Why this Shark Tank Winning Baby Brand Redesigned Their Packaging Despite What Market Research Said

Danielle Stangler was at a restaurant having lunch with her family when, caught without her typical wipes on hand to clean her daughter’s face, dipped a napkin in her husband’s glass, thinking it was water. Her daughter thought it was a riot and loved it. Surprised by this reaction, Danielle realized the glass was actually lemonade.

Given her daughter’s response, she knew was on to something, and when her research revealed there was nothing like it on the market, she created NeatCheeks: a flavoured wipe for babies and toddlers. She had an initial rollout in Walgreens and even closed a deal on Shark Tank. Yet despite having this sensational start, the most important thing Danielle did was ignore compelling marketing research that her product should follow the herd when it came to what would get her noticed on the shelves. Find out how changing her product packaging style completely transformed her sales and helped her achieve the growth she sought:

Hitting the market with a new product
With a regional rollout and demos at Walgreens, the launch of Neat Cheeks was off to a great start. But when the inventor herself had trouble spotting them in-store on the shelves, Danielle feared they wouldn’t get noticed by shoppers. Her gut told her “it’s not right, the colors don’t work and it gets lost on the shelf of other products.”

Integrating Feedback

When she pitched retailer Bye Bye Baby, they brought the product back to the buyer who gave her critical feedback, claiming it was a little dark and not playful enough. Danielle says, “I was doubtful but he wouldn’t have bought otherwise so his feedback motivated me to explore the insight.” She found a company in New York, and worked hand in hand with them to design packaging that would catch people’s attention. They brought in market research where they asked consumers to give us the top three words when describing their product and what came back was what you’d expect: fresh, clean, natural.

This put her sales and marketing wisdom to the test. She realized that she could go the conventional route and let sales suffer or she could harness the innovation of her product and use differentiate to her advantage. By highlighting the fun and happiness of her product she had a chance to stand out against all the other wipes already going for “fresh, clean, natural.” NeatCheeks promoted an emotional response from using something as functional as a face wipe, and Danielle recognized it was a huge opportunity to differentiate themselves. “The designer we used were able to listen to what we wanted and what the buyer was saying and turned it into something fun and approachable without being kitchy.” Without a question, Danielle found that packaging does matter, she saw sales struggle with the old design but saw definite increase and viability with retailers as soon as new packaging rolled out last September.

Placement matters

For Danielle, shelf placement actually made it imperative that the product could easily stand out. “We are a baby product but also health and beauty as well as feeding. We’re even going to be in the back-to-school section in 100 Target stores this September.” This compelled her to ask an often-overlooked question when she looked at marketing and packaging design: “what is the consumer doing three second before and after using our product?” For Danielle, her consumers are feeding a baby or washing their hands. To help people connect these moments to her product she knew she had to disrupt what market research told her and use the insights to actually validate a stronger direction, that her branding needed to relay a happy feeling and fun, not just all about freshness.

It’s a bright future for NeatCheeks. She started with a baby wipe with new flavours in the works, but Danielle realizing the opportunities in other vertical categories within personal care as well as cosmetic. Keep a lookout!

Connect with NeatCheeks on Hubba and be sure the heart their products!