It’s a challenge to keep up with demand. “We’re a victim of our own success,” Seely said. Production has expanded to seven-day shifts during peak seasons, and the company has often been overwhelmed with orders. One essential aspect of the growing business—one that needed to be smooth and hassle-free—is custom packaging.
Like many food companies, they tried several different packaging firms but were not satisfied until they began working with Emerald City Graphics. “They always have our backs,” Seely said. “Demand for our product is growing so fast that we used to run out of boxes. That doesn’t happen anymore. The team at Emerald City Graphics always goes beyond my expectations. They’re great to work with. Their boxes are beautiful, consistent, and ready to go.”
Producing the boxes is no small task. Emerald City Graphics’ structural design team worked with Seely to create a wide variety of attractive, highly-functional folding cartons for the individually-wrapped treats. It requires careful planning, high-quality color printing, and a thorough understanding of the complexities of folding cartons. Each box must include not only attractive, store shelf-friendly artwork, but also marketing content (the Seely story), nutrition facts, fair-trade and non-GMO assurances, and links to their website and social media. Creative die-cutting makes the boxes easy to open and close—and even see what’s inside.
Reliability is the key factor. “With other packaging companies, we would get boxes with glue tabs that didn’t work and other problems that cost us money,” Seely said. “By contrast, Emerald City Graphics’ product is always high-quality and on time. They treat us like a big company.”
One of the major benefits for Seely has been cost and risk reduction. One of Seely’s retailers has very strict contract requirements for on-time delivery of product. For every failure to deliver product on time, the company can be charged up to $10,000 per incident. Of Emerald City Graphics’ responsiveness in those situations, Seely said, “They always bail me out. If a distributor is about to run out of product, their team always figures out a way to get more boxes delivered in time.” The resulting on-time delivery has saved the company up to $80,000 per year in potential contract penalties from one distributor alone. Seely expressed his appreciation for Emerald City Graphics’ fast turnaround, and their willingness to store and manage inventory. “With other packaging companies, product delivery could be a month out, he said. “The way the crew at Emerald City Graphics manages things, they usually have our product ready before they promised it.” Seely Mint is a small company on its way to becoming a bigger one—thanks in part to an efficient, on-time approach to custom product packaging. By helping them avoid packaging-related risks and optimize their retail channel, Emerald City Graphics has become a key partner in that journey.
Oregon-based Seely Mint began as a family farm in the 1940s, growing and selling mint in the Pacific Northwest. They were one of the first in the region to plant peppermint for the production of essential oils. Today, the company offers a wide array of peppermint- and spearmint-based products, including their best-seller: a gourmet chocolate peppermint patty.
“Everyone else is using synthetic oils and flavors,” said company president Mike Seely, in a phone call from one of his mint fields. “We use real, heirloom mint oils and Belgian chocolate. Mint lovers find them irresistible.” Despite the company’s small size, Seely Mints have garnered a fiercely loyal following—and are sold throughout the United States at Whole Foods and other high-end retailers.