Duross & Langel: Handmade Skincare Products That Won't Break the Bank
Thanks to Duross & Langel, a Philadelphia-based soap and grooming company, those in search of handcrafted skincare products can stock their dopp kits and medicine cabinets with original formulas that rely on only the highest quality ingredients -- all at a price that won't induce wrinkles.
Founder Steve Duross, who also carries the cheeky title "Chief Soap Officer," started the company in 2004. After two decades of working in the hair and skincare industries, Duross was ready to open his own place. "The ultimate goal was to create the best possible products at a price most people could afford," he said while showing a new batch of hardened soaps.
Located in the heart of Midtown Village, a Philadelphia neighborhood also commonly called the "Gayborhood," the store's first level displays rows of housemade soaps, salves and scrubs. Head upstairs and you'll discover plastic trays, raw ingredients and a well-loved computer. Light from 13th Street illuminates a wood table. Music plays faintly in the background, easing up the stairs from the retail space. This is where Duross turns ideas into reality.
Though his is a favorite grooming products company among the LBGT and fashion communities in the Greater Philadelphia Area, Duross does business on the national level through his online store, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of his business. He also hosts events outside of his retail space to boost brand awareness while pushing all-natural products.
From Soaps to Salves to Scrubs
The store is filled with more than just soaps. Moisturizers, bath bombs, face masks, deodorants, massage bars, lip balms and more line the hardwood store front. Most product prices range from $10-32. Beard oil is a favorite for guys and there are even a few pet products like the "pet rescue" ruff paw balm.
Some of Duross' favorites among his products are the Olive Oil Moisturizer because "everything begins to age after 40" and the Dermabrasion Cream to "diminish the signs of aging that my sun drenched skin so loves to show." The company focuses on positive customer interactions and high-quality products.
Creating an Accessible Lifestyle Brand
Duross & Langel's success is a testament to the value of handmade products sold at respectable price points and with genuine customer service. "The kind of personal service we give all of our clients, big and small makes for a very amiable experience."
Unlike megabrands with huge advertizing campaigns, Duross & Langel focuses on word-of-mouth marketing while developing new products for the collection. "We compete with mass produced goods that utilize inferior ingredients and have marketing budgets that I could only dream of and create a higher price point to ensure shareholder profits," Duross said as he mixed ingredients for a 3-in-1 shower gel.
Not Just Beauty, but a Lifestyle
An already robust arts and culture scene continues to expand in Philadelphia. Gritty culture exists with street art influences that are broadcasted on websites such as StreetsDept.com and body artists displaying painted models at RAW Artists fashion shows. These artistic expressions live in the same city as culturally elite art including Monet and Picaso at The Barnes Foundation and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. There are no limits on artistic expression in Philadelphia, which makes the city welcoming to collaborations.
With all of these well-established cultural institutions existing in Philadelphia, Duross plans to bring the lifestyle of art and culture into his space in the coming seasons. "There are some wonderful things going on in the Philadelphia design scene," Duross said while he described how future events will look at the store. "We are at a transitional place where we will see new perspectives and fresh points of view begin to emerge in the next year or two."
In an adjacent space to his 13th Street location, Duross plans to open a salon later this year. His background in the hair care industry has inspired him to open an educational-based salon where fresh talent will come to enhance their skills with on-site classes.
Duross & Langel
117 S 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107