The Wrapping Paper Company are a successful Australian manufacturer that can teach a thing or two about running a successful online business and how to go about choosing the right tools to make it happen. They’re also a beloved Saasu customer.
We interviewed Harry Dam, one of Wrapco’s founders, and he shared the pitfalls and successes of running Wrapco online and how he overcame some of his biggest challenges in business.
We explore Wrapco’s story in-depth to give you inspiration, a sense of what’s involved in running a successful online business and how you can use Saasu, combined with other tools, to make it happen. Let’s dive in.
What’s your business and product? Describe it in 1 to 3 sentences.
The Wrapping Paper Company Pty Ltd (Wrapco) is Australia’s leading designer and manufacturer of gift wrap products and accessories for complimentary gift wrapping. We’re a B2B company that started trading in June 1997 and the only manufacturer in Australia producing a comprehensive range. We also export to New Zealand and other customers worldwide.
How did you come up with the idea for your business? Give us a little bit of the history.
My wife Carolyn & I ran a graphic design studio for a few years prior to starting Wrapco. We designed product packaging and developed marketing strategies for clients which would often generate huge sales revenue for our clients. The opportunity came up when a client’s business entered voluntary liquidation. We decided to buy the business and start it again as Wrapco, so we could design and manufacture products of our own for retailers. It was a steep learning curve for us and during the first 8 years we continued running our design studio on the side.
How big is your business now?
We’ve become the leader in our market segment. We employ 11 full time staff and, when necessary, casual staff in peak seasons. Our manufacturing plant is just under 2000 square metres and is based in Braeside, Victoria.
What do you think were the key success factors that got your business from its humble beginnings to what it is now?
Until Wrapco entered the market, poor design, quality and service by suppliers indicated there was a great opportunity to lift the game. We were determined to improve those three areas. We launched new products into the market and we continue to find new designs and ideas to remain relevant to our customers. Because we manufacture locally, we can be lean in our systems, inventory and product design. We launch new designs for each season or occasion. This makes it hard for our opposition to keep up. Sadly, our designs are often blatantly copied and manufactured overseas by our competitors, but there’s little we can do to control this. We’ve found that litigation doesn’t work so we continue to design new product.
What’s your favourite part of running an e-commerce business?
It’s 24/7 and it’s never off. Although we always had a website, it wasn’t until 2003 that we got an eCommerce site. Before then, we employed 6 salespeople in Australia but found it challenging to reach potential customers in the entire country. At that time we surveyed our 2000 customers to understand how we could connect better and the majority were eager to do it online. For small retail stores this was a real bonus as they often don’t have time to see sales reps. That’s when we started eCommerce and never looked back. We now have just under 30,000 customers online. We no longer have sales reps and we rely 100% on our 3 websites to sell. We also use newsletters and social media to communicate with our existing and potential customers. It still staggers me when orders are placed after midnight. You wonder what people are up to, but that’s the beauty of eCommerce.