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Holum & Sons’ Holiday Box Earns Industry Accolades

by Jen Clark


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Holum & Sons Company Inc., Westmont, IL, picked up a Product of Excellence Award for its work on the 2014 Holiday Box.

When the staff at Holum & Sons Company Inc. set out to build a holiday-themed promotional gift, Richard Holum, president, said the design team started thinking "inside" the box to create a one-of-a-kind candy box that featured two levels of treats for its clients and prospective clients. "We wanted to reach out and get their attention in the most creative way," he said, adding the gift box was well-received.

Holum & Sons has been a leader in the binding industry for more than 80 years. Located in a 40,000-square-foot facility in Westmont, IL, the company has been family-owned and -operated for four generations. For this project, Holum wanted clients to experience the company’s craftsmanship and creativity in rigid packaging.

"We had a great number of responses from clients who informed us they had showed our gift to multiple people and all had some fun with it," Holum said, adding the box was intended to be a little tricky – "a puzzle, so to speak" – so that it would grab and keep the recipient’s attention. "We wanted them focused on our product. We wanted to ‘wow’ them with our creativity."

Holum’s team certainly "wowed" the judges of the BIA’s Product of Excellence Awards. The 2014 Holiday Box picked up a POE award in the Self-Promotion – Loose Leaf Manufacturer category. The BIA also recognized Holum & Sons with the Manufacturer of the Year award, as well as POE awards in two other categories. The company also was named Manufacturer of the Year in 2013 and has won a total of 30 POE Awards between 2008 and 2014.

The burgundy box features a silver foil-stamped holiday greeting and looks like a traditional two-piece rigid box with a lid that can be removed vertically.

"To get to the second level of treats, you have to pull the box open horizontally, thus revealing a second tray located under the first," Holum said. "All design, sizing and manufacturing were done in-house using our skilled tradesmen."

Like most projects, the box’s creation involved round-table discussions with the creative team. Once a plan was devised, the engineering team calculated all the sizes for a production prototype, Holum explained.

"After initial engineering, the plant produced a mock-up and worked very closely with engineering to keep track of any design changes necessary for fit, form and function in a production run," he said. "Once any production and engineering obstacles were dealt with, we produced two prototypes using the material requested. One was for final approval, while the other was kept for reference, communication and insurance that we produced a product exactly like the sample piece. In the end, there were no surprises. Everyone knew exactly what to produce and what to expect upon delivery of the finished product."

Materials used in the project included Gane graphics board, Fibermark Shimmer by Corovon, API foil, Wisdom adhesives, Ampelco ribbon and Adams magnets. Production aspects included sheeting, guillotine cutting, diecutting, foil stamping, casemaking, box wrapping and hot melt gluing on equipment from Kolbus, Polar, Brausse, Acromark, Nordson and Pot Devin, as well as casemaking and box miter machines.

The project did present some challenges – "fit, form and function," Holum said. "Let’s face it. There are some things in this world that just can’t be done by a piece of equipment with a computer on it."

Communication and attention to detail also were important aspects of the holiday box’s creation, as they are on pretty much every project the custom creative presentation packaging house produces.

"Every size on every piece of material is critical to the fit, form and function of a product," Holum explained. "Prototyping is an essential learning tool on every job to expose any issues long before production. During prototyping, you can get close, but rarely get 100-percent correct on the first try. Custom work always has its idiosyncrasies hidden in the details, which don’t show up until you actually produce a piece and learn from that experience. Once you see an issue, then you can adjust the design, materials or production methods to achieve the desired result."

Holum & Sons takes great pride in having maintained its roots in handmade, turned edge products.

"What started a long time ago in my grandfather’s Chicago basement continues to this day," he explained, adding that there is a willing desire to continue to create one-of-a-kind, elegant, handmade products of the highest quality available.

"While we have advanced and modernized with the times, we’ve never lost touch with our roots in old-world craftsmanship. Our challenge here simply was sizing our parts correctly. Our manufacturing talent took care of the rest."