In business, being the first to market with your product is one of the key ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. The first to market is often the one that is able to best anchor their brand in the minds of consumers. While this is certainly true, there is something else that successful brands are able to accomplish in order to maintain their dominance in the space. Jim Dygas, co-founder of Urban Accents, understands this well.

Dygas and Knibbs had been creating food-related gifts for friends and family for years, so they had a general sense that it could scale into a viable business. However, it wasn’t until Knibbs lost his corporate job that they decided it was time to channel all of their efforts into creating Urban Accents.

Growing up, a love of food and the value of shared cooking experiences was instilled within Knibbs. This perspective allowed him to see an absence in the spice market for progressive and stylish spice blends. Rather than offer bottles of single spices, they’d create blends that captured the essence of food culture across the globe.

They spent 6 months conducting market research before they were ready to launch. When that time came, Knibbs cashed out his 401K and received a small investment from a handful of friends to help launch the company.

They began selling their product to several small stores and then decided to try to get it on the shelves of Crate & Barrel. In the late-90s, phone calls were still the best means of business communication so they decided to give them a ring.

Much to their surprise, they were connected to the buyer at Crate & Barrel who was interested. After trying some samples, she called them back and placed a $10,000 order for them to create a spice blend for a pizza set. Up until that point, they had been blending the spices at home in large plastic containers – it was clear that they would have to upgrade to a functional business space.

Dygas has a background in packaging and graphic design, so he has always understood the importance of creating a strong visual identity to catch consumers’ attention. When they first started bottling their blends, it was his decision to use square glass bottles with brushed aluminum caps. Creating a quality product and understanding the significance of packaging has been a key factor in their success.

In 2016 Urban Accents became a $15 million a year business, and the growth continues to be steady. Dygas says the key has been to diversify their product lineup. Now that spice blends are more commonplace, they have expanded their lineup to include veggie seasoning blends, grilling rubs, and even sauces.

In addition to staying ahead of the market by extending their product offerings, they have also updated the way that many of their blends are displayed to further set them apart. Dygas was introduced to Professional Image at a trade show, and he realized that an upgrade in packaging could help could accomplish this goal.

Use of large paperboard packaging not only created a larger display on store shelves, but it also provided them with a space to showcase colorful photos of what consumers can expect the finished product to look like. It’s one thing to imagine what Asian Curry and Honey Glazed carrots will look like, it’s another thing to entice consumers with a larger visually appealing photo on the front of the product’s packaging.

Urban Accents has chosen to incorporate Professional Image into as many projects as possible as a trusted custom packaging vendor.

“Professional Image over-delivers all the time,” Dygas said. “We have made our name in the business through being creative and being nimble – Professional Image is the exact same way.”

Overall, it’s the willingness of Professional Image to try new solutions and our ability to consistently deliver quality custom packaging that keeps our clients satisfied. “Some vendors cut corners to try to make their lives easier,” Dygas said. “Professional Image doesn’t do that – they make my life easier.”

Over the past 20+ years, Dygas and Knibbs have created their own path by pursuing what makes them happy. Dygas encourages those around him to find what they love and do more of it. Considering that during every moment of their off hours Dygas and Knibbs are either feeding friends or letting friends feed them, it’s clear that they have found true success within Urban Accents. At Professional Image, we’re proud to play a small role in ensuring that they maintain that success.

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