Interviews | September 06, 2022
Keepsake Brings Custom Creativity to Packaging
By Annabel Steele
Andy Griffin (pictured left) does webinars and presentations every day to promote his company, Keepsake Products USA, and its patented Keepsake Box. So when the offer came through for him to present to Brand Chain’s members in an emerging leaders lightning talk earlier this year, he figured it would be business as usual — he’d discuss his products and services, show a few examples of Keepsake Boxes and maybe hear from a member or two after the talk.
But that’s not quite what happened.
“I do these webinars every day,” Griffin says. “In all the times I’ve ever done them, I’ve never received a response like I got from Brand Chain. The impact it had was phenomenal.”
Griffin, Keepsake’s managing partner for sales, was inundated with responses from people after the webinar. Some people reached out asking for quotes on projects, while others just wanted to thank him and let him know how much they enjoyed the webinar. The reaction so impressed Griffin that he decided to look into Brand Chain membership himself, encouraged by the strong sense of community he saw in the association. In the end, less than a month passed between the webinar and Griffin officially becoming a member.
So far, Griffin has checked out Brand Chain’s Community and struck up conversations with his fellow members. He’s excited about the chance to get more involved in the future, including potentially attending Brand Chain events if the timing works out. Griffin is hopeful that he can get to know others in the Brand Chain community, even if the relationships don’t necessarily lead to new projects for Keepsake.
“I like networking; I like meeting like-minded people,” Griffin explains. “I would be remiss if I didn’t say, ‘Hey, I hope we can sell boxes,’ because that’s what I’m in business to do. But I hope that can come with friendships.”
He’s encouraged by the response he got from his first webinar, and believes the friendships will come as he gets to know his fellow members in the coming months and years.
“I think it’s a cultural thing for Brand Chain,” he muses. “People want to have you in their network and as a friend. You’re not just another supplier.”
Designing Bespoke Boxes
The business Griffin hopes to gain from Brand Chain all boils down to Keepsake’s unique boxes. The company specializes in bespoke packaging products and services, and can accommodate orders as small as one box and as large as thousands of boxes. Its biggest selling point is the patented Keepsake Box, which can be adapted to a number of different styles depending on customer needs. But Keepsake also provides products and services ranging from gift wrap and tissue paper to hand assembly and fulfillment.
Griffin has years of experience in packaging, and he strives to leverage his expertise to make it as easy as possible for end users to get the custom box they want. Part of that mission is teaching Keepsake’s distributor partners all about packaging so they can more effectively sell custom boxes to their end users.
To help these distributor partners, Griffin has started treating them like they’re salespeople for Keepsake. He teaches them about different considerations for packaging, just like he’d teach any of his own employees; this includes “the size and fit, the audience, where it’s going, how it’s getting there and how it’s protected,” Griffin explains.
To learn more about Griffin’s approach, check out “The Link” from the May/June issue of PS Magazine.
In addition to treating distributor partners like Keepsake salespeople, the company has developed several other tools and strategies to help make the process easier. One such tool is the packaging checklist, which helps all parties involved in the custom packaging project understand the parameters from the beginning of the process.
“The checklist is a combination of all the different questions we ask,” Griffin says. “It’s really simple, and our partners can customize it for the end client. It finds the answers we need: this is what I have to know, these are the measurements, this is what you can do, these are the embellishments needed.”
Meanwhile, Keepsake also maintains a Flickr page with over 2,000 photos of boxes the company has made in the past. This is especially helpful for new projects that include special features, as the distributor partner and end user can actually look at previous boxes that had similar quirks to get an idea of what to expect. Griffin cites the old adage “A picture’s worth 1,000 words,” saying the Flickr page helps people visualize the end product in a way conversations can’t.
A third way Keepsake makes the process easy for all parties involved is by prioritizing strong customer service. Griffin says he’s aware that bespoke packaging, especially with different bells and whistles, can be a daunting project for people to pursue. So Keepsake makes a point of being available whenever customers have questions and concerns. The company is also taking its emphasis on customer service a step further by adding video into the mix.
“We took a nod from a car dealership my partner dealt with,” Griffin explains. “The guy from the dealership sent over a video clip explaining what they were going to do. I thought it was great customer service, so we adapted it to our situation. We’re coming out with video customer service to give insight to the customer along the way so they’re not guessing where the project is.”
Keepsake Products USA teams up with distributors to create bespoke boxes for end users in a variety of industries.
Keepsake’s unique, memorable boxes are consistently a hit with the end users, and often lead to repeat business. Griffin cites several examples of recent projects that have resulted in significant successes for the end user.
One such project involved a package promoting a children’s cartoon show. The end user wanted just one bespoke box to house a number of toys connected to the show. The box would be sent to an influencer, so it had to be memorable. Griffin’s team jumped into action.
“The entire box was dipped in glitter,” Griffin recalls. “We spray-painted it with adhesive, we prepared it and we rolled it in a jar of glitter — just to make this one box that went out to one person.”
Another memorable project involves the TV show “Friends.” Keepsake is working on the packaging for a nail polish line connected to the show. The box features imagery from the show, including the Central Perk coffee shop. And in a bid to make the packaging pop, Keepsake has installed lights in the box, so the Central Perk sign actually lights up.
A third success story underscores the potential in the packaging market, Griffin says. He’s working on a project with DraftKings, which needs boxes to send cocktail glasses and decanters out as a giveaway. The project has its fair share of unique elements — DraftKings wants smart boxes, for example — but the most interesting part is the quantity of boxes needed: over 5,000.
“When you factor in the cocktail glasses and decanters, the project’s well over a million dollars, for sure,” Griffin says. “We’re seeing more and more that these quantities are going from 50 to 100, 200, 2,000, right up to 5,500. That’s the opportunity that’s out there. The potential is there and it’s still growing.”
When it comes to custom packaging, Griffin enjoys all kinds of different jobs — from the solid and reliable repeat orders to the custom orders with all the bells and whistles. But if there’s one thing he really loves, it’s when the packaging has special meaning.
“The best ones are the ones that make an impact and make a difference,” Griffin says.
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