Challenge: Drawing much-wanted attention to an unwanted problem
Solution: Creating customer interest in Times Square – with a toilet bowl
Unpleasant bathroom odors are a thing of the past thanks to a Moncton, N.B., company. In 2005, Prelam Enterprises Ltd. introduced Just'a Drop, an odour neutralizer used in advance of using the toilet. Today, the innovative product is sold in such stores as Walmart, Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart. It is available in the U.S., Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Barbados, South Africa, Mexico, and South America.
Getting in the door of major chains was a first and essential step, but more was required to be successful, according to Prelam co-founder Luc Jalbert. “Our product was in Walmart and other stores, but there was no awareness. This is not the easiest subject to discuss.”
So the Prelam team got creative. They headed to New York with an Odor Voter campaign that asked people to sit on a toilet bowl in Times Square and fill out a survey. The marketing strategy drew international attention – including a guest spot on the Dr. Oz television show. “We needed to find ways to drive traffic to stores,” says Luc. “We knew word of mouth was key.”
Also critical: getting a vendor account number with stores like Walmart, which has more than 100,000 stock keeping units, or SKUs. “This makes it easier to penetrate the market,” notes Luc.
Prelam has now entered a new market with a new product: Just'a Drop Ostomy. Test marketed with impressive results, this unscented product is intended for the healthcare industry and for people with sensitivities to scented products. The company is currently in talks with ostomy bag providers to provide the odor eliminator with their products.
For entrepreneurs looking for insight and innovative ideas, Luc has this advice – speak up. “Don’t be shy to ask mentors to sit down with you. It’s the best thing you can do.”
Partnerships, such as the one with the Government of Canada, also play a key role in Prelam’s continued growth. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Prelam reach more customers. A recent investment of just under $100,000 will go towards leasehold improvements and the purchase of equipment to expand production capacity to meet sales throughout Europe and potentially in the United States.
Prelam Enterprises is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
Do you have a business concept? Do you have an innovative idea to improve or grow your business? For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca
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