PACKAGING WITH A PURPOSE:
THE PIP & GROW STORY
Pip & Grow – the scrappy start-up with a social mission – partnered with Landaal Packaging Systems to develop and launch its first industry-challenging safety product: the Smitten Sleep System. Smitten is a portable, durable and recyclable bassinet box. It was designed by a leading infant safe sleep expert to reduce the risk of SIDS for infants 0-6 months old. Ethically made from eco-conscious materials in the U.S., Smitten can be carried easily from room to room to provide a safe sleep space for infants everywhere.
Smitten was born when Amber Kroeker, MPH, Pip & Grow Chief Innovation Officer and one of the country’s leading child injury prevention experts, noticed a trend in many of the infant death reviews she attended: caregivers, exhausted and overwhelmed, chose convenient sleep options – swings, bouncy seats, car seats, couches, adult beds with soft, loose bedding – over safer choices, and babies were dying because of it. Inspired by the Finnish baby box tradition, she set out to find a solution. That’s when she came across Landaal Packaging. Working closely alongside Landaal’s packaging design team, the team designed the Smitten Sleep System to be both SAFE and CONVENIENT. And after extensive research, collaboration and rigorous testing, Kroeker and her team were ready to bring their next-generation baby box to market. Here’s their story:
Q. Why did you initially choose to partner with Landaal Packaging to create the Smitten?
A. While Pip & Grow was in its infancy with nothing more than an ugly-duckling Smitten prototype, we committed to creating a company that would positively impact our world at every level. As we researched different manufacturing partners around the globe, we realized that it was more important to us to support stable jobs for American families than it was to increase our margins. We also worried about the potential risk of “babies” making our baby products in a foreign country, so we pledged to work solely with U.S. companies that pay their employees a living wage, in an effort to create a manufacturing ecosystem that encourages healthy families in economically-disadvantaged communities. After a thorough search, we asked Landaal Packaging Systems in Flint, Michigan to help us produce our American made baby box.
Landaal is much more than a manufacturer; good-hearted, capable people fill the company. Landaal is a trusted extension of our team.
Q. Even though Europeans have been using baby boxes for nearly 80 years, some American parents are uncomfortable with the idea of a bassinet box. Why did you decide to move forward with a corrugated (cardboard) design?
A. One of the most common questions we get about Smitten is, “It’s made from WHAT?!” Because of the sleek finish, people are surprised to learn that Smitten is made from humble cardboard. People have all of these preconceived notions about cardboard. They assume that it’s a lower quality, less durable material, but we’ve learned that is not the case.
We get it. It feels kind of strange to put your baby to sleep in a cardboard bassinet. But, here’s the thing, cardboard is so much cooler than we think. In fact, the longer we’re in this business, the more we realize that we’ve been taking cardboard and it’s super powers for granted. It’s strong, lightweight, durable, sustainable, and cardboard doesn’t hold carbon dioxide like soft-sided sleepers can, making it ideal for the Smitten and safe sleep. It’s also very affordable which makes it an accessible option for all moms, even in low income families.
Q. How has your experience been working with Landaal Packaging on such a unique project that’s so close to your heart?
A. It’s been a great learning experience, and they have been a joy to work with. Company owner, Bob Landaal, and his team have filled the roles of mentor, cheerleader and problem solver (sometimes all at once) as we’ve climbed a pretty steep learning curve. When walking with Bob through the factory in Flint, he greeted everyone by name. The family atmosphere was palpable. You could tell the employees were happy and that the Landaal family genuinely cares about each one. Landaal is much more than a manufacturer; good-hearted, capable people fill the company. Landaal is a trusted extension of our team.
TIM COLONNESE, GREEN CELL FOAM FOUNDER
SHOW CARS ILLUSTRATED
Show Cars Illustrated is in the business of telling stories. You may have heard a few yourself as you meet appreciators and afficianados at any local auto show: an owner recounting the restoration details of a ‘65 Pontiac GTO, the family history behind the wheel of a ‘57 Chevy Nomad, or the surprise discovery of a ‘35 Ford Pickup, forgotten in a barn for more years that she’d been driven.
These are the stories that auto owners love to tell, and Show Cars Illustrated creates the individually-customized signs – or Show Boards, as we call them – that spell out the details of these gleaming beauties to everyone that passes by.
As photography and graphics professionals working in Mid-Michigan – arguably the heart of American car culture – company founders Marcy Yurk and Brian Masck heard a recurring theme of frustration while wandering summer weekend auto shows. Eager to communicate the details of their beautiful vehicles, show participants had a tough time making their own signs, keeping them from delaminating and warping in humidity, and eventually winding up dissatisfied with quality and price when they had them made elsewhere.
Really? There’s a need for auto show signage?
Yes. With vintage and specialty auto shows growing larger every year, it was a niche problem waiting for a solution. And it’s the niche where Show Cars Illustrated was born.
Working through prototypes and with input from car clubs regarding size and ease of use, the SCI team brought their ideas to Landaal with the understanding that although a successful product was about to be born, it already had a very formidable opponent: the Weather. It’s the presiding factor at every outdoor event, and SCI signage had to withstand the Big Three – Rain, Wind and Sun – and look good doing it.
For Show Cars Illustrated, Landaal Packaging is the innovative partner that helped us bring “Wow – that’s a great idea!” to the marketplace.
That’s when the design team at Landaal stepped up and went to work doing what they do best. The final result was a lightweight gem of a Show Board in two sizes, printed on waterproof material with outdoor-rated ink to resist fading, and assembled with a durable, attached easel designed to be weighted and make blow-overs a thing of the past. These products hit the car show circuit in 2015 and since then have heard the phrase “Wow – that’s a great idea!” from more auto owners and vendor booth visitors than we’ve been able to count.
Today Show Cars Illustrated enjoys a brisk nationwide online ordering business with printing, cutting, assembling and shipping handled exclusively by Landaal Packaging.
The first step in bringing a great product to market is defining a problem that needs a solution. But next comes the hard part – innovating a solution that often doesn’t exist, make it efficient to produce, easy to use, and insure that it’s cost-effective for the end consumer. For Show Cars Illustrated, Landaal Packaging is the innovative partner that helped us bring “Wow- that’s a great idea!” to the marketplace.