Stickers may seem like small potatoes to most people as a way to open a small business, but not to Jon and Leah Miner. Their passion for stickers, keen marketing and business sense, and a strategic partnership have turned a small product into a tremendous success.
The Miners started with a small sticker store in Minnesota. They knew that stickers were a great product to sell for a very large market: children. However, when they began to formulate strategies of small business growth for their little company, they went to a well-known “sticky” company also in Minnesota called 3M.
Jon and Leah Miner pitched an idea to 3M where they could combine technologies and form a new product for mass production and distribution. It included a process called micro-encapsulation that captured fragrances and aromas onto paper stickers. The result was a new line of “smelly” scratch & sniff stickers and a new company: Mello Smello.
This successful business idea thrust them into the national spotlight and turned their small, local business into a multi-million dollar empire. Since then, Mello Smello has partnered with other giant corporate names like Disney, Marvel Comics, and others to form new lines of Mello Smello products like tattoos, egg decorations, nutritional stickers, and safety stickers. Their success continues through exclusive distributors such as Walmart, Walgreens, and Target.
What can you learn from this small business case study? Here are a few tips:
Think Big – There is everything to gain by thinking big. Jon and Leah were not satisfied simply selling retail stickers to their local community. They used their creativity and innovative ideas to kick their small business growth to the next level.
Don’t Go Solo – While many entrepreneurs would like to say they did it all by themselves, Mello Smello depended on the help of others to make their ideas a reality. Creating a partnership with an already established company can help give your small business the foothold it needs to reach the next level of success.
Build Your Credibility – Who would have known about Mello Smello without the behemoth marketing and branding of other larger companies? Namely, giant nationally-recognized brands like 3M and Disney provided strategic partnerships and shared technology that helped create small business success for the Miners.
Create Multiple Revenue Streams – While some small business owners may have stopped with their first big idea, the Miners moved forward with other ideas creating multiple lines of products and marketing channels. They produce products for children’s safety, nutrition, 3D motion printing, and even product packaging stickers.
Small business success starts with you, the small business owner and entrepreneur. However, to make your goals and business ideas a reality, it sometimes takes the help of others. Whether it is a mentor to help you formulate business goals or strategic partnerships with trusted brands that help build your credibility and recognition, forming business alliances can help you attain that success. Start looking for other businesses you could partner with and jumpstart your small business growth today.