What better way to start off the New Year than with new clients. PIDC is thrilled to have Duross & Langel on its client roster. The Center City based company hand makes soaps, skin and hair care products and candles that will take your sense of smell to new heights and leave your skin squeaky clean and silky smooth. Some may even have you wanting to take a bite (of course not recommended). Duross and Langel received a Working Capital and Equipment Loan from PIDC to assist with the growth of its business. PIDC was recently able to chat with Duross & Langel owner Steve Duross, and is happy to share our interview with the creative mind behind the business. .
Describe your business for our readers.
SD: We make and sell soap, scrubs, creams, face wash, candles, and more, all here in Philadelphia. We are currently in our 11th year of production and sales. As of today we have 5 full time and 4 part time team members.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
SD: Given the opportunity, I knew it would be best for how I wanted to live my life and build my future. I assumed it would be a small, modest venture but then I let my imagination take flight. With the addition of the salon, yoga studio and production venture, we are almost to the halfway point in our business plan. The next half is most exciting.
What makes your business so unique?
SD: Our uniqueness comes from the way we create and develop our products—plus we do it all in Philadelphia! The idea behind what we do is that we use the best ingredients that will offer multiple benefits (i.e. one moisturizer for the face, body, hands…).
We also bring in the best employees as equity partners to foster development and reward as a team.
What is your creative process for coming up with your products?
SD: We listen to our clients and are inspired by them and hear problems they express that don’t currently have solutions; we start out trying to solve the problem, and sometimes we fail, but then we make progress and test batch our solutions and then if we knock it out of the park, onto the shelves it goes! Anything that doesn’t work out ends at the test batch.
Why did you start your business in Philadelphia?
SD: Philadelphia is my home. I grew up 20 miles north up Broad Street. It’s in my blood. The last 20 years have been an amazing time to be a part of Philadelphia’s redevelopment. Just imagine what it will be like twenty years from now if we keep on this track? Our goal is to someday become a Philadelphia institution like Breyers or DiBruno Bros.
What prompted you to contact PIDC for help?
SD: I knew Ivy Olesh who works in the Marketing & Business Development group. She has consistently been an advocate for my small business from the very beginning. When she began working at to PIDC, I had the opportunity to learn more about its mission and see how they could help me grow. Without her guidance, I wouldn’t have known nor understood that there were a vast and varied number of Philadelphia institutions and programs that could help me grow my company.
Did you know anything about PIDC before you became a client?
SD: Not really. Once I joined the email newsletter, I began to realize how many supportive workshops and lectures were available to small business people and how much PIDC was able to support small businesses.
What has the assistance from PIDC allowed you to accomplish with your business?
SD: With the help of PIDC, we have been able to settle any debt we had, and will begin to build our manufacturing arm of the company into a larger, more powerful entity. We have every intention of purchasing a building for larger production here in Philadelphia that will last for generations. With PIDC, anything is now possible.
Do you have any advice for other small business owners?
SD: Yes. Poke your head out of your front window and see who and what is around you and your business. Ask questions!
Meet with PIDC and learn about their financing and real estate resources. Get to know folks at the City to learn about their programs, such as the Job Creation Tax Credits available for growing businesses. Check out the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses education program and see if it can help you grow your business. No one can survive in a vacuum.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. What are three gift items you would recommend to our readers?
SD: We have a fun filled bath box, dressed in red for the holiday that couples can enjoy together. LOVE candles are always a great little something extra. And of course, I love our chocolate cheery heart soaps and the 5-pack gift boxes of assorted message heart soaps. They make me smile every year!
For perfect gifts to pamper yourself or someone special, visit
Duross & Langel
117 S. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107