THE BIRTH OF THE LARKIN IDEA
Digger Odell Publications ©2008
Until the beginning of 1892 the business was called the J. D. Larkin & Co. The birth of Larkin idea was delivered on the eve of death of the J. D. Larkin & Co. Sales of the Christmas Box not only drove profits to new heights, it also opened the way for the emergence of the Larkin Soap Company incorporated under that name in February of 1892. The genius of the Larkin plan was conceived not much more than nine months earlier.
"Last year there appeared in our columns an announcement which gave a description of the Chautauqua Piano Lamp which J. D. Larkin & Co. offered to give to all who would buy a box of Sweet Home Soap." It all began with a simple piano lamp. Larkin would increase sales of his large carton of soaps and bottled products by giving away something more substantial than was given in the Christmas Box. In doing so, he was able to raise the price from six to ten dollars. This was the light that lit the way to growth,
No doubt it played well with the investors and stockholders who provided the money Larkin needed for expansion. Elbert Hubbard, Larkin's long time associate, retired and left the future in John's hands. With the new headquarters built on the lots he had purchased some years earlier and the backing of eager investors, the company was poised for expansion.
1892 was the beginning of a massive advertising campaign that would last for years and finally make Larkin a household word. Full page ads appeared in all of the major and minor publications most likely to be read by the lady of the household. The Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Arthur's Home Journal and dozens of religious publications benefited from the advertising dollars flowing from the newly organized Larkin Soap Company. But next Larkin idea would eclipse both the Christmas Box and the Piano Lamp.