Enterprise Vol 1, 2010: Supplier Spotlight: Paper Boxes
Artech, which started out in 1991 manufacturing paper carrier bags and boxes, today lays claim to supplying at least one Middle East royal family with deluxe paper-based jewellery cases — complex items that are a far cry from ordinary paper boxes.
“We started out specialising in standard paper boxes and bags,” says Sales Manager Dick Mui. “We would print logos and messages according to the clients’ requirements, and we quickly established a good reputation for quality and attention to detail.”
At that time, he relates, competition was quite strong. “However, we quickly discovered that many of them were not as good as us when it came to designing and manufacturing more complex boxes,” he adds.
“That set us on the road to creating an exclusive range of boxes of our own, and we enjoyed the relative comfort of a good niche trade marketing our own products.”
Nonetheless, others were not sitting idly by, and year by year the competitors started to make inroads. “This essentially forced us to change our whole approach once again,” says Mr Mui.
The next phase was to create boxes that sat on the shelf and attracted buyers because of their outstanding design features. These new boxes also enjoyed almost instant international appeal.”
The new range also became the focal point for all sorts of raw materials. “As we went upmarket fairly quickly, in an effort to maintain our leading edge we started to use procedures such as smart textile coverings, fitted metal legs and advanced printing techniques,” adds Mr Mui.
The demand was broad, and orders came from fellow manufacturers or OEM makers of kitchenware, consumer electronics, jewellery, cosmetics and other high-end products.
“Our range cannot be manufactured by machines, so we need a highly skilled workforce,” says Mr Mui. “This makes our operation ideal for China.”
“This remains the case today, although we now have a position in the Middle East,” comments Mr Mui. “There, highly decorative items with brocade, crystals and lace, sometimes accompanied by imitation leather or velvet, are very popular. These designs brought our goods to the attention of a royal family in that area.”
While all designs are in-house creations, Artech will accept OEM orders. “Many of our workers have experience in the garments and textiles sectors, and are comfortable no matter the raw material being used to cover a box,” Mr Mui assures.
For the future, the firm will continue its push in the Middle East and try to sell more in the domestic market in China. “We are launching our JF brand with a firm eye on a future role as a strong player in the home decor sector,” the manager reveals.
Artech enjoys the respect of many local and international buyers — and holds its own in a tough sector. “Our mission has always been to invest for the long term in new directions,” says Mr Mui. It seems clear that Artech has its destiny well covered.
Text by Tony Henderson