2021 has been a busy and excellent year thus far here at GWD Ltd. Our last blog post detailed our work with a new US customer at Fluent Wines and we have recently completed a job with another new customer ADMM Ltd (Audiophile Digital Music Masters Ltd).
ADMM is a UK based specialist organisation handling distribution, support and marketing of Melco and complimentary products in the UK and other EU markets. ADMM is the go-to resource for everything relating to the finest digital music reproduction.
As a construct, the box we’ve made for ADMM is a relatively simple box and a lid, albeit of very high quality. The design is printed in 4 Colour Process with a matt laminate wrapped round a black-lined 1500mic board. This gives the box a pleasant, solid feel, with a softened appearance due to the matt laminate.
ADMM were very pleased with the boxes and we are lined up to make a further supply later on in the year.
In this instance of course, the product and packaging is not about ‘gifting’ as such, but about quality and functionality. The quality of the packaging needs to remain of a top standard as products in the technical sector are often of high-value and hence benefit from (and can carry) high value packaging. Using bland and/or poor quality packaging to display valuable products is detrimental across any marketplace.
This product is an excellent example of how our services are usable in different marketplaces. In the past we have made boxes and high-end packaging for all manner of products, from industrial through to medical – not just stunning boxes for florists and chocolatiers!
A word on quantities – although we do runs that extend into the many thousands, we frequently do much smaller runs of boxes – the quantities we are making for ADMM are in the hundreds for example. This is one of the advantages with dealing with a ‘real’ company, based and manufacturing in the UK, who have control of their own process and distribution.
If you have any technical, industrial or scientific products that would benefit from quality presentation packaging, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Now….it would be fair to say that we love a glass of wine here at GWD Particularly the crisp and fruity wines that come from the Napa Valley. Imagine our pleasure then when we were contacted by the marvellous Fluent Wine Company from California.
Fluent Wines specialise in high-quality rosés, sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs. The brainchild of Rob Harrison, who moved to the Napa Valley in his late 20’s, their mission statement is to ‘achieve the full potential of grapes selected from the finest California vineyards to create wine that truly inspires a profound moment on your palate.’
Last summer (when we were still reeling from the first lockdown), we were first contacted by the wine company, who had found us online and told us they were interested in placing on order with us for a presentation box for three bottles of wine.
Without wanting to appear hubristic this is a good example of the niched (and quality) nature of our work here at GWD Ltd. The client didn’t want to import from China to the States and had been impressed with what he had seen of our work on our website and after an extensive search through the United States and Europe, they chose GWD Ltd for our quality and service over any other company.
The packaging was created to hold three bottles of wine. Initial thoughts were to manufacture an internal cardboard fitment which would secure the bottles in transit, however the client settled on a foam insert when he came across a US company that manufacture a totally biodegradable foam which actually dissolves in water.
After the box and lid design had been finalised and sampled (so that transit tests could be carried out), and the graphics had been confirmed (Fluent Wines work with a graphic designer in New York so on more than one occasion we were on a Zoom call across three time zones!), the quoted price was confirmed. Mr Harrison then placed an order for 2900 boxes, with 1400 to be shipped in Dec/Jan and the balance to be called off later in 2021. The first 1400 were shipped in the first week of Jan and although the ship arrived in San Francisco bay five weeks later it took another 2-3 weeks before they were unloaded and delivered to the client’s warehouse.
The foam ‘base’ is another example of the huge shift towards environmentally friendly packaging solutions that we have touched on elsewhere in this blog. Below is a short video or the completed product:
Interestingly, all of these boxes are to be used for online sales. In our blog recently we have spoken in various articles about this ‘sea-change’ in sales avenues. This has been necessitated predominantly, of course, by the Global pandemic of the past 15 months or so but as CoVid continues to ease there seems to be little change in the demand for packaging for online products. It’s almost as though peoples’ purchasing habits have been changed fundamentally and permanently. We shall see.
We are greatly enjoying our on-going work with the chaps at Fluent Wines long may it continue. Oh, and if you haven’t tried wines from the Napa Valley we wholeheartedly recommend that you do!
We have discussed elsewhere in our blog how the unprecedented events of the last year have affected the retail market in the UK and abroad. Who would have thought that we are almost a year into the outbreak and still under lockdown, and that businesses, both great and small, remain under tremendous pressure?
A number of companies have gone under, or course, but many more have been extremely creative and innovative during the pandemic. The growth of on-line platforms has been almost exponential – Boohoo and Asos are prime examples with the former recently buying out Debenhams(!!). Firms with a predominantly store-based, retail sales method of getting their goods to market have turned progressively towards internet sales to compete and/or survive.
Statistics from the ONS have shown that the proportion of total sales that took pace online had grown by over 10% when comparing the period of the March to August 2020, against the same period for the previous year, a trend that has continued to grow substantially.
As the UK’s premier designers and manufacturers of high quality presentation packaging, we have had to adapt (and adapt swiftly) to these changes in the sales chain. We spoke of our adaptions in the summer of last year. It was crucial for us to move with our clients’ demands. A good example would our on-going work with the marvellous Lismore Food Company of Waterford, Ireland.
Lismore Foods have a long family history in fine food and drink, which stretches back some 200 years as grocers, bakers and wine/spirit merchants. In their own words they are ‘proud to continue this fine tradition of delivering excellence within our taste and packaging.’ In turn we are delighted to be providing a key part of that packaging for them 😊.
With non-essential retail closed, packaging of high end products for on-line sales has taken on a very high importance for Lismore – especially with Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday and Easter fast approaching. In this case GWD provide these orange ‘hat’ boxes which are used as ‘hampers’ for Lismore’s luxury foodstuffs. The company ordered two sizes of these round hat boxes from us last year for the first time for their Christmas sales and these have (happily) gone so well that they have already re-ordered and added a third, smaller size. A fourth size is in planning and the sampling process will begin shortly.
Our designers work closely with all our clients in the sampling process to guarantee the end product is correct. Fortunately we have the wherewithal to turn around orders quickly – Lismore’s were actually very low on stock a week or so ago, due to unexpected demand, and although their next order wasn’t scheduled until the end of the month, we were able to make a supply over the weekend for delivery the following week. I think you’ll agree that the final product looks great!
This ability to make such a quick ‘turn around’ is one of the benefits of working with a UK based manufacturer who has control of their production process – as much as Covid allows, of course. We continue to work hard to keep our staff safe at work, with sanitising stations, medical grade masks and PPE, screens in place wherever possible and social distancing regulations. We also have maximum ventilation in our factory with as many doors and windows open as possible – even in this weather (we all wrap up warm!!)
With their shops currently closed, Rococo are actively boosting their online sales and have required extra deliveries from us at the last minute before the Christmas period. Once again, we were able to fulfil their requirements at short notice. Keep an eye out for their offerings for Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday and Easter featuring our presentation packaging!
If your company is struggling with demand for packaging please do not hesitate to get in touch!
Christmas is likely to be an awful lot different this year.
Back in the nineties, HRH The Queen was widely quoted as describing 1992 as her ‘annus horriblis’. 2020 has been the annus horriblis for a great many people, as numerous memes over Facebook are very happy to remind us!
At the moment it’s hard to imagine what the festive season will bring. Our part of Essex had been assigned as ‘Tier 2’ in the Government’s scheme designating the regional severity of the Covid19 virus. Many parts of the UK were ‘Tier 3’, the most restrictive category. Subsequently, Wales has implemented a ‘firebreak’ and England has enforced its second full lockdown on November 4th, although fortunately for us, manufacturing has been allowed to continue. The lockdown is due to end on December the 2nd, but who can be certain of what may ensue? It seems clear though that there will be a return to a ‘tier’ system at least.
In ‘Tier 3’ people are forbidden to associate with any other household – either indoors or out. The ‘rule of 6’ is likely to apply to all of us throughout December. Christmas cheer might be hard to find this year.
For many of our clients the closure of retail outlets prior to Christmas is a scary prospect. However, as we have described in this blog before many of them have concentrated their efforts towards online sales. We would like to show a few examples of our work here, which has helped with this online sales process.
The images above show examples of presentation boxes we have made this year for our friends at Bettys of Harrogate. As frequent readers of our blog will know we have been enjoying a great business relationship with Bettys for many years. The top image shows a Christmas chocolate box with gold foiling on the lid and window. It features environmentally friendly dividers for the 24 chocolates. We are always extremely happy to offer environmental solutions to all of our clients. The second image shows two Christmas hamper boxes (also for Bettys) in two sizes and shapes. As we’ve mentioned before, we are proud to be one of a very few packaging suppliers in the UK who can provide circular ‘hat’ boxes for our customers.
Above is an advent calendar box made for the (predominantly) high street brand, Lush. This packaging incorporates removable trays, a hinged lid with ribbon stays and brass locks and handles. It’s a relatively complex piece of packaging but this image does display the kind of work we are capable of here at GWD!
Anyway – the gears of industry grind on…socially distanced and abiding by all Covid19 guidelines of course. We continue to help our clients display and present their goods in the best possible light.
Who knows what Christmas may be like? Hopefully it will be as merry and cheerful as it possibly can be. At GWD LTD we’d certainly like to take this opportunity (a little prematurely, perhaps) to wish all of our friends and customers a happy and joyous festive holiday!
I am writing this in September 2020, updating the blog in the few minutes I can steal between phone calls, e-mails, text messages and the on going, day-to-day management of our factory here in Harlow, Essex.
To say that work is ‘manic’ at the moment would be an understatement! It’s caused by a very old economic problem – an increase of demand versus a capacity that has decreased the ability to supply. The pandemic has affected all of our lives, to a greater or lesser extent, and the economic fall out is still to be measured. We are seeing huge changes in the packaging industry.
One of the major factors that has lead to an increase in demand is the massive shift towards online products. With high street stores closed for the best part of three months, and now open with restrictions of their own, sales on the high street are considerably lower than before the virus. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the amount of goods sold fell by 18.1% in April, for example, a decline graphically shown below:
ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: “The effects of Covid-19 have contributed to a record monthly fall in retail sales of nearly a fifth.” He added that “online shopping has again surged as people purchased goods from their homes amid lockdown.”
A significant amount of our packaging is used for online sales, specifically ‘hat’ boxes or hamper boxes like the ones below:
This boom in online shopping has resulted in a number of our existing customers ordering considerably more packaging from us as they seek to replace lost high street sales. Additionally we are very happy to say that new customers are approaching us seeking a way to pack their products differently for the online market.
Another factor that is increasing demand has been the extreme uncertainty the business world suffered through April to June
which led to many businesses NOT placing orders overseas, particularly the Far East. This meant that those companies missed the window when such orders could be placed. Consequently, these firms have been forced to look to the UK for their packaging requirements.
All of which is great news for a specialist-packaging manufacturer you’d think? Well….
Unfortunately not entirely.
Despite having adequate premises the space is still limited and what we do is extremely skilled work predominantly done by hand – hand assembly, hand wrapping and hand finishing which requires space for individual staff – space which is now at a premium with the required social distancing and other safe-working practices in place. We can’t just work extra shifts either as we would be spreading our skilled and experienced staff too thin, nor can we take on as many new staff as we might normally do.
At risk of being accused of ‘humbug’ Christmas is on its way – even if it will be a very different Christmas than previous years. Some UK businesses, GWD being one, are not going to be able (at such short notice) to crank up their very specialist production facilities to meet demand, especially when coupled with the restrictions of safe working practices.
Amazing (and incongruous) as it may seem, this week we have begun printing on our first Christmas projects!
This isn’t unusual of course – most companies will want their Christmas designs and packaging completed well before the Holiday period so they can concentrate on their distribution and marketing. Many of our customers want production samples as soon as possible (for photography). Despite all of the difficulties of the past few months, companies are planning to make the very most from Christmas this year, whether their product is chocolates, gift food, cakes, hampers, cosmetics or fashion accessories.
However, it does seem a little odd to be working on Advent calendars when it’s 31 degrees outside!
We can’t show you what we’ve been working on this year yet for commercial and legal reasons, but it’s always nice to showcase come of our previous work. Below is an advent calendar we made a few years ago for the chocolatiers Prestat who often send us their designs in June or July…
Moving away from chocolate (temporarily, at least) here’s another advent calendar created for the high-street brand Lush which featured in our blog late last year…
It’s not just Advent calendars of course – here’s a selection of recent Christmas packaging we’ve created for the lovely Bettys of Harrogate,
And here’s a great example of a round hamper box we made for the same company a few years ago –
We can (and regularly do) design and manufacture packaging for other Christmas products. The box below is a good example of a bespoke packaging solution with a Yuletide theme,
We have also been working with Cornelia James (glove makers to the Queen, and holders of the Royal warrant). We have featured some of this work in this blog previously. It seems that they have been experiencing something of a boom in sales this year, maybe connected to the need to wear gloves for protection. What better gloves are there to wear than those sported by Her Majesty? Here’s an image of the latest box we created for Cornelia James –
So our factory here in Essex is busy with Christmas 2020, six months in advance! We may not be covered in glitter or singing carols yet, but it’s difficult not to feel the teeniest bit festive.
If you know anyone who is for help with their Christmas packaging, please do not hesitate to put them in touch.
Early May 2020 – the sun has been shining and the Country is on lockdown. The only shops operating are those selling essential products. Schools are closed and the roads are empty.
There is a meme circulating on Facebook (I’m sure you’ve all seen it) detailing the conditions we’re all living in, from queues at Supermarkets through home schooling. It aims to remind people in the future of how the UK and Europe is coping (or not!) here in early 2020. Perhaps this blog post can serve the same function.
Government guidelines issued in March specified that anyone who can work at home should work at home, and quite sensibly so. Unfortunately for us at GWD the manufacture of presentation and promotional packaging is NOT something one can do in the front room! This beast below (for example) was built in 1908 – and is not something you could put under your arm and pop in the garage.
And for us, of course, we work on projects that are often not realised until a long way in the future. For example we are already working on packaging for next Christmas – and although none of us can be certain – we have to be optimistic that the lockdown regulations will be lifted by then!
The uncertainty is obviously a problem, but the wheels of business continue to turn and at some point we will return to some semblance of normality. Orders are coming in, slowly, and indeed, we’ve been fortunate enough to have picked up one or two new clients even during this current period.
So how have we coped? Well unfortunately we have had to take advantages of various government schemes and ‘furlough’ (strange how that word has entered our vocabulary this year, isn’t it?) a number of members of staff. Obviously this is unfortunate, but at least they’ll remain on 80% of their wages. Staff in our industry have very specific skills, often learnt over years and it’s important not to lose them.
Additionally, we are following strict social distancing regulations in our warehouse and offices and staff have been working at home whenever possible. The safety of our staff is our primary concern and we have had to adapt our production methods to enable social distancing, but we have managed.
Interestingly, a number of our existing clients have moved a larger proportion of their business on-line – adapting to the current conditions. Bettys of Harrogate have always done a good trade with their ‘Birthday Boxes’ (see below), a large round hamper box (one of our specialities), but in the current conditions when people can’t be with each other on their birthdays, a lovely box of treats is the next best thing! They have just placed another order for more, such has been the demand! Since they have been obliged to close their shops and café’s they have had a new onus on pushing their online sales and we have been producing an increasing number of these boxes. Similarly the Simply Delicious Cake Company are launching a new Birthday Cake presented in one of our beautiful boxes to meet the demand for online gifts.
As always, please take a moment or two to visit our clients’ websites if you have a moment. Your taste buds will thank you even if your waistline doesn’t!
If you’ve read any of our blog before, you’ll be well aware that Easter is a major event for us. Let’s be honest if, as UK manufacturers of presentation packaging, we weren’t busy in the run-up to Easter something would be very wrong!
This year Easter falls of April 12th, which is a little later than normal, and so we are still creating Easter egg packaging here at the end of February. Throughout this post you can see some of boxes we’ve made this year thus far.
The first three images in this blog post show packaging that has been made for the wonderful Rococo Chocolates. The company had previously gone overseas for their Easter packaging but due to previous poor experiences (and with Easter also being such an important season for them), they decided to reduce their risks and place the order with us this year. In employing GWD, Rococo Chocolates knew that they would get exactly what they asked for, delivered when specified and that the product would be of exceptionally high quality. In reality we delivered the order ahead of time despite a number of changes to the original brief.
This is possible for us as we manufacture the products here in the UK and are in control of both production and transportation. We are conveniently placed just outside the M25 on the ‘London-Stansted-Cambridge’ corridor.
Rococo Chocolates were delighted with the service and the products.
The boxes shown in the images are wrapped/covered in their ‘branding’ of distinctive blue ‘toile’ patterning which features line drawings of antiquated chocolate molds. The children’s range (in orange and turquoise) features rabbit molds with lids in different colours and gold foiling. The different colours being for the different chocolate and fillings.
The eggs are held in position with a cardboard fitment and have a clear window to show off the colourful foil wrapped egg. Both the box and fitments/trays are totally recyclable.
Rococo also commissioned us to make ‘egg-shaped’ boxes for Easter to contain a selection of their high quality truffles (see above). These were made in three different colours, lined on the inside and ‘foil blocked’ on the lid in gold with seasonal graphics. This was a first for GWD as we had never made a box of precisely this shape before. However we do like a challenge and our in-house team of ‘cardboard engineers’ and designers have the ability to tackle almost any problem set before them. Their experience and ability sets us apart from other box makers in the UK. Again, Rococo were delighted with the high quality handmade products (which compliment their artisan image) and our ability to deliver on time.
We have made a many other high-quality packaging products for Rococo (both all the year round and seasonal). The image below shows heart shaped boxes we manufactured for them this year for Valentine’s Day.
Whilst we have been making boxes for Rococo for many years, this year was the first time we have worked with Slatterys who are an award winning patissier and chocolatier founded in 1967 and located near Manchester.
The image below shows an unusual round Easter egg box we made for them incorporating a ribbon handle. The lid was printed on a coated paper (in Slatterys branding) whereas in contrast the box was covered in an uncoated brown paper.
A round box such as this obviously compliments the shape of an Easter Egg and GWD are one of very few companies in the UK that can manufacture round ‘hat’ boxes such as this, or indeed such a quality handmade piece of packaging in general.
Here’s another image of the box(es) made for Slatterys – please head over to their website to see more of their marvellous products!
As we mentioned, Easter is a very important time for us here at GWD, but we are always interested in making contact with other chocolatiers, or indeed any firm with products that could benefit from the highest quality presentation packaging available in the UK today.
Recently, a supplier – Vision Paper and Board introduced us to a marvelous new product called ‘Eden Grass Paper.’
Here at GWD ltd we have always taken environmental issues extremely seriously. As you can imagine, as premier presentation packaging manufacturers we see an awful lot of paper and cardboard throughout the year and we are very conscious of waste, recycling and the environmental processes used in the creation of the paper and board that we use. As we move into the 2020s, environmental issues are becoming a progressively important issue.
Eden Grass Paper is produced with up to 40% natural grass fibres meaning that it not only has a scent of grass but it’s also 100% recyclable and biodegradable. Its production is considerably more environmentally friendly than ‘normal’ paper and board, using only 3% of the standard energy required to produce standard paper. The production process also creates only 25% of the usual CO2, and also can boast a 99.9% reduction in the amount of water required against standard wood pulp.
Eden Grass is ISEGA certified for direct contact with food and has an FSC certificate – which shows that the wood pulp used to create the product originates from well-managed and sustainable forests. These high environmental credentials mean that it is a perfect choice for companies who take sustainability and green issues seriously.
Eden Grass isn’t just a paper it is also available in a light card, or boxboard weight, suitable for cartons and internal box fitments. The paper is suitable for wrapping rigid boxes, which is our specialty here at GWD, and we have already tested it making a few samples, a round and a rectangular box and lid as well as a ‘drawer’ box and a tray and a binder with a ribbon closure, as you can see from the images throughout this article. Eden Grass has a very distinctive finish and can be ‘litho’ printed and ‘foil blocked’ if required.
At present we have introduced it to a few of our more ‘green conscious’ customers such as Lush, Bettys of Harrogate and Rococo by sending them box samples and the tech sheet. We believe that this is an excellent product and very exciting for any company that uses presentation or promotional packaging and takes green issues seriously.
If you would like to find out more about Eden Grass, or any of our services please do get in touch.
Annual events are massive for us at GWD Ltd as manufacturers of high-quality presentation and promotional packaging. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter are all huge – but it’s no surprise that Christmas is biggest of all. This year we began manufacturing advent calendars as early as April! As you can imagine our factory is always full of festive boxes and packaging – every day is Christmas Day at GWD
This year we’ve been heavily involved with the wonderful Bettys of Harrogate as they’ve been celebrating their centenary. Over the years we’ve created a lot of their Christmas packaging.
We remain one of the very few firms in the UK who can manufacture these circular or cylindrical boxes in-house, with the help of our very experienced cardboard engineers and bespoke machinery.
The image below shows three Christmas boxes we have made for Bettys this year, two hamper boxes, one square, one round and a flanged chocolate box with a foil blocked window to show the chocolates off to maximum effect:
All three of these have been printed with metallic ink (red and green) and then foil blocked in gold, giving a very luxurious appearance.
This next image shows a selection of chocolate boxes – round, oval and square – made for different independent chocolate shops. We are fortunate enough to work for a substantial number of independent chocolatiers and retailers, from big brands through to small companies. These boxes are finished off with ‘off the shelf’ Christmas giftwrap paper selected by the customer.
Many of our client’s retail confectionary directly to the public or wholesale in the hotel or hospitality industry. We are always on the lookout for more, so if you require:
New packaging designed from scratch (either a rigid or folding box)
A rigid box (from our range of over 60 sizes) using pre-cut, off-the-shelf card that can be assembled and wrapped to your specifications
Please do not hesitate to get in touch for a quote!
Oh, and do try not to over-indulge on chocolates over Christmas!!!