22 years old is a young age to achieve anything, let alone achieving the launch of a meteoric entrepreneurial success story from your own bedroom. But in the case of Jordan Shreeve, Founder and Director of packaging marketplace platform inke, that’s exactly what happened.
Having worked as a salesman in the packaging industry, inke was born from Shreeve’s frustrations at observing that technology in the industry had failed to keep up with the modern consumer. With suppliers behind the times holding a stranglehold on packaging processes, brands and retailers looking to source branded packaging options were often left dealing with a laborious and frequently expensive process.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to run my own business and operation. The concept of inke packaging was realised when, at the time, I was working in the print/packaging industry as a salesman for corrugated (cardboard) products,” explains Shreeve, “It was here working with brands [where] I saw that the industry lacked not just consumer/technology innovation, but [there was also] a clear gap in communication between manufacturers and customers.”
Confronting the frustrations he was observing, a 22 year old Shreeve set to work on plans to disrupt the stagnant packaging industry and modernise solutions of accessing custom packaging for brands, utilising a personal investment of $20,000 to launch inke from a bedroom in his family home.
That $20,000 has become more than $10 million in revenue, as brands and retailers have flocked to inke’s accessible, user-friendly web interface through which they can gain instant access to pricing, design templates and ordering tools for getting their branded packaging ambitions off the ground.
“From the beginning, I always wanted inke to be a disruptor to this traditional industry, as a modern-tech disruptive solution that allowed brands to order custom printed packaging, manufactured here in Australia in the simplest way possible,” Shreeve tells Power Retail, “In practice, this was realised through us building an interface that was easy to use, cutting out the unnecessary technical requirements and simplifying the process for our users.”
“Our goal is to be the most approachable & efficient option in the market, catering to all sizes of business and helping small businesses scale as demand meets supply, allowing for the most cost-effective & simplest solution to them in comparison to our competitors.”
Shreeve’s ingenuity and ambition in seeking to modernise the solutions for accessing custom packaging has since allowed him opportunities to work with some Australian retail’s biggest brands, alongside global brands such as Netflix.
“Since inception, we’ve helped over 8,500 brands improve their customer experience through custom packaging, including some of Australia’s biggest brands from the likes of Cotton On, Mecca, Netflix, Target, Lululemon & more,” Shreeve says, “Of course, it is always flattering and exciting to be working with high-profile brands that we all know and love, and something as the Founder of the business I am stoked to see), especially given we’ve never had a direct-outbound sales strategy.”
“Rather, all customer acquisitions come organically.”
The organic process of how inke has attracted brands to its interface, and putting trust in inke as a whole, comes largely as a result of direct rewards from what custom packaging options provide for brands. As brands have observed these rewards, the result has seen inke itself enjoy rewards of its own.
“I’d like to credit our success to not just our unique and innovative offering, being direct to manufacture access to custom packaging at no minimum order or set up fees, but to our community of customers who have realised the benefits of custom packaging,” Shreeve says, “Which has caused a snowball effect for us as their products are shared via social media or word of mouth, encouraging other brands to keep up to date with this growing trend and customer experience expectation.”
Now, with e-commerce predicted to continue its growth in Australia – already the eleventh largest e-commerce market in the world – Shreeve and inke are preparing to continue their meteoric rise. In turn, it hopes, the business will affirm itself as the go-to hub of custom packaging options for brands of all descriptions.
“We’re working on rolling out our latest update to the brand & interface in the coming months, which will take us to a new level of what we can offer customers regardless of needs and requirements, allowing more brands to get involved with custom packaging and improve their customer experiences as e-commerce grows and this element (a memorable unboxing experience) of the shopping experience becomes a growing customer expectation,” Shreeve offers, “We’re working on becoming a full-circle offering, improving our product offering and expanding the services customers can utilise, as well as introducing a rewards program to help customers scale and offset the costs of packaging.”
“Another key focus for us will be around spotlighting our customer successes and educating brands around the benefits that custom packaging has to offer in terms of customer retention and overall brand experience.”
Embracing such solutions as that offered by inke, and seeking to understand ways to overall enhance customer’s experiences, is one thing Shreeve points to as particularly vital for brands hoping to succeed into the future.
“It’s vital to adapt to new technology and innovate your offering,” says Shreeve, “It’s the reason we’ve had the success to date through building a simplified technological solution for our customers rather than a ‘stagnant’ traditional sales offering.”
With inke having seen a rise best described as meteoric, having only launched less than four years ago and grown at exponential rates since, there is seemingly no limit to the highs that Shreeve and his forward-thinking business could yet reach.
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