Jenni Paddick, business unit leader of Spirit Ltd, explains the synergy between Spirit and its mother company, Quadpack.
Quadpack: What is Spirit Ltd?
Jenni Paddick: Spirit provides design and inspiration to support the marketing activities of beauty brand owners. We design bags, beauty accessories and gifts with purchase (GWP) – promotional items that offer a creative edge to help promote our customers’ brands. Part of our business is also designing items for retail.
Q: What is Spirit’s relationship to Quadpack?
JP: Spirit is a Quadpack company. Quadpack acquired the majority share in January, having seen the benefits of joining forces as a stakeholder the year before. There is a real synergy between our activities. We both target the same customer base. We both help build beauty brands. We both enjoy an established reputation in our markets. Our cultures are similar, too. I sense the same passion and pride in their work whenever I deal with my colleagues at Quadpack.
Q: Who can benefit from Spirit’s products?
JP: Most companies who approach us are cosmetic companies, looking for new gift ideas to promote new brands or new collections. For example, we have done work for Elemis, The Sanctuary, Amway and Elle McPherson. We also design cosmetics bags for retailers like the Body Shop and we developed a complete new range of bags for Dannii Minogue’s Project D.
Q: How do you track trends?
JP: We have a talented design team that keeps track of the latest fashion trends. They visit manufacturers around the world to discover the latest fabrics, colours, patterns and innovations. They use newer methods like social networking. They follow events like London Fashion Week. They take catwalk fashion and simplify and adapt it to appeal to the mass market. Some clients have as much as a fixed 18-month cycle from concept to delivery, it’s a challenge to ensure the right trend hits the High Street at the right time, but we always get it right!
Q: So what’s hot at the moment?
JP: Organic and eco-friendly products are popular. Our plant-based Konjac sponge has been very successful. With reduced marketing budgets, affordability is a key factor. That’s why we’re developing cost-effective gifts that still offer a premium feel.
Q: Is GWP a growing market?
JP: The beauty business continues to expand and we are seeing more brands being launched. That makes it harder for our customers to stand out in the crowd. And that’s where gift with purchase will help to sell. GWPs add value to brands, they help to differentiate them. Our job is to keep finding original ways to appeal to an increasingly sophisticated consumer!
Q: Tell us about your background.
JP: I’d worked for eight years in the FMCG sector before I was approached by Spirit. It operated in a more focused, niche industry, but the corporate culture resonated with me. It also appealed to my creative side as I have a background in design. I joined in December 2009. When Quadpack became majority shareholder, I was promoted to help align the company with Quadpack’s activities.
Q: Describe your team and how you work with the Quadpack Group.
JP: We have a small, dedicated team, most of us very long term. We are all passionate about what we do. It’s often said that it doesn’t feel like a job at all. Since the acquisition, everybody is positive about the future and can see the potential of penetrating customers in each other’s markets. Quadpack people are being trained in Spirit products to sell into new territories and we promote Quadpack to our existing customers. It works both ways.