January 2018 : Not-so-sweet smells spell success for N.B. business

By Alan Cochrane – January 9, 2018

Prelam Enterprises co-founder Luc Jalbert - Just'a Drop

Luc Jalbert is on a mission to make the world less smelly, one toilet at a time.

“We started 13 years ago, with a mission to educate consumers that there is something that really works to stop the smell when you go number 2, but you have to use it before you go,” Jalbert said Tuesday. “Just put a drop or two into the toilet bowl before you sit down on the toilet with your paper, and it will create a barrier to stop the smell.”

Jalbert is the co-founder of Prelam Enterprises, a Moncton-based company that makes a variety of products that are chemically designed to surround and deodorize the smelly gas molecules associated with going to the toilet.

On Saturday, he will make his 30th trip to China, where he will announce that two of those products, Just’a Drop and Just’a Spray are now sold by major Chinese retailers, Jalbert said making deals to sell these products in cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong represents a huge market with millions of potential costumers.

He said Prelam received support from Opportunities New Brunswick, which helped him make deals with distributors and retailers in China. Opportunity New Brunswick is a Crown corporation that seeks to attract and support opportunities to grow the economy and create jobs. Opportunities N.B. could not provide a spokesperson Tuesday to comment on next week’s trade mission and the support to Prelam Enterprises.

The Prelam products are developped, packaged and shipped from a single office and warehouse space on Baig Boulevard in the Moncton Industrial Park, which can produce 12 million bottles per year. The company has 12 employees, including full-time chemists, graphic artists and marketing specialists.

Besides Just’a Drop and Just’a Spray, Prelam has anti-odour sprays with catchy names like Poop-Eh!, Oh Crap, Pooping Bad and It wasn’t Me! For Valentine’s Day, there’s Love At First Poo, a toilet spray with the catch-phrase ” roses are red, violets are blue. spray in the bowl before you poo.”

The products are already sold at retailers in Canada, the U.S., Chile, Mexico and the Philippines. In Mexico, the Spanish translation is Gotaroma.

Jalbert said getting the products into China is a huge deal for him.

” I’ve always bought raw materials and packaging from China, but now I’m going back to sell the products there.”

Jalbert said he’s learned a lot about Chinese culture, language, government regulations and business practices over his 29 previous trips. One of the biggest obstacles about doing business has been language, and he’s still looking for employees who can translate marketing material from English.

Over the last 13 years, he’s heard lots of jokes about bodily functions and the smells associated with them. He’s also a bit of a David competing with corporate Goliaths who offer similar products. Without huge advertising budget, Prelam has staged a variety of promotional stunts. At one point, Jalbert set up a toilet in the middle of New York city’s Time Square, where people could sit to fill out a survey and pick up free samples.

“Free samples are great for marketing. I gave away lots of samples because I knew every time somebody tried it, they would tell 15 other people and make jokes about it, and they’d remember it.”

As he takes aim at toilet odours around the world, Jalbert is also marketing Luky 8 brand of skin creams and associated grooming products for men, These will also be available at stores in China.

Meanwhile, the company’s research and development department continues to work on industrial-strength odour elimination sprays for use in cattle barns, chicken coops, pig pens and other smelly places around the world.

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January 2018 – Opportunity New Brunswick

New Brunswick’s Prelam Enterprises Talks Export Success in China

JAN 8, 2018 BY JASON BOIES

In December 2016, we spoke to entrepreneur Luc Jalbert about the success of his Moncton-based company Prelam Enterprises and its Just’a Drop and Just’a Spray bathroom products. At that time, Jalbert had recently returned from a New Brunswick government-led trade mission to China. Since then, the company has pivoted with regards to their China strategy and recently announced a major breakthrough in that important market.

ONB caught up with Jalbert on the eve of his next visit to China as part of our latest trade mission, which begins on January 13.

ONB: A lot has happened for your company since 2016’s Trade Mission. Tell us about your recent success in China.  

Export Success in China - Prelam Enterprises Jalbert: As of November, Prelam products are available at Aolaigo locations; that’s a major Chinese retail chain. We decided to focus our efforts on brick and mortar locations as an entry point into China, rather than e-commerce. There is very strong preference there for international brands versus domestic, at least within the growing middle class. So there is a surge in retail locations specializing in products like ours, made in New Brunswick.

We also just got confirmation that we will be moving into another chain retailer based in Hong Kong that focuses on premium foreign products, it’s very exciting news. We have really created a strong footprint in that part of the world. Thanks to our trips there with ONB and the provincial government we have learned how to effectively operate there. I have great distribution partners there now too; they ensure we have product delivered on time and are helping us with marketing and promotion.

It’s taken a year or so, but the hard work of all involved has paid off.

During our last chat, you mentioned online sales were the focus. Why the pivot from e-commerce to brick and mortar retailers?

We determined that going online first would have been a mistake because nobody knows the product. Brick and mortar was the proper starting point; it’s better for creating awareness and letting people see and sample our products for the first time. We’ll be focusing on the online space over the next year, looking to get on Alibaba, JD.com and other major online players. We will be doing plenty of targeted social media promotion as well. The key now is getting the product in front of people in stores and letting them try us out. They’ll then know what to search for when they’re shopping online.

Speaking of Alibaba, you were part of ONB’s Toronto trip this past fall. Our Export Development Team attended the Gateway ’17 event with over 20 New Brunswick-based organizations; tell us about that experience.

Events like that are essential, and Gateway was a very interesting and informative experience. It was also highly motivating. It will not be cheap to set up on Alibaba or JD.com; those platforms are expensive, but they do reach a massive consumer audience. We are now working at setting ourselves up on Chinese social media platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo and looking to land key opinion leaders (KOL), Chinese celebrities that could endorse us on their own social media. We’re also hiring a consultant that will help us develop that brand strategy in China.

ONB is heading east again this week as part of our big multi-sector Trade Mission to China. You’re part of the delegation again, what are you hoping to accomplish this time out?

As with previous missions, we expect ONB will lead the way for us in terms of matchmaking. That’s really what this mission is about, finding new leads while further strengthening our existing relationships. I’m optimistic that more business will come from new matchmaking efforts, and that we’ll learn even more about how to do business in China.

You learn something new every time you visit. For example, since visiting last year we’ve learned about labelling; stickers require a production date and need to be translated. For our next batch — manufactured here in Moncton — we will buy and make the stickers here. Previously, we paid to get a third party to create and apply stickers for us; you learn as you go.

This will be my fourth time in China over the past year; that’s what it takes. Right now, approximately 300 million consumers make up the Chinese middle class, and over the next 24 months, that’s expected to reach 500 million. Prelam is well positioned; they love foreign brands, our early reviews are very positive, and consumers there simply aren’t used to unique products like ours. Every time I met with buyers during the last mission I was surprised to see how much people seem to love it. There is a huge opportunity for Canadian companies there.

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March 2017 – Huddle.com

How New Brunswick’s Prelam Enterprises Freshened Up the Air Freshener Market

Moncton’s Prelam Enterprises is leading in the business of making sure your poo doesn’t stink.

The company is the maker of Just ‘a Drop, the product that founders Luc Jalbert and Don Goguen claim was the first ever to prevent odour before you, you know, go “number two.”

“Everybody kept asking ‘how much do you put in the [toilet] bowl?’ says Jalbert.  “And we kept saying ‘just a drop, that’s all you need.’ That’s how the name came about.”

Officially launched in 2005 at Walmart Canada, Just ‘a Drop had to compete with air freshening heavyweights like SC Johnson and Proctor & Gamble. But Jalbert says Just ‘a Drop was the only product on shelves at the time that offered a more … preventable neutralizing liquid solution to foul bathroom odours.

“We were the only one until a few years ago when people started copying us. So for us, it was pretty easy initially to compete against them because they didn’t have a competing product,” Jalbert says. “Then some copy-cats started to show up and that’s normal in business. We had to educate consumers, so we put in a lot of money in Canada to advertise on TV [and] educate our consumers about Just ‘a Drop and its benefits, why you use it before you go and why it really works.”

Though Prelam Enterprises put a lot of work into promoting the product nationally through advertising, Jalbert says their customers are their biggest ambassadors and are the company’s number one way of advertising.

“It makes people giggle because we’re talking about ‘number twos’, so it’s not sexy to talk about, but it’s funny … People make jokes all the time,” he says. “That’s what people seem to like. They like the fact that it works and you don’t have to be embarrassed.”

The giggle factor and the fact that it’s allowing people to openly discuss the taboo topic of bowel movements were what got Just ‘a Drop some big media attention. The product has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Howard Stern Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and CBC’s Venture.

It also got attention from competitors. Last year, Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Air Wick, approached Prelam to license its formula to use in some of their products.

“Air Wick approached us to license and make us produce for them under Just ‘a Spray, a new derivative of Just ‘a Drop,’ Jalbert says. “They are water-based formulas so we produce over a million bottles for Air Wick. So ironically, a competition approached to produce for them.”

Jalbert says being approached by Air Wick showed they created something that was making a splash.

“It was a big deal. It validated that we were an innovator in a category. We were the pioneers in that space, the bathroom,” he says. “We’re not an air freshener, we’re solely focused on your ‘number two’ situation and identified that to the point where they’ve launched in eight countries already … It’s validating that we were on the right track all along and that we were innovative.”

Prelam now has several “Just ‘a” products lines. Jalbert says in the next three months Just ‘a Drop and Just ‘a Spray will be released for retail in the United States. It’s already in stores in Mexico and Chile. There are plans this spring and summer to expand in the European and Chinese markets as well.

“Just A’ Drop is going to maintain itself. It’s like a bottle of ketchup, everybody needs it when they run out. So we’re going to keep going to market,” Jalbert says. “We’re just going to keep growing markets and expanding our territories.”

Moncton Prelam Enterprises

May 2011 – The Inside Tract

Just’a Drop is just the thing for GI sufferers.
Just’a Drop is an air freshening product developed to block (rather than mask or overpower) bathroom odours. It contains a combination of concentrated plant extracts that work to neutralize odours by forming an instant, deodorizing barrier on the surface of the toilet water – with
just one drop. Simply add a single drop from the discrete bottle into the toilet before use. One smal 15 ml bottle lasts for about 400 uses.
Just’a Drop is available in three scents: Refreshing Spring, Floral Oasis, and Eucalyptus. ( Our staff preferred the Eucalyptus scent when we tested the product.) Unlike other bathroom odour product, these scents are very subtle and do not linger in an obvious way after you flush, making them ideal for use in public restrooms or when visiting friends. They come in small bottles, suitable for purse or pocket, and as individual singles packs.
This product is also environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and safe for septic systems. Especially when compared to most other air refreshing, including aerosol sprays and harsh chemicals, Just’a Drop is a green, convenient choice.
Just’a Drop is available at numerous department stores and pharmacies across Canada, online at justadrop.ca, or by phone at 1-877-249-6846. In stores, it is normally located near the toilet paper, but you might also find it next to the household chemicals or with air fresheners. The company
offers a 30- day money-back guarantee.

Note: The GI Society has not received no remuneration from Just’ a Drop or its affiliates for this review.

October 2006 – Telegraph Journal

Local businesses always boast something new

Metro Moncton’s reputation as an important business sector continues to grow and is fueled by the ongoing efforts of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, an independant business organisation which champions growth as a commitment to both its members and the community.
There is no clearer evidence of that commitment than the eight categoris it offers in GMCC’s annual Greater Moncton Excellence awards.

Read More

April 2010: Telegraph Journal

Odour eliminator focused on changing people’s bathroom habits one drop at a time, right here in the Maritimes!

JOAN LEBLANC

MONCTON – A manufacturer of high quality household products, Prelam Enterprises Ltd. headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick. Founded by Luc Jalbert and Donald Goguen, Prelam is celebrating their 10 year anniversary.

The company is best known for their innovative product ‘Just a Drop’, a toilet odour neutralizer specially formulated to eliminate personal bathroom odours. “It’s the #1 solution to your #2 problem,” says Jalbert, who created the product.

Made from natural plant extracts and food grade colourings, ‘Just a Drop’ is totally safe for all types of toilets, safe for septic systems and is non-toxic, making it a very safe product for use anywhere.
“Just a few drops placed in the toilet forms a film over the top of the water surface, trapping odours below the water so they can’t escape into the air. One bottle of ‘Just a Drop’ is equivalent to three bottles of air freshener spray; plus it provides total elimination of odours, it doesn’t just cover them up,” he adds.
Available in 15 ml., 6 ml. bottles as well as single use pouches that are great for travel. ‘Just a Drop’ comes in three pleasant scents: the original Eucalyptus as well as the new Floral Oasis and Refreshing Spring.
The product is sold in many major retail outlets across Canada including Walmart, Zellers, Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws and in many other countries as well.

“This is totally revolutionizing the way we go to the bathroom. We’ve had people who have purchased the product, call and tell us how well it worked and that it’s improved their quality of life,” Jalbert notes.
He explains that many people today suffer from health problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chrones or various forms of colitis that cause offensive bathroom odours, which has kept them from going out into the public or even from visiting family and friends.
“It’s embarrassing, so most people would rather stay home and not have to deal with the situation. But ‘Just a Drop’ allows people to use the bathroom and not leave behind any tell-a-tale odours,” he notes. Not just for use in your home, ‘Just a Drop’ is perfect at the office, university dorms
and any other shared facilities as well as boats, recreational vehicles and in hotels and motels.

“Anywhere you need it, you can use ‘Just a Drop,” Jalbert adds.

Sales of ‘Just a Drop’, have been steadily growing, becoming one of Prelam Enterprises Ltd.’s most popular products and selling more than one million and six hundred thousand bottles to date.(…)

Competing against international heavyweights like S.C. Johnson and Procter & Gamble in the air freshener business, Prelam Enterprises Ltd. unveiled its newest products recently at the Toronto Grocery Innovation Show and was described as the “most clever of innovations this year” by Global TV.

They will be taking them on the road to Hong Kong and Vegas shows in the coming months. A currently ongoing contest sponsored by Prelam Enterprises Ltd. will see the winner take home a year’s supply of ‘Just a Drop’ Toilet Odour Neutralizer. Ask your local store for ‘Just a Drop’ and get more information on the product on their website at: www.prelam.com or check out the many comments on their Facebook site.
Also, check at www.justdrop.ca to print your Just’a Drop coupon and save 75 cents on your next Just’a Drop purchase!

January 2009: The Big Idea

Excerpt from Donny Deutsch – The Big Idea

Here’s one you’ll love. A problem every human being has that’s a little delicate. Luc Galbert came on the show to discuss his solution to this unmentionable, but very real issue, bathroom smells. The idea came to him when he was at his mother in-law’s house and he had to go. With no air fresheners in sight, he considered locking himself in the bathroom until he died of embarrassment. In that moment, Luc had an inspiration: “Everybody’s gotta go.” What if it was possible to eliminate bathroom smells altogether-not just cover them up with floral scents, but get rid of them? Over the next year, Luc researched the problem, and ultimately aligned himself with an Asian manufacturer who devised a natural, nontoxic
formula, which he called Just a Drop. The idea was to squirt a single drop into the toilet before you go, and, like magic-no bad smells. Luc tested his product by starting with everyone he knew. He gave bottles to his doctor, dentist, friends, neighbors-and the response was beyond enthusiastic. “Women especially were clamoring for it,” he said. “They told me it was better than marriage counseling.”Just a Drop is a no-brainer solution. There’s no question in my mind that Luc will make millions with his product. He’s already sold 600,000 units online and through Wal-Mart in Canada. All because he had a moment of embarrassment, and decided to make it go away for good.

July 2006: The Chronicle Herald

The sweet smell of success

This is Luc Jalbert’s $10 millions dilemna: how can he get people to talk about what they leave in the bathroom?

he answer, he believes, could transform his kitchen-table company into a $10 millions success story, almost overnight.

But only if this forty-years-old entrepreneur from Moncton , N.B., can get people talking that is. His tool of choice: the toilet bowl. The location: Montreal Grand Prix, Manhattan’s Square Garden or Toronto’s Canada Day.

Read More

June 2006: Times & Transcript

Moncton takes fresh air to the Big Apple.

New Yorkers on bathroom habits
BY JESSE ROBICHAUD
TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF

A Moncton based company is using some guerilla marketing tactics to take on air-care industry giants like Proctor & Gamble and SC Johnson.Moncton’s Luc Jalbert, vice-president of Prelam Enterprises, and his business team followed the stink all the way to Times Square in New York City this week to bring their Just’a Drop air-care product to the masses.

Just’a Drop, which is available in Moncton and nation-wide at Wal-Mart and Jean Coutu, is described as “the only air-care product that suppresses unpleasant bathroom odours at the source – before they escape into the air. Parking their shiny white porcelain toilet on the sidewalk at the foot of Virgin Mega-Store, the ragtag team did their best to cause some Big Apple commotion as they asked New Yorkers to “sit down and be counted” by taking a survey that looks into their bathroom habits and odour preferences.

They were also urging passerby to take the survey online at www.odourvoter.com.

The irreverent street campaign, which has already passed through Montreal and will touch down in Toronto on Canada Day, received a number of interesting visitors such as the world-famous Naked Cowboy, who took a seat at the throne and sang a song that gathered hordes of curious onlookers.
The Howard Stern Show also checked in to see what all the fuss was about, and ran the interview twice Wednesday.

Although Jalbert hadn’t made any arrangements with City officials prior to taking his products to the streets of NYC, Just’a Drop has indeed made quite a splash as initial looks of apprehension turned to curious smiles as strangers approached the toilet.

“It’s a guerilla activity, and for a guerilla activity you have to just show up. It’s a madhouse out here,” said a very pleased Jalbert speaking from his cellphone on Wednesday as the Odour Voter promotion continued to unfold to the sound track of New York traffic.

The operation even drew attention from some of Manhattan’s finest.

“We couldn’t believe it. Even the cops were asking us for samples.”

Without the millions of dollars juggernauts like Proctor & Gamble and SC Johnson spend on advertising, Moncton’s Prelam Enterprises doesn’t have much choice but to be creative in their push to gain North American market share in the lucrative air-care industry.

As the obvious underdog in a David & Goliath battle over the world’s toilets, Jalbert and his colleagues have clearly adopted a “go big or go home attitude” that allows them to punch way above their weight.But so far the advertising campaign is paying off for the company that produces
its biodegradable product in the Moncton Industrial Park.

Prelam is also looking to markets in Japan and the United Kingdom. “I think we’re going to make a splash in the United States. It’s the beginning of it, we still have a lot of work to do though, nothing is easy,” said Jalbert.