by Anna Ludwinowski


by Anna Ludwinowski


Discover your lightbulb customer

A lightbulb customer is someone who gives you a moment of sudden inspiration or realization.

In the early years of Essential Packaging, circa 1995, all of our packaging products came in cases of various quantities.

For our first Christmas, we brought in this line of matching gift bags and boxes in assorted holiday patterns. But they just weren’t selling. Every customer we showed them to loved them so we couldn’t figure out the problem.

Then on a Friday in late November, a customer came in looking for some bags for her craft market that weekend.

Yes, we had these holiday bags that would be perfect for her! She loved them and was ready to take them until she found out there were 250 bags in a case.

“Oh, I’ll never go through that many this weekend, do sell them in a smaller amount like 50?”.

*insert lightbulb emoji*

Absolutely we could do just 50 but there’d be a slight upcharge for the convenience. No problem she said.

She came back on Monday and bought 50 more. And every Monday for the next 3 weeks.

In total she’d bought 250 bags, the case amount, at a 20% upcharge. Surely there had to be other customers who needed our products but simply couldn’t buy full cases? There was.

Over the next year, we made a conscious effort to do one thing with every customer – LISTEN to them.

Cases were an issue because of upfront cost and space. It made total sense but we’d never thought of it from their perspective. Amazing what you learn when you LISTEN!

That lightbulb customer told 5 of her fellow craft market exhibitors, who all came in the following week. Those 5 became 28 the week after. One year later, we opened the Essential Packaging Store, where we sold our products in full or open cases. And we’re still doing it today, almost 28 years later.

All because we LISTENED. That’s it.

Cost is rarely the issue when you give them what they want or need.

Listen to your customers and watch your business grow.


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