After a visit to France, Lisa Tremain, owner of L. Tremain, brought home more than her suitcase. She returned with a full fledged product idea and business plan, inspired by her time there. While most travelers are happy to tote home the impulse buys they pick up at local souvenir shops, Tremain’s interest was focused on a unique kitchenware item used by the French, with profitable potential in the U.S. In 1995, Tremain introduced her company and the Butter Bell Crock to the consumer world, advertising on QVC and through print ads to share the newest innovation in unrefrigerated butter. Now, Tremain has expanded her business as a supplier, relying on independent retailers to market the countertop crock that holds spreadable and unspoiled butter, promising a profit of keystone or more.
Made from new bone china, the ceramic crock’s unique design keeps butter at the perfect “spreading” consistency by reflecting outside heat, while insulating and cooling the butter. “Butter will stay fresh for a couple weeks without going bad. You won’t have to microwave the butter, and since it isn’t in the refrigerator it won’t pick up odors in the flavor,” explains Tremain. Flavor and freshness is protected by an airtight seal of water at the base of the crock. As long as the crock is stored away from heat or sunlight, the water can be changed out every three days and replaced with fresh, cold water. Holding up to one full stick of softened butter, the lid is packed firmly and placed upside down in the base of the crock full of water. Butter lovers only need to lift the lid to be served.
Butter Crock Sells Best with Demonstration
Being a unique item and marketed best by demonstration, Tremain encourages the product in independent retail stores, including gift shops, boutiques and high-end grocery stores. “In a chain store the product wouldn’t receive the attention it needs, and customers wouldn’t receive the demonstration it requires,” she says. “It has become a hit among independents. I have shops calling and asking for the product because customers have come in looking for it.” To help in her buyers’ marketing efforts, Tremain supplies an instructional POP display with step by step directions on how to use the product, and promises a directory spot on her online store locator, pointing customers to retailers closest to them who carry the Butter Bell Crock.
And while Americans may share a love or at least a preference for butter, they don’t always share the same stylistic taste in their kitchens. The Butter Bell Crock was originally available in a white raised floral design and a hand-painted raised floral design, and has evolved into many styles suitable for any kitchen type. “Every couple years I introduce a new pattern or design. I’ve added solid colors, antique scrollwork, and our newest café collection provides customers with darker color choices. The one thing that remains consistent in most of my designs is the displayed English and French word for ‘butter,’” Tremain notes. Wholesaling on average for $10 to $12.50, retailers can easily afford the minimum order of one case (six units), which retails at a cost of $60 to $65.
For more information:
L. Tremain Inc.
P.O. Box 10728
Marina Dell Rey, CA 90295