Almost all of the people who responded said that as soon as they were diagnosed (whether with or without a biopsy) their doctors (both general or dermatologists) lost interest. Basically, they were told that it was no big deal, go home and shut up. Most were given a tube of steroid cream to go with that. Some believed that the steroid cream would cure the rash. None were told that the steroid cream would do nothing for the rash, and might have nasty side effects. A couple were told that they needed “photochemotherapy”, cute long word that means VERY expensive tanning treatment in the doctor’s office. A few were told they needed to go on strict diets- no gluten, no meats, no refined sugars, no dairy, no cigarettes, no alcohol. Some were sold supplements to go with that, right at the doctor’s office! Imagine that!
BTW, the strict diets and the supplements did nothing, neither did the expensive photochemotherapy. We did have some findings on tanning of all kinds that I will discuss at some point, but not right now, since they do not have anything to do with PR.
Of course, in this day and age, with both medical and recreational marijuana and CBD oils being legally available in parts of the US, people have tried various concoctions, to no avail. CBD oils, THC oils or pills have had no positive action on PR, even though there are some diseases that respond almost magically to them. My husband is a case in point. He could not hold down ANY food other than Boost protein drinks for months after the surgery. He lost 90 pounds. His cancer was in remission, but he was dying slowly from weight loss. They were going to put him on a feeding tube. One of his doctors prescribed dronabinol pills. In three days he had his appetite back, and was no longer throwing up. He only took them for 2 weeks, but that was enough to reset whatever had gone haywire. He is eating just fine!
Most people reported that after using PrrEze, the itch subsided within the first day. Two said the itch was worse. All reported that the rash turned redder about 2 days in, then the rash got very dry. This obviously makes no sense if you read the ingredients. I use PrrEze as my daily moisturizer. It is fabulous for winter dry knees and elbows. It is all emollients- stuff that hydrates or moisturizes your skin. The only thing we can figure out is that some sort of “synergy” (stuff that is stronger blended together than any one component working alone) in our ingredients seeks out the rash and kills it, by drying it up, while leaving the rest of your skin alone. The rash dries up and flakes off- not noticeable flaking, it just disappears. It leaves behind smooth healthy skin that may be hyperpigmented (a classy word that means discolored). This discoloration can be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. It is not scarring. It will fade to skin tone within a few weeks, just as if you had not used PrrEze and the disease had run its natural course. (This few weeks is not included in the doctor’s “6 to 12 weeks”, BTW).
We do not know why PrrEze works, how it works, we just know that it does work, and it works fast. We also know that it works for at least 90 percent of people who have been diagnosed with a biopsy! That is pretty darn impressive. It is also great as a moisturizer, which I mentioned earlier, and after sun, probably because of the aloe in it.
Come read the next part soon. I will discuss other rashes that are commonly mistaken for PR.
There are 5 rashes that look very similar to PR. Many of the people we have chatted with told us their doctor thought they had ringworm- just like I did, and my GP concurred. Ringworm is the most common misdiagnosis, and it goes both ways- people who have PR are told they have ringworm, and people who have ringworm are told they have PR. It is very easy to check and see if you have ringworm. In most of the world, antifungals are available over the counter. You can buy a cream or spray for jock itch, athlete’s foot or such, and try it as directed. If the rash starts to go away within a couple of days ta da!!!!! You have ringworm.
The second is “contact dermatitis”, this is a fancy way to say hives, an allergy. Hives are a low grade allergic reaction to SOMETHING… It can go on for months, or even years without developing into an allergic reaction that requires an epi shot. It does not close up your throat or anything, just makes a nasty, itchy, spreading rash that is VERY similar to PR. Go buy some Benadryl, use as directed. If your rash starts to go away after two or three days, another “ta da”. You have an allergic rash. All you have to do is figure out what you are allergic to. That can be very tricky, since it can be a soap, clothing detergent, shampoo, deodorant, perfume, a chemical used in clothing manufacture, a food ingredient, skin lotion, low grade drug allergy. You get the idea. Not easy to track down, but if it reacts to Benedryl, you at least have a starting point.
The third is Lichen Planus. If you thought you had PR, and you find it is LP, you will wish you had PR. LP is very similar in look and action to PR, except that it can and does attack the inside of the mouth, the scalp, and nails, as well as the rest of you. If you have planopilaris, it will make your hair fall out over time. If you have palmoplantar it affects your hands and feet, and the nails of both, making the nails ridged and sometimes those nails just fall off. It can attack very personal female areas, making it painful to do things that should be wonderful. It can be inside your mouth, with nasty sores that burn and make everything taste awful. LP is considered a “lifetime” disease. It flares and subsides in most people. A flare can last for weeks, months or years, then disappear, only to reappear months or years later. About 2 percent of people in the known universe have some form of LP. If you used PrrEze and your rash did NOT turn red, and did NOT go away after about a week, but you found that you got a little bit of itch relief, and perhaps a little bit of less redness and maybe some skin peeling, you probably have LP. If you have rash on your hands, feet or scalp you probably have LP. A scrape biopsy will tell for sure. Because we have had quite a few people misdiagnosed this way who bought PrrEze and told us it didn’t work for them, but it did soothe the itch, or it made their rash LESS red, or they experienced some peeling, we got a few of them to work with us in developing a formula that really does work on LP. It is nowhere near as fast as PrrEze is on PR. It takes about 4 weeks to smooth the rash. It is also the world’s ONLY treatment that actually works. Most experience skin peeling lightly after a couple of weeks of use, there is no burning or pain associated with the peeling, it is like the PR rash flaking off, only the rash affected skin peels. It leaves behind the same type of hyperpigmentation that PR does. For these reasons, we think these two diseases are closely related.
The fourth is guttate psoriasis. It looks like PR when it first begins, but not so much later on. It usually stays in the bumps stage, does not develop the raised rings that PR does. If you have bumps larger than a “normal” mosquito bite that are usually discolored, especially on your face and hands that spread as bumps, not rings, you probably have guttate psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is similar in looks later, but not at the early stages. It is also not a “spready” type rash. A plaque starts somewhere and grows, but usually does not spread out from there. Think herald patch that stays herald. It is somewhat similar to LP, in that it can stay for years, disappear, and suddenly reappear at seemingly random. It has dry almost silvery skin that feels dry and hard to the touch. Guess what? With the help of some people who were misdiagnosed with PR, who actually had psoriasis, we developed PsoriasEze. It also takes about 4 to 6 weeks to smooth the skin. It also is the world’s only all natural effective treatment! Yeah, I know, why aren’t we millionaires yet? Mostly because we have challenges, like FDA approval (thousands of dollars) and clinical trials (millions of dollars) and big pharma, who prescribes stuff that can give you cancer or kill your liver to get rid of your rash, which are “somewhat effective” in 70 percent of people…. Makes soooo much sense to us.
The fifth is granuloma annulare. It is the rarest of the 5. It looks a lot like PR. It is the most often misdiagnosed as being PR, because it is so rare that most dermatologists don’t even consider it as a possibility. That is all we know about it too. It is rare, and it is misdiagnosed. You will have to Google it for yourself. Good luck, there is not much info out there.
Yup, you will have to come back for more info.
Our struggle to make PrrEze into a cream: If you read the ingredient label, you will see that PrrEze is all natural, all food grade ingredients, all ingredients are approved by the FDA. The problem in the beginning was that it was an oily gooey mess. That was not at all a problem for me when I was experimenting, I was just looking for something that made my rash less itchy at least, and gone at best. When I first sent out samples to other people to see if it worked for them, it went out in little plastic flip top jars from Walmart. It was still an oily goory mess, but it worked for them. It wasn’t until about a year later that I decided to try selling PrrEze. I thought it might be a good idea to try to make it more cream like. I went back to Google, and tried to find ways to do that. Not much out there is oil soluble. I could add stuff like clay, which would absorb the oil, but that wasn’t what I wanted, and it was gritty. I cook a lot, so I know that flour will absorb oil, so I tried that, YUCK!!!!! It took a lot of trial and error and a lot of batches to get to where we are today. Beeswax was our solution. In the summer time, our clients report that they got a jar that was completely oil. Yup, melted in transit. Or a jar that had some liquid and some solid. My recommendation is to throw it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and stir. Then put it in the fridge. That usually restores the original consistency. Don’t leave it in the microwave for more that 15 to 20 seconds, or PrrEze will volcano out the top of the jar, and the jar itself will deform.
We are still trying to find a formula that will not melt that easily. In the meantime, most people are willing to put up with us because PrrEze just works!
When we first started selling, I bought mason jars (yup, Walmart) in the 4, 8 and 16 ounce sizes. Our one ounce were packaged in little jars usually used to store artist paints from Hobby Lobby. I hated the glass jars, because I was afraid they would break in shipping, but that was all we could afford. After about 6 months of saving and scrimping, we placed our first jar order with SKS Bottles. I am a bit frugal. You have to order 250.00 dollars’ worth to get free shipping. My dearly beloved and I sat and looked at the pictures to decide on a color- they have a lot of choices! Pink was too girl oriented, and I did not want men with PR to turn away because of the color. Purple was my first choice! However, they did not carry the purple in all the sizes we needed. White is nice, but I wanted something more dramatic. Black was cool, but did not really embody the all natural thing. Amber was another option. I thought that was more bland than I wanted for PrrEze. That left us with forest green and royal blue. We decided on the blue! Our first labels were Avery, from, where else? Walmart! Our printer was a little desk jet that took a couple of minutes to spit out a page, but it was so exciting to have labels and jars that looked nice and were not glass. I designed the labels.
We were just getting things rolling along smoothly when Hurricane Harvey hit us. My husband is with the local volunteer fire department. We knew that the hurricane would be bad, but the flooding afterwards would be even worse, and would take time to inundate our area. Our entire county was a mandatory evacuation area. We loaded the cats (8), dog (big- German Shepherd wolf mix), jars, clothes, important papers, and everything else we wanted to keep and drove about 60 miles to where it might be safer. We were not worried about the wind, just the water. Our house is up on stilts, because we are in a flood zone, next to the river. It is 9 feet up. We were told to expect surge between 10 and 20 feet, and then flooding down the river after the hurricane came through. With that kind of storm surge, we figured there wouldn’t be a house to flood later. So we took everything we could load.
We landed in a very nice FEMA hotel- you know, the kind you see on Cops, or Live PD every week. It was reasonably clean, the AC worked, and it was away from flooding. My oldest son was with us, so we had everyone in one room, two queen beds.
It was an interesting time. The hotel never lost power, which was great. Rivers an bayous all around us flooded, but the hotel did not. The first night we were there, we needed something to eat- no kitchen in the room! We drove around for over a half hour looking for an open restaurant. Everything including Mc Donald’s was closed. Grocery stores were closed. Convenience stores were closed. Some parts of town were already flooded, and some had no power. Most gas stations had no gas- all sold out. We finally found a small Mexican restaurant that was open. The parking lot was full of police and other emergency first responder vehicles. When we walked in, we were told that not everything that was on the menu was available, because most of the staff was not there, but that they could at least feed us something- that was good enough for us!
That happened to be a Friday night, so we decided not to try shipping on Saturday, which we usually do. That gave us the weekend to get settled in and see what the hurricane would do. It dumped over 40 inches of rain in the area. Over 600,000 people had to get out of their flooded homes, just in Houston. The hotel was full of Harvey refugees. The second day we found one restaurant open, and they had a sign up on the door, saying “we have brisket and chicken only” (BBQ joint). All the sides were absent, but brisket and white bread was more than good enough. Have you ever driven up to a large shopping center on a Saturday afternoon, and seen NOTHING open? Kroger was closed. CVS Pharmacy was closed. Ross, Hobby Lobby, Old Navy, all closed. No cars in the parking lot.
On Monday the rain had let up, but the flooding was still expanding, just getting started. We went to the US Post Office. It was closed. No note, no nothing, just closed. We had shipping to do. Went back to the hotel room, started calling post offices in surrounding towns. No answer. Further out. No answer. 60 miles out, no answer. Finally, we called one that answered, about 75 miles away from us. By then it was about 2 PM. They said they were open “normal hours” which meant they closed at 4:30. In Texas, out in the sticks, 75 miles, 2 ½ hours is no problem at all! We had to contend with the fact that most roads in and out of town were closed because of flooding. Most roads leading in the direction of that town were closed and flooded out. We made it to the post office at 4:20 PM. Our packages went out with the mail!
We started earlier the next day, and shipping went out without too much trouble. The post office in the town where we were finally opened back up about 10 days after the storm, and they did not have all the shipping options available- no express mail. We still had to go to the one 75 miles out. On day 6, the Kroger that I mentioned earlier opened back up. They were open from 10 AM to 2 PM. You were allowed to buy one case of water, one loaf of bread. Only one door was open. The nice guard there would let one person in when one person came out. Needless to say, they did not have much on the shelves at that point, but bread and water was a good start. We had brought canned goods from home.
It was interesting seeing a city start from scratch, all the services that had been disrupted. All the people who could not get to work because of the floods, or did not have work to get to because businesses were flooded.
We needed jars. I called SKS Bottle, and told them we were in a hurricane area, and they said they could ship to the hotel. Nice and very helpful people there. The hotel staff were also very nice and helpful, allowing 5 boxes of jars to be delivered to the front desk. (BIG boxes).
In the meantime, the river by our house was still rising. It did not flood until 10 days after the hurricane, and the water stayed flooding the property for another 4 days after that. We were fortunate- only 27 inches of floodwater on our property. The storm surge had only been about 6 feet, and had not made it to our house, which is at a 6 foot elevation, but 4 miles off the coast. That surge just did not make it that far upriver. The floodwater on the property was fast flowing- it was part of the river. The house survived, but the stilts were kinda washed out- the whole house is tilted at an 8 degree angle (yes, still a year plus later). We have ratchet straps holding it as straight as we can get it! The RV was not so lucky. At 27 inches, of flow, we got about 3 inches of water inside. FEMA helped! They gave us 500.00 in “emergency” funds and 2200.00 for the loss of our RV and contents. Since over 600,000 people were basically homeless after Harvey just in Houston, RV prices locally were astronomical! Everyone thought it would be a great alternative for temporary housing until they could get their houses fixed.
We waited a couple of months, since we were still guests of FEMA, and kept looking for possible RVs about 300 or more miles from Houston, where the prices were not so high. I have friends all over. One of them suggested that she watch for RVs in her area, and I agreed. She told me that she would be willing to go inspect the RV before we drove all that way to see it. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, someone listed one that they were asking 2700.00 for. Pictures looked fine, so I asked her to check it out…. Of course, that was the weekend she was going to the east coast because her son was having surgery… That left her husband. This friend has been a friend for about 45 years. We lost each other about 43 years ago. Found each other on Facebook, and the years fell away. I have never met her husband. Never interacted with him. No clue of what they do for a living. I know they are rural and have goats. He said he would go look at the RV. YAY! That happened on a Saturday. He sent more pictures. They all looked good. He walked through, the seller plugged it in for him, and the AC worked (when it is 98 degrees outside for 6 months or so of the year that is pretty important). The floor seemed solid when he walked on it. We decided to buy it, but that meant wiring the money to him. Went to Walmart (of course). Sent the full 2700.00. It should have been there in 10 minutes. Nope. Called Walmart money people. They said they had a few questions, because there was so much fraud after the hurricane. Understandable. Why are we sending money? Because we are buying an RV because ours was flooded out. Who are we sending it to? The seller, but via an intermediary. Who is the intermediary? My friend’s husband. How long have we known him? Never met. What does he do for a living? Raise goats, maybe? Sorry, we cannot complete the transfer.. We went back to Walmart and got a refund. Western Union. Sent money. 10 minutes. Nope. Phone call. Why are you sending money? To buy an RV. Who are you sending it to? Our friend. How long have you known him? About 45 years. What does he do for a living? He is retired. Oh, OK, money will be available in about 10 minutes…
We decided to wait till Monday to drive up to get it, because my friend would be back by then, and I really wanted to see her. My husband was kind enough to take the scenic route up. We drove through Palestine, Athens, Buffalo, and Trinidad, all on the way to Paris. Texas. Picked up the RV, had dinner with my friend and her husband, had breakfast with my friend before we left. Now owned an RV that was about 20 years newer and 16 feet longer than the one the storm ate!!! We had about a week of FEMA hotel left, then we dragged it back to the house. A friend of an acquaintance had just been kicked out of his house, and was living in a tent behind a friend’s house… They came and dragged the dead RV out, saying they could give it life again.
Through all of this, we got jars, made cream, and shipped 6 days a week!
Yup, more coming soon!
Our next step was a better printer. A friend of ours had bought a pallet full at a government auction, and gave us one! It was great, but it only printed in black, and I wanted colors. Another 3 months down the line, and we had to buy a fast color laser printer. I found the cutest silver labels online. They are actual foil labels, so they do not get oil marks on them if something drips. I think they look awesome on the blue jars. While we were sending out jars of PrrEze, we interacted with clients. People who have this nasty rash and find PrrEze are also people who research and will not take “nothing can be done” for an answer. We had a lot of messages, a lot of phone calls. We found out that some people had another rare rash called lichen planus, and PrrEze seemed to help them, but not as fast, and not as well as they would like. We collaborated with some of these people to develop LichensEze, which we launched in March of 2018. We are thrilled that people with lichen planus are reporting total clearing of their LP!
This is not the biggest seller, as you can imagine. LP is just as rare as PR, but it is a “lifetime” disease, like psoriasis (more about that later). Lichen Planus is another rash that nobody knows much about because they mostly do not care. The only people who care are the ones who have it. All kinds of stuff is thrown at LP sufferers- light therapy (just like PR), methotrexate- a biologic with nasty side effects, long term steroid cream, and other possible remedies. Guess what? LichensEze is all natural, just like PrrEze, and it gets rid of the rash. Does LichensEze cure lichen planus? It is wayyyyyy too early to tell. LP is one of those rashes that flare up, rash can stay for weeks, months or years, then it subsides, and can stay gone for weeks, months, or years, all for no apparent reason. Since LichensEze has not been around for any years yet, all we know is that it clears the rash within 4 to 6 weeks. It usually does not stop the itch immediately, may take a day or two to start easing the itch. It does not turn the rash redder, it actually starts fading the redness, usually within 4 or 5 days. Most people report skin peeling- not chunks, just a light skin peel. We believe this is the infected skin sloughing off. There are no reports of burning or pain associated with the peeling. Most people report that their lesions are gone within 4 to 6 weeks, leaving smooth skin that is hyperpigmented, just like with PR. We do not yet know whether this pigmentation leaves entirely.
This makes LichensEze the world’s first effective relief for lichen planus. If you are keeping track, our tiny little company, with zero dollar operating budget has formulated two creams (so far) that actually take away the rash of two different diseases that the medical profession has ignored throughout history. Why could we do this and they could not? No clue. I am an English major, with heavy Theater influence, and my dearly beloved is a computer and car geek. (computers he can build and program, and he knows all about bits, bytes, cards, rams, SEO, CSV, RSS, etc., cars he likes to drive and knows all about horses and torques and stuff). If we could figure it out in less than 6 months, you would think that doctors and researchers could have done it at some point in the centuries that people have been making remedies. Nope, saved it for us!
Like PrrEze, LichensEze is all natural, with no known side effects, unless you are allergic to one of the ingredients. Like we mentioned earlier, we introduced it in March of this year. We have sold almost 100 jars so far!!!! Why am I excited about almost 100 jars? Two reasons: 1) they are sold 2) they have helped people. There are good things and bad things to be said for creating a product for a tiny niche market: Pros: We are the only company that makes products that actually work. Cons: It is a very tiny niche market.
Lichen Planus is not all the same, again, kinda like psoriasis (there are 5 types of psoriasis) there are several varieties. One is the most like PR, it is lichen planus corporis (Latin for body, so I do not know why they don’t just call it that). LichensEze works great on that. Clears up the rash, makes the itching/burning go away, people are happy! Next is lichen planopilaris. This affects the scalp. Many people ONLY have this, but some have it with the body, and doctors are unsure whether it is a slightly different rash, or the same rash that has also affected the scalp. We don’t know either. We do know that it is pretty yucky to try applying our cream to your hair and scalp. People have told us they would be willing to do so, because LPP leaves bald spots, and the longer you have it, the more hair falls out. We decided to work with some of these people to develop a spray on formula. All the same indredients except the thickeners that make it a cream. Then we had to figure out a way to get them to spray and not clog the sprayer!
The good news, so far, is that it does spray!!!! It seems to calm the rash. We hope that means it stops the rash from spreading, so no more hair falls out. News so far is that the remaining hair feels stronger and much less brittle, and there is no noticeable hair loss since starting use. Our volunteers have been using it for three months more or less. We do have reports that “I THINK I see new hair growth”, but we do not want to say “it regrows hair!!!!” until we actually see new hair growth filling in areas that were bald. We will certainly keep you posted.
Next is lichen planus palmoplantaris (yeah, more Latin, means palms and soles of feet). This is extremely rare, and we do not know whether it works for that yet. No lab rats have volunteered!
Another variety is nail lichen planus (yay!!!! No Latin). It affects the nails on both hands and feet, making pronounced ridges that run lengthwise on the nails, and nails also split. In the severest cases, nails just fall off. I can certainly understand wanting to find something that will stop it. We know this for exists, we just do not have any lab rats…. Ummm volunteers to try LichensEze on this form yet.
There are two more forms, and LichensEze will not help these- they are oral lichen and vaginal lichen. Both of those affect mucous membranes, so we do not even want to try treating them. Those federal regulations are a lot more strict.
We cannot tell you how happy we are to get word back from lichen planus sufferers telling is that LichensEze has treated their lichen planus, that we have given them their lives back, or their self confidence back, or stopped their itch and let them get a good night’s sleep. All of those things make it all worthwhile for us. I had PR for 14 months. I KNOW how it feels going out in public with a rash. People look at you with that “OMG” look, they are not quite sure where to put their eyes. You can almost see the panic- “is it contagious???”. I can’t imagine trying to start a relationship with a body full of itch ugly rash. My husband has been with me through all of life’s weirdities for over a quarter of a century, even though he stuck with me through the 14 months of PR, he did not like it. I can understand a new relationship breaking up over it. I can also understand why people who are not so self assured being depressed and even suicidal. We love hearing your stories. Makes our lives worthwhile too!
Stay tuned for our next episode.
Advertising: Since we are a tiny little company in a tiny little market, advertising is a big problem. Every ingredient in every product we have is FDA approved. However, in order to get FDA approval for our products as a “treatment” or a “cure” for pityriasis rosea or for lichen planus, we would have to go through clinical trials and FDA approval process- this STARTS at about 1.2 MILLION dollars. So, at least for the foreseeable future, we will keep plugging along as we are.
What this means: We have a business, properly formed, and legal. We have UPC codes for each of our products, so we can legally sell on Amazon. We also have eBay, Etsy, Bonanza, and three websites of our own; www.sjsent.us, www.naturepurelife.com, and www.pityriasisrosearelief.info . We are NOT allowed to advertise on Google, because they have very strict rules of not allowing any mention of treatments or remedies, or homeopathy or natural healing, unless you are Bayer, or Merck or other big pharma.
We post of forums. Many forums do not allow us to post!!!! Why? Well, if you are the actual MAKER of a product, you will probably say things like, “IT WORKS!!!!”. They try to keep out people who would try to take advantage of people who are suffering with these diseases. No “snake oil” salesmen! I completely understand that. I do NOT understand why they would keep our products out. We have reviews that go back a year and a half on PR. They are pretty darn good reviews too! I was on one forum where I was telling people how it worked for me, and a lady said PrrEze was a scam…. SHE had never tried it, so how would she know? Several other people on the forum said it had worked for them. She said I was obviously either paying them to say that, OR they were friends of mine, whom I had planted to say that…. REALLY???? Have you read our reviews? Just type in PrrEze review. They are on Etsy, Amazon, eBay, our websites, someplace called Makeup Alley, and more. I was banned from the forum. She was not. She was telling people that tanning beds and dandruff shampoo were the way to go. Neither of those worked for me.
We have Facebook pages and groups. We have youtube videos. As an aside, one of our clients made a video, which he shared with us- it is called Pityriasis Rosea Rap. It is hilarious!!! You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRbLGovwHAw . We cannot tell you how tickled we were with this! He sent us the link. It is also a world’s first! The very first PrrEze rap!
We cannot advertise on TV, only about a million people worldwide get PR in any given year. It is one and done, and does not come back. Where would you find an audience? We cannot advertise on radio for the same reasons. In magazines? Which ones? There is not one I can find that targets ugly rashes. Dermatology magazines? Nope. Doctors would never tell clients about PrrEze unless they had tried it on themselves (we have two so far!!!!!) or it was FDA approved as a drug.
So, we have explained why doctors will not help with PrrEze. We understand their side too- they cannot be seen to be selling snake oil either. What I do not understand is why they CAN prescribe photochemotherapy , or steroid creams that do nothing, and do it with a straight face. I have personally written to over 300 dermatologists and have not received a single reply of any kind. Yes, I WROTE, as in paper, envelope, stamp, the whole works! Nothing.
Facebook allows us to advertise but they do not have any kind of a “drill down” to “people with a rash”, all we can do is advertise to people who are “interested in skincare”. That is a gimongous market, mostly women looking for wrinkle creams and antiaging creams. We would be throwing money away doing that.
So, how do we get the word out? How do we tell the world we have products that work? Yes, I am asking you. We are at the end of what we know how to do. Anyone out there with ideas? Let us know!!!!
But wait! There’s more! (Just not right this second)
Shipping: How many times have I told you we are a tiny little company? Our company consists of: Myself, my husband, and two of our kids. Somehow, we make it all work.
We sell on Amazon, with a very good record- very few returns, very high on time shipping and on time delivery rate. How they can grade us on delivery, I am not quite sure- once it leaves our hands, we have no control, but Amazon believes we do, so they grade us on it.
About 40 percent of our sales are International. Our biggest International markets are: Canada, UK, and Australia. We decided to try Amazon Canada as our first expansion. I called Amazon. They told us what steps we needed to take, all sounded easy and doable. We called Canada customs, all easy and doable. I read for hours making sure everything was in order. We bought a HUGE batch of jars to get ready. We would have to do “fulfillment by Amazon” for the Canada stuff. We made cream for Canada!!!! We decided to make sure our jars were not tampered with by putting shrink wrap on each jar. There is a real live machine that does that, we just didn’t have the thousands of dollars it cost to get it. I became the shrink wrap machine. Hold shrink wrap on jar in one hand, hold heat gun in the other hand, and GO! A heat gun looks like a blow-dryer, just hotter. If you are holding product in one hand, it can get pretty hot. I found this out the hard way!!! After much trial (trust me it was very trying to have scalds on all my fingers) and error (yup, the shrink wrap slipped every which way it could if I was not holding it just right) we had our jars ready to go. I called UPS (I had already spoken to them about cost of shipping) and asked how to get this through customs and delivered to Amazon fulfillment center in Canada. They said we could pay the taxes up front, great! I called Amazon Canada to get everything set up there, so they would not have a shipment show up that they had no clue what to do with. They THEN informed me that THEY could not accept a shipment… WHAT????? They couldn’t have told me that before????? It had to be delivered by a Canadian company. They are not a broker, so they cannot do that.
I investigated becoming a Canadian company. The process is not very difficult, nor expensive. HOWEVER, getting someone in Canada to act as your agent IS very expensive. It can be anywhere from $2,000.00 and up EVERY MONTH!!!!!! We don’t have that kind of money to try and see how much we can sell in Canada. We certainly do not sell that much there right now! So, no Amazon Canada.
PR is time sensitive. People usually have it for 6 to 12 weeks, then it is gone, and does not come back. It usually takes a couple of weeks for people to go see a doctor, another week to get a biopsy result. By then you have 3 to 9 weeks to get product IF you even go online to investigate, and IF you then find us. USPS is fantastic, within the US. They are efficient, inexpensive and wonderful to deal with- our post office is the BEST!!!! (Shout out the Lake Jackson USPS staff!!!). After about a year, we were contacted by UPS. I said, “ain’t NO way we will use UPS, their rates are OUTRAGEOUS!!!! “. So, the UPS rep talked to us, and said, they knew their US rates are about 3.00 EACH higher than USPS, but their International rates are halfway between post office first class (takes about 4 to 6 WEEKS to arrive overseas) and USPS Priority, which takes about 7 to 10 business days to arrive. UPS could get it there in about a week. Still, when you are paying 38.00 for a jar of cream, and then you see that you need to pay 45.00 to get it to your place and it will take a week… Yup, I might think three or four times. We REALLY wish we had a teleporter. However, UPS was wonderful, in that they actually walk packages through customs and then deliver to the client’s door at the other end. US Post Office will put it on an airplane, and that is the end of what they do. It arrives in country, and is at the mercy of that country’s customs people and postal system. The “local” postal authority has to deliver, and some countries are better than others. Each country also has their own customs tax, import tax, handling tax, and any other tax, duty or tariff they choose at any given moment. The UK SAYS they have 15 percent import duty. Some of our clients have been charged as much as 50.00 on a 38.00 item, that seems a BIT more than 15 percent to me, of course I am not a math whiz.
We found a company called Ship Station, they take all our orders from all the different sales channels, and we can ship them from one place, without having to ship from each separate place. Makes our lives a LOT easier. They recommended another company that allows you to pay all the import money up front. You don’t have to, but at least you know what the taxes will be. We get some returns from people who are not aware of how much they will have to pay on an import. We do have notices on all our sales channels that international buyers will have to pay for import taxes, but you know how people are.
Then, about 6 more months in, we were contacted by FedEx. They had just launched a new program. It costs about 75 cents more than US Post Office Priority mail (one to three business days anywhere in the US delivered 6 days a week). UPS does not work on Saturdays, unless you pay a LOT extra for Saturday service. FedEx will guaranty 2 business day delivery!!!! They also have a “one rate” program for International shipping. It is cheaper than USPS first class- the one takes forever one- and it is still 2 to 3 business days guaranteed! That is right next to having a teleporter! Price makes it more feasible too. We are madly in love with FedEx. We have only been using them for 2 weeks, but so far so good.
We feel we have shipping sorted out now!More to come soon!