You may not have heard of Harold Schafer but it’s likely that you know the product he sold: Mr. Bubble. Schafer was a door to door salesman that eventually ran a major corporation, the Gold Seal Company, which at one point had products in every home in America.

But Mr. Bubble not only made Schafer a rich person, it created an entire industry of products. In the 1950s, bubble baths were considered a luxury only for movie stars. Schafer wanted to capitalize on the 600 million baths/year and expand the use of products beyond just soap. He insisted on fun packaging for Mr. Bubble and the rest is history. Bath products now account for $325 million in sales and bubble baths are an affordable option for everyone.

Schafer did not invent the process of taking baths, bubble bath or the use of products in the tub rather he saw an opportunity for more people to enjoy something that was, at the time, only for the rich. He made millions on products that only cost a dollar or two by making them ubiquitous in every home.

You may not achieve the success of Harold Schafer but you can learn from him and see gaps between what is and what could be. Why can’t bubble baths be for kids? Why couldn’t high-end mixers be used by ordinary cooks? Why aren’t home security systems affordable for everyone? Rather than focusing on inventing new products or services, reimagine the audiences you serve.

Source: Mr. Bubble – The Harold Schafer Story (movie)

 Thanks, Mark!

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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