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Perfect Kit

Entice customers with all-in-one solutions that save time and money.

We're a convenience-loving culture that likes everything right at our fingertips. So products marketed as all-in-one kits fit consumers just perfectly. From do-it-yourself gardening kits complete with shovels, gloves, seeds and dirt, to make-your-own hot sauce kits with spices, recipes and empty bottles with labels to personalize, virtually any kind of product can be packaged as part of a kit. "People are about as lazy as [they] can get," says Alexander Berardi, small-business marketing expert and author of Never Offer Your Comb to a Bald Man. "If you group everything together for people... so they don't have to do anything, it's going to sell better."

Dr. Carolyn Siegal, a Beverly Hills, California, podiatrist and entrepreneur, knows that firsthand--she put together everything a nail-spa customer would need to get a top-notch manicure and pedicure. Dismayed by the number of patients with nail infections, Siegal wanted to encourage women to bring their own metal manicure tools with them to nail salons to avoid spreading infection. But she knew people wouldn't do it without an easy, all-in-one carrying case. So she designed Dr. Siegal's Savvy Nail Kits, which include all the necessary professional manicure tools in a small, fashionable carrying case. "It's very easy to use, and it's easy to throw in your glove compartment," says Siegal, who launched her business, Dr. Carolyn Collection, in late 2004. Siegal's knowledge of her core customer's lifestyle and needs has helped push sales well into the six figures.

Knowing your customers is key, says Berardi, as is knowing exactly what they want from the kit. A bath-gel kit isn't really for getting the consumer clean, he notes--it's more about relaxing and pampering; that distinction will help you create and package your kit more effectively. And check out some other kits on the market for ideas. The SafetyChick Kit comes with items like a personal alarm and a pepper-spray key chain. The Dirty Diva Sin Tin from Sinful Suds comes with toothpaste, face wash and even calling cards for unexpected overnight dates. And for the guys, check out the Mr. Beer at-home brew kits. Also look at the Working Guy's Survival Kit, the Working Girl's Survival Kit and the Wedding Day Survival Kit at Ms. & Mrs..

This story appears in the November 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »