Meet Caitie Gelhausen. When she started college in 2017, Caitie had a laser focus on her career path. Majoring in entrepreneurism, she wanted her own business – just like her other classmates. But unlike her peers, Caitie wanted to start her own business the day she stepped on the High Point University campus. Caitie’s only problem was…what kind of business? For advice, she asked her Dad, an aeronautics entrepreneur himself for insight. He told her to be observant and look for a common problem in need of a solution.
And that’s just what she did. Caitie picks up the story:
During my freshman year of college, I noticed that nearly every student had either a cardholder or phone grip on their phone, but never both at the same time. Why wasn’t anyone using these two extremely popular phone accessories together? I began searching for a product that combined the two, and to my surprise, there was nothing out there! Starting from that moment, I made it my mission to create a product that offers both the convenience of a wallet and the functionality of a phone grip. From all of this, Socket Lock-It was born.
– Catie Gelhausen, Founder and CEO
Socket Lock-It is in The Haus
So Caitie had her business idea…but how to execute it? First, she drew up some preliminary sketches and got guidance from both her professors and Dad who has grown his own business over the past 30+ years. Caitie’s next step was to contact her father’s patent attorney to ensure Socket Lock-It was in fact patentable.
This was all happening why Caitie was on an accelerated 3-year graduation program AND playing golf.
Needless to say, Caitie needed more help so she hired her first employee – Mom. With Mom’s sales and fundraising experience, Caitie got her first order for 38 thousand Socket Lock-Its. But they had no product manufactured, as they were still waiting on the molds to be delivered. Once manufacturing kicked into high gear, Caitie’s company now had a name, “The Haus” and it was time to source a packaging partner.
Rohrer – and so much more
The Haus is committed to being an All-American eco-friendly company. After doing a Google search and making some calls, The Haus chose Rohrer. Some may argue that a small business just starting out would select a local ‘mom-and-pop’ packager, rather than an industry leader like Rohrer. But Caitie and company wanted more than a packager, they wanted a marketing partner who could help nurture their growth every step of the way in the retail space. And that’s just what they got with Rohrer.
Because of time and budget considerations, Rohrer suggested their Quick Clam. This is a great option for a market entry product requiring no additional tooling costs. It allows for customizing the internal cavity following the contours of product within a standardized construct. For the insert card, Rohrer added color to the back of the card, to add more eye appeal when reading the instructions.
It was time to ship. So, The Haus started packing the product from their fulfillment center AKA their kitchen!
The first 38K went like hotcakes and customers wanted to buy more. By now, Caitie was graduating from college and could dedicate her time to growing Socket Lock-It. In September 2020, The Haus got an invitation to Walmart’s open call which led to another meeting with two buyers a month later. Over the next six months, Walmart wanted Socket Lock-It not only to be sold on a national level, but in their center aisle bins for maximum exposure. Walmart wanted to give Socket Lock-It the red-carpet treatment!
Redesign for the big time
The original clamshell brought pricing challenges and would not conform with Walmart’s rigorous standards. So, this was when the Rohrer team could not only help with a new package design but help with navigating the overall retail space – especially Walmart’s strict standards.
The new package was a two-card trapped blister that cut their costs in half. It also reduced their plastic footprint by 80% which supported their eco-friendly commitment. The front card used a four-color process on SBS2 stock with a water-seal heat coating on the back. Four colors are also on the back where the instructions are printed plus something special: Caitie’s story. Rohrer felt that it was so inspirational, it should be shared with customers. It also was a ‘feel good’ marketing strategy. Rohrer also introduced them to a pack-out company near their Indiana location, to streamline fulfillment with Walmart.
Results to date
By April 2021, Socket Lock-It will have found its way into 3,055 Walmart stores. And that’s just the beginning. Projected sales trajectory is 1 million units in the very near future. Caitie is more than a college girl with a great idea, she is the inspiration that the American Dream is alive and well, and Rohrer helped turn that dream into a reality.