Focus On The End User And The Rest Will Come.
Lumbazzi is meant to be more than high quality, natural personal care products. It is designed to remind you of your life's vision. Mike and I believe subtle cues, like the feeling of lathering with luxury, knowing your beard is well groomed, or your lips are ready for action, set the tone for your day. For those of us with full time jobs, families, and general life maintenance (basically everyone).. the only true "me time" you can regularly take is to get ready for your day in the shower and look in the mirror after these moments of showering for some grooming. Do you like who looks back? That’s the question Lumbazzi hopes to answer.. and with a resounding HELL YEAH!
There could be infinite reasons you are reading this.. but really only one true answer. You want the best, and often that means paying a bit more. That said, you do not want to overpay for what you are given. With this foundation in mind, Lumbazzi's development process is rigorous. I will go into detail below but the quick and (not so) dirty version is.. if Mike and I couldn't see ourselves using it, it does not even pass the first level of development.
Our process can be broken down into a few high level steps:
1. Research/ Ideation- Is there a product we would like to use? Do we see a potential gap to fill? Are others in the space and if so, how can we improve upon it? How can we make our version unique? How does packaging play into this picture? Can this be done reasonably at scale?
2. Formulation- We come back to "How can we make our version unique?". We prefer a DIY formula, meaning you do not need a special license for any ingredients or an intense lab set up to create it. Sure, that means "anyone" could make it, but you could also make dinner and just went out to eat. Same applies here.
3. Testing (Internal and External)- Here is the meat and potatoes. If we make a formula that looks great on paper, but no one likes it... back to the drawing board until they do. Our focus group team, including the first barrier of Mike and I, is very particular about their products. If we pass here, we know we have something good.
4. Sourcing and Manufacturing- quite simply, do we need partners to bring the best product to market? Can we do it ourselves? Where do we get our ingredients for scale? For example, our cold process soap is made by an amazing partner who has 20+ years of soaping experience and the same top tier quality standards Mike and I have. Sure, we could make the soap, but the best version will not come from us in comparison.
Speaking of partnerships, we did help with the development process of the bar soaps, here's a quick video of us mixing and pouring the future of Lumbazzi we saw. Mike goes first mixing and pouring Midnight Rush. I come next mixing Fresh Meadows and share the failure that was my mustache. (I was trying mustache wax to see if it made sense to formulate it for you all, okay! I took one for the team) This is also the last recorded history of my luscious locks before I shaved my head. (There is no audio because it was very loud with the machines)
Developing the Proper Experience:
BAR SOAP (Mud Men pictured)
The Proper Soap Bar was a labor of love to get the perfect feeling shower experience. The average man spends over 3000 hours during his lifetime showering. Knowing the time commitment we all make to simply not reek on a daily basis, we wanted to be sure we took the proper amount of time and effort to create the lather of luxury. For us, that balances cleansing, bar longevity and reduces the skin drying effect inherent to all soap due to its function.
Quick note before we move on: Soap removes everything, including your precious natural oils, from the surface of your skin. True soap is not and cannot be "moisturizing". However you can formulate it in a way that adds external oils and moisture back to the skin while cleansing with proper ingredients. This is the balance we sought (and found).
Also.. if you are not using a face and/or body moisturizer, you should be.
Anyway, I'm off the soap box (ha.)
We knew we did not want to make a "marketing" product. Meaning it has certain "key" ingredients at no less than 1% so they can be claimed on a product ingredient panel and in marketing campaigns. Most ingredients at 1% have little to no effect compared to the promise. (Some do, so do not go on a witch hunt here.)
Mike and I chose Aloe Vera as a key ingredient we wanted to add. If you are unaware of the benefits of Aloe Vera, check this out. In short, it has been used for most of recorded history to aid in healing, inflammation reduction, UV protection, an antiseptic and has anti aging effects. It also creates an extra cleansing effect when used in soap. We decided to add Coconut Cream to the mix for its deep moisturizing properties, we figured this could offset any added cleansing the Aloe Vera has. We found this combination of Aloe Vera and Coconut Cream with our base ingredients created a unique, silky feeling during and after use.
After a bit more research we found that we created a vegan goat's milk soap! The Aloe Vera removes extra dead skin, reducing any existing inflammation, and helping the new skin come back healthier. The Coconut Cream acts at the moisturizing agent most goat's milk connoisseurs enjoy most. Perfection. After a bit of fine tuning we landed on what you feel today.
LIP BALM (Vanilla Lip Balm pictured)
Ah, yes. The Proper Lip Balm. I wanted to start in a different place here, mostly because this is unlike any other Lip Balm you've ever tried. But don't take our word for it.. I just received this note the other day:
Dude, I hate lip balm. Like hate it. It either leaves my lips oily or shiny or horrid taste. I freaking love the spearmint one. I've been applying daily and my lips have never felt better. And I love the taste as applying. My wife is happy. Lol.
This is just one of the many, similar messages we have been sent about our Lip Balm. When I say we are very particular about the products we make.. this is why. Even the Vanilla Essential Oil we chose is a hard to find version that tastes savory vs. the typical overly sweet variety you may have tried before. We took it all into account.
One of the biggest reasons we chose to expand passed soap into lip balm was simple. The largest, well-known companies selling natural lip balm (Big Balm as we lovingly call them) tend to use cheap oils and alcohol of all things. The alcohol really stuck out to us. (So does cheap oils but so many other companies do that) I mean, think about it. Alcohol dries skin, we all know this. So WHY would you put something drying in a product that is meant to moisturize. This is why Lumbazzi's Proper Lip Balm is Alcohol- Free.
One answer for Big Balm's choice is simple. Profit. (Don't get me wrong, we are not a non profit but there is a difference.) Alcohol is great for Big Balm but hurts you, the end user. You get stuck in their cycle. Your lips feel dry, so you apply their lip balm, but it only provides short term relief because the alcohol evaporates from your skin quickly. So guess what? You need to apply more for another burst of short term relief. And so it continues over and over. Their cycle forces you to use more than needed so you buy again quicker. And don't get me started on the amount of unnecessary waste all those extra tubes of lip balm cause.
The other (less devious) answer is on the manufacturing side. Using alcohol makes manufacturing far more simplistic and replicable at huge scale. When making tens or hundreds of thousands of units a day, consistency is the hardest part.
We will figure that problem out later without the alcohol, trust me.
The Proper Experience in our eyes is an Alcohol Free Lip Balm that after application, feels like you actually apply a layer of moisture to your lips that quickly absorbs but the feeling lasts for a long period. Not some weird layer of candle wax or petroleum jelly (which is not even designed for lip care) that just provide a barrier over your lips to "lock in moisture", but.. your lips are dry, which is why you reached for it.
In order for us to break the lip balm mold, we had to think outside the box. Beeswax is somewhat common in lip balm and for good reason; if you use natural ingredients, you need something that is firm to keep it all together. You can also find Shea Butter in a lot of formulas, mostly because it's a great hydrator and balances out the hardness of Beeswax well. Coconut Oil is another frequently used ingredient to give it a bit more "smoothness" during application. Honey and Vitamin E oil are excellent hydrators which a little goes a long way (witch hunters beware). Sounds like very "in the box" thinking so far.
Where we start diverging is with Hemp Seed Oil. Although you can find it in some natural lip balms, typically companies avoid it because it is very costly compared to other oils. My favorite find, however, was Kokum Butter. Not only is it an ultra hydrator, at room temperature it actually is a firm butter which helps it hold up against hot summer temperatures. Once heat is applied (by your lips) it adds next level moisture you can't find many places. An added benefit is it naturally does not clog pores. Say goodbye to those tiny lip blemishes from other lip care products.
To round out how long we took to finalize this formula.. here is a picture we were sent by someone who helped choose a final version.
These were just the ones Mike and I felt were worthy to share.
Quick story: I went back and tried to first few versions of the Proper Lip Balm to see how far we came. MAN were we off with 4 and 5 thinking those were worthy of sharing. They were so nasty that we did not share anything again for another 20+ iterations. You see where we landed in the end.
It took us 40 versions to finally get it right (and you can tell which were the favorites by how much each version was used). That adds up to 300+ labor hours and over a dozen people (victims in the beginning).
Lumbazzi is still growing and it is thanks to people like you that take the time to read this whole thing that we continue to grow. We have plenty more ahead of us and are happy to have you along for the ride.
We plan to continue expanding to more and more products (full routines including shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste etc) with the same intention we described above for the soap and lip balm. In order for us to be able to offer these products, we need your help!
If you love Lumbazzi and our mission, please tell your friends and family about us, write reviews on your favorite products, share our content or even better, make your own, on social media. Our promise is to continue focusing on you, the end user, for everything Lumbazzi. You can trust the name when you see it to be high quality or at the very least, on its way to the highest quality (like those first lip balm versions *shivers*).