Gadget Flow Podcast Episode 11 – Chad Borjeson from Innovative Kitting
On this podcast, we sat down with Chad Borjeson from Innovative Kitting and talked about the importance of packaging your product correctly. It can make or break your brand!
- Innovative Kitting Solutions provides accurate, predictable, and reliable solutions and services to promote your brand. The services include Basic Kitting Solutions, Advanced Kitting Solutions, Subscription Box Solutions, Flash Sale and Crowdfunded Projects, Brand Fulfillment Services, and Warehousing.
- You can find more information as well as contact Chad Borjeson through his LinkedIn profile.
Can you give a brief overview of who you are and what it is you do?
Chad: In a nutshell; we provide warehousing, kitting, assembling, and shipping, or fulfillment services for crowdfunded campaigns, for their backers to receive the goods at the end of a successful campaign. That is the primary function, we do that in other capacities as well, but that’s primary.
So, you handle all the packaging, all the sending out of the product that people are creating on their crowdfunding campaign?
Chad: That’s right! So if they have the product they come from overseas, or in the United States, etc., and they’ll arrive in bulk and then will kit, assemble. and package it for whatever parameters that they’re looking for. Whether it’s a branded look and feel or the least expensive possible way they can get it from A to B.
Your company is called, Innovative Kitting, how did you get that name?
Chad: Well, kitting is part of the process of shipping things for a lot of companies, but not all of them.
In other words; if you’re in traditional e-commerce, pick-and-pack may be a common term, where you have a bunch of things on a shelf and orders all look different when they go out, but kitting is the common denominator for a batch shipment. So for a crowdfunding campaign, where you’re producing one or two products, like say, speakers, or a new spinner fidget gadget thing, ha, right, all of them look the same, and so the packages all look the same except for maybe one, two or three, depending on what the backer is getting. They have to be kitted into individual packages that are sent out. And that’s how we decided this name, because that’s the primary for us. It’s batch fulfillment, and batch shipping, and kitting is a primary part of that.
Give us a little of your backstory, of what you did before starting Innovative Kitting?
Chad: Before all of this; I have several years of experience in traditional fulfillment centers. You know, working with traditional e-commerce companies, and different brands, and doing warehouse and shipping, and fulfillment for those brands, and we all decided to branch out on our own and do it a little better than anyone else that we worked with before. So it’s been a good culmination of the minds, let’s say.
What made you think of the opportunity? What was missing in the market that you wanted to do differently?
Chad: One is just the focus on batch kitting itself. Instead of you being a secondary or side hustle for a fulfillment center; we decided to make it front and center, and primary, so that you don’t feel like a guppy in a pond filled with whales. Because that’s traditionally what happens in a fulfillment center, if you’re focused on brand batch fulfillment such as crowdfunding campaign, it’s usually a sideline project, and we decided to make it primary. The other is shipping itself tends to be a black box, and people don’t understand it, and usually fulfillment centers will use that to their advantage. We decided to be as exceptionally transparent as possible, so focusing on batch plus transparency gives us a unique mix.
Is building relationships with your customers and earning their trust, a big part of what you do?
Chad: It is, absolutely! I personally like to do business with people I feel like I know, and trust, and maybe I have some rapport with them, and so we like to build in the same way, and usually is not a one and done sort of transactional relationship, relationship is kind of euphemistic there. More than likely is actually a relationship where there’re a lot of transactions that take place, so you just do a little flip. So yeah, it’s absolutely very important.
What are some best practices, tips, and tricks you’ve learned over the years for how to package a product well, or in a way that is appealing?
Chad: Part of it is, being aware that you can do it. It’s sometimes just not in everyone’s eye, in other words, you might think you have to stick it in sort of a plain brown box, or maybe use a carriers’ specific box and not your brand, and just being aware of that, that’s part of it. But as far as doing the right package, we’re going to try to the specs that a new customer really wants it to look like. So we’ll put together a mock package, send photos or video, and go over a sample box, and how it might ship, and what it should look like. We usually talk to them about whether they thought about branded packaging, and design, and refer them to some box manufacturers or designers, to get the job done. But it’s an all-inclusive service, if somebody wants to go that route. If they really want a luxury look; it can be done, not every fulfillment center offers it, and what they do they may charge you premium to do so because it’s not just the primary function, but for us it is.
What does the process look like when working with a new customer? Do you help with the brands’ specific needs?
Chad: The short answer is yes. The way it’s usually begins is, I ask a series of questions, and if you were the customer, I would say “Alex, what is the name of your company, and the brand, and what inspired you to do it?” sort of the way you started this interview with me. I kind of want to find out what makes them tick and why they’re doing it. The majority of the people I talk to have some sort of inspirational story, maybe they saw a need, or maybe they had a dream, or they’re trying to leave the corporate life as an employee and become a business owner, so they are on an adventure. So I want to find that out, and find out what their actual outcome in the best possible scenario, what would that look like. We know we’re the last people that touch the product before their customer does, which has a high impact on the value of their brand. So I want them to be aware that we’re aware of it. There’s a mutual sharing of information and awareness, I think makes everybody feel comfortable.
What do you think is the most well-packaged product in the world, not necessarily something you have done, but something you have had a great experience opening?
Chad: Anything you have to wait for but you anticipate is usually pretty good, particularly if it’s branded. I’ll give something that almost anyone can relate to and then I’ll talk about maybe something more specific. That is, anyone that’s ever gotten a brand new mobile device, a brand new smartphone, or an iPhone, or android. Particularly iPhone, the way they package it, the box and the feels, there’s a sturdiness to the packaging, and the feel and the look, and it has values – the esthetics have values that have an impact in the long term. As a brand, you can typically charge premium if your product arrives looking premium. It has a long term impact. So the best packaging I can say, I think is going to vary if you’re under a pound, or over a pound, and what you’re actually shipping. As to how you package it, should it be in a sturdy packaging or should be delicate, or does it match the branding of your logo and those kinds of things. But the best is, is to have it visually appeasing impact if you want to have a long term relationship with your end customer.
What makes Innovative Kitting unique in your field?
Chad: The primary part of that is the focus on batch fulfillment as the primary means for this type of business. Having batch fulfillment as the lead, or white label, or branded fulfillment, where our brand means zero compared to your brand. Your brand is first in front of your customer, so the antithesis of that, although I have a great deal of respect for them, the antithesis of that is Amazon. Amazon is a low cost provider as far as the product goes; and I shop there too just like everybody else, but when I buy from Amazon, I’m really buying Amazon’s brand, it shows up in an Amazon box, I feel like Amazon is who I have the relationship with. So what sets us apart really is the focus on batch and the focus on brand, so batch and brand, and put those two together, and those are in the forefront so your brand is number one, relative to anyone else, and that really by itself is a differentiator.
You also work one on one with the customers and do consultations, correct?
Chad: You’re absolutely right about that, not everyone is going to do a consultation and certainly not do it without some sort of fee or it might have a very short time span they’re willing to talk to you. Absolutely willing to do consultation, hope that you’ll do business with us, but you’re not under any obligation or pressured to do so. So someone wondering, particularly if they’re doing a crowdfunding campaign, you want to make sure you get your shipping, handling, and packaging pricing correct before you post your campaign, because if you’re successful on your campaign but you didn’t do the numbers correctly for shipping, then you may ultimately not do too well, to put it nicely. So we’ll offer free consultations, well-rounded so you have exposure to all the possibilities and know exactly how to price and package your goods.
What’s one of your favorite success stories from a brand you worked with, helped with and are proud of?
Chad: Some packaging I thought was really great is, if you look in the past, we’ve worked with Bitsbox a subscription box, its coding for kids and we’ve worked with Vistaprint, they have a subscription box model that they started a couple years back and I think the packaging for that was fantastic, as well as we worked with some crowdfunded campaigns that sold all kinds of things, whether they were board games that needed some final touches as far as kitting goes, as well as a lot of unique books or electronic gadgets. So the one thing to keep aware of; and this may not be a good fit for this conversation, but I’ll tell you, any time you’re sending electronics it’s always key to make sure that if it has batteries, that they’re installed in the electronic device, or they’ll be prohibited from being shipped because they have special circumstances. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and subscription box, batch fulfillment and packaging those the right way, and get a good look, get feedback from those customers or our customers. Get good feedback from their customers is really the highlights, having those positive feedback.
The experience of how it’s packaged and how the brand presents it, as you said, is the first point of contact as customer, and I can’t think of a more important thing than to get the packaging right.
Chad: That’s right! I have a great analogy for that, and that is this: You can bake an awesome cake, but if you don’t have the icing right, people just aren’t as happy, they might not even eat it. You have to make it look good.”
Where can people connect with you and what you’re doing?
Chad: They can go to innovativekitting.com; they can contact us at Info@innovativekitting.com, or me directly at Chad [at] innovativekitting [dot] com. My corporate number is 919-948-4811, so you can give us a call there if they’d like, and my direct number is 919-960-1220.
You have an extended trial for Gadget Flow listeners?
Chad: That’s right; Gadget Flow is an open door for us. So, we have a great relationship with them and we want to have a great relationship with anyone who is thinking about or currently a member with Gadget Flow. So they get free consultations, we’ll go the extra mile to make sure they have full understanding, sometimes they may be a bigger brand that may or may not need some consultation from us, but they also may be brand new to the industry, and brand new to crowdfunding, maybe is the first time they’ve ever invented something. So we can definitely help them and go the extra mile and make sure they feel comfortable with the entire process.
Is there anything else coming up for you guys, anything you want to mention on the show?
Chad: I’d say that right now, in addition to the free consultation, we’re offering a pass-through shipping. If they want to ship say USPS, and they want to get our rates for that and they’re with Gadget Flow, consider it done.
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