Welcome to our blog – I’m Barry O’Dwyer, founder of Personalised Product Consultants. For those of you who haven’t heard of us and are visiting our website for the first time, you’re probably wondering who we are, what we do, and how we got to where we are today.
I’m a creative type and although I don’t profess to be a ‘techie’ – after all, that’s what my technical support team is for – there are certainly technical aspects to my job. We offer a niche service in the branding and personalising of a stable of related products. I decided very early on that if I offered too many personalised products, I would never become truly knowledgeable about them. It was at this point that I had a ‘light-bulb’ moment, upon discovering that three of the world’s largest household products were not leveraging promotional merchandise to increase their brand visibility.
Like many businesses, my niche evolved organically rather than following a predefined strategy. I was asked by an ad agency if I could supply personalised tea sachets and cartons for VISA. With no existing provider on the market, although it was a challenge, I soon found myself in the tea business. Some weeks later, the same agency phoned me and asked: ‘I don’t suppose you do personalised coffee? We need a quantity of sachets to promote broadband for BT. Again, there was no existing company personalising coffee, as the coffee manufacturers at the time were too busy producing coffee for supermarkets and own-label brands. And just like that, I found myself in the coffee business as well.
It was then that the light bulb really lit up. This time, the voice on the phone enthused: ‘We are the agency launching a new coffee-making machine and we need some personalised sugar for the NESCAFE Dolce Gusto. Can you do it? Suddenly establishing a foothold in the sugar market, I made up my mind that I would set out to be the go-to specialist in the sector. Free from ties with manufacturers or packers, I was able to move beyond traditional offerings to provide a range of innovative and personalised packaging options to suit any requirements.
Wunderbar. Eureka. Call it what you like; I had found my niche, despite not following the “techie” route. Personalising tea, coffee and sugar became my core business, offering clients a bespoke service to enhance brand visibility.
The more I immersed myself in each commodity, the more I learned. If we take tea, for example, I soon discovered that tea-drinking spans all social and economic groups, gender, age and religion, 365 days a year. In the UK, we drink 165 million cups of tea a day. How many promotional products out there can you say that about? Right from the start, my focus was on providing quality customer care, being knowledgeable about the products I offered, and using my considerable experience on all matters relating to design and print production.
The latter began when I was a student at Maidstone College of Art and School of Printing, where, apart from print production, I studied Typography for three years. One of my fellow tea drinkers in the college canteen was a softly-spoken chap from Bradford with a slight build and bleached-blonde hair. He was a visiting lecturer to the art students, having just graduated from the Royal College of Art. He began most sentences with ‘the way I see it’. Thirty years later, I was given one of his books which was entitled: ‘That’s the Way I See It’. Little did I know, my companion was to go on to become Britain’s most famous and influential living artist, David Hockney.
Twenty years later, despite returning to Kent University as a visiting lecturer to the Graphic Design students, I realised my real passion remained within the business world, and so I continued to develop my design and business expertise through my company. My design work has won many awards and has been featured in many design publications including Modern Publicity, Designers in Britain, Graphics/Britain, Design & Art Direction and the Swiss Graphis Design Annual. I have also worked on design projects for the Post Office.
On the production side, I have designed and published over thirty books including JCB: The First Fifty Years, Superbrands: an insight into 50 of the world’s Superbrands, The Best Ads Never Seen, and The World’s 100 Best Posters. In addition to book design, I have also been responsible for book production in the UK, China, South Korea and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, my overseas sugar projects are handled by my partners in France, Germany, Poland and Spain. This international experience is what I feel qualifies me to use the word ‘Consultant’ in my company name.
To learn more about Barry’s story, or for further information on the awards, publications or international partners mentioned above, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 0845 2300 134. If you’re considering bolstering your client’s brand by personalising tea, coffee or sugar, talk to us to today and we’ll be pleased to provide our professional advice free of charge.