentleman’s barber shop, Merchant & Rhoades and have an exquisite soap that we’ll be making exclusively for sale (and hopefully used) in their shop.
- We are also collaborating with UK wet shaving forum, Against The Grain and will be making a one off run of shaving soap that we've provisionally named 'Scimitar'.
- Obsidian will be returning as a seasonal soap but in much larger numbers. We also have, thanks to the excellent Kevy Shaves and Rodney McAlpin, two new seasonal soaps that will be released for Summer and Autumn of 2017. Both were winners of a contest we ran over the Christmas holiday and are as follows;
- Summer 2017 - "Oberon" [thyme, violet, oakmoss, lavender and cedarwood], profile and name suggested by Kevy Parr (Kevy Shaves).
- Autumn 2017 (Halloween) - "Whitechapel" [leather, tobacco, chocolate, lilac and smoke], profile and name suggested by Rodney McAlpin.
- Oh, that and we think we’ve about enough time to nail ‘Borealis’ in time for Christmas 2017. He says, confidently. J
- Solid cologne is something I’ve been working on for over a year now. The base aspect of the formula, and the way that I integrate the scent is now ready. It’s just a matter of finalising how we present the product, and this is something that is still ongoing. We hope to have this achieved by the Spring.
- The same can be said for our post shave tonic, which incidentally we describe as follows – “Made from botanical and moisturising ingredients our post shave tonic is an unscented skin loving blend that will soothe, tone and cleanse your skin. Healing chamomile extract and invigorating witch hazel, calming aloe vera juice, and relaxing ashwaganda enhance the rejuvenating power of allantoin to leave your skin feeling hydrated, free from irritation, calmed and moisturised.”
- The packaging for sanskrit, citra royale and unscented are being overhauled by Sarah in an effort to bring them more up to the eye catching standards of spitfire and albion. Watch this space..
Right, that pretty much wraps things up. If you’ve any suggestions on what you’d like to see, please get in touch with us via either of our emails – firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com. That or drop us a line via any of our social streams, e.g. Instagram.
Have an excellent and healthy 2017, everyone, and shave on.
With kindest regards,
Kerry (and Sarah) Burrows.