A partnership driven to create an unparalleled customer experience
In 2016 Once Upon was a small company from the north of Sweden. The start-up quickly made big waves in the photobook market. Five years later, their ingenious photobook designing app has over 2m downloads, is available in 12 languages, and ships to 87 countries. RPI came into the picture in 2019 when Once Upon was looking for a print partner for their rapidly growing company.
At RPI, we are proud of the partnership we have built together. We asked Johan Schiller, one of the founders and Chief Officer of Growth at Once Upon, to tell us more about the company and the experience with RPI.
The success story of Once Upon
We offer something that the customers like and appreciate - a simple way to design a photobook that consistently produces great results.
Johan Schiller, Chief Growth Officer at Once Upon
A better way to design photobooks
The idea for Once Upon came from Lina Andersson. As a customer herself, she was looking for a simple way to design photobooks. When she could not find it, she decided to create it. She proposed her idea to Johan. Together with a group of digital designers, they developed a mobile application to offer potential book creators a fun and enjoyable experience.
In 2016 Once Upon launched in Sweden with a local print partner. Customers loved the user-friendly interface and the clean book design, and soon Once Upon decided to enter the German market. In 2018 the company experienced rapid growth, and a year later started the partnership with RPI.
In 2018, we entered many markets in Western Europe. And we were looking for a global partner, a company that offered good quality and pricing, but also could help us in multiple markets. We were in touch with a couple of alternatives, so you could say that it was the first time that we made a conscious effort evaluating our potential print partners.
Johan Schiller, founder and CGO at Once Upon
The partnership with RPI evolved in different stages. Initially, Once Upon considered the European branch of RPI as an option for the Dutch market. But the decision to cooperate was a combination of several factors. Quality, price, scale, and a professional supply chain played a role, but the global nature of RPI that allows Once Upon to expand to new markets without forming new partnerships sealed the deal.
Since then, Once Upon and RPI have cooperated on multiple levels. Senior employees of both companies are involved in the bigger picture, setting the framework for the partnership, negotiating the conditions, looking for new markets, and exploring new ideas. Tech teams pull together on every new integration, and the finance departments communicate when necessary.
As an outstanding customer experience remains our shared priority, Customer Support teams on both sides of the partnership keep in close touch to ensure a great customer experience even when something goes wrong. Sharing insights from such customer interactions helps both companies learn, improve, and grow.
The best customer experience
While Johan says that Once Upon is still a relatively small player in the market, we believe it is just a question of time. With the ongoing product development and a savvy marketing strategy, the company aims to offer the best in class customer experience, grow in their core markets, and expand geographically. At RPI, we are excited to be a part of the plan. Currently, we are working together to connect Once Upon with our facilities in the United States and test the North American market.
Sustainability really matters to Once Upon and all its employees. Johan points out that Once Upon is still early in its journey to become 100% sustainable but is clear that they have very high ambitions:
"We started a serious initiative to map our carbon footprint, evaluate our impact, and see where we can improve. RPI has been an important partner in this, helping us collect the information and exploring initiatives we can start together. It’s early for both companies, but that’s something we are excited about. To push each other to help change the whole industry."
We appreciate a partner that pushes us to be better. Together with Once Upon, we managed to remove plastic from the product packaging. Once Upon also takes advantage of our prInternet network to print sustainably and close to customers. Currently, we produce for Once Upon through local partners in Germany and Australia. The local production in the UK is about to be launched.
The partnership operates reliably through digital channels and we can safely say that a real connection has been made. However, due to the limitations and disruptions caused by Covid-19, we have yet to meet in person. We hope that the circumstances will soon allow our partners from Once Upon to visit our production facilities. We would love to have them experience our production process and confirm that their books are in good hands.
We value our partnership with Once Upon. As a partner, we are committed to their goals and ambitions. As a print provider, we aim to offer the best service, quality, and products. We believe that the success of our partnership is rooted in the ambition we share - to create an unparalleled customer experience.