January 2018 : Not-so-sweet smells spell success for N.B. business
By Alan Cochrane – January 9, 2018
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.