Going the extra mile . . .

1. The Famous Rock Band Coaster

mayfield-coaster-250x250A boxed set of album CDs was being produced and the band had requested that a folded tea-towel be used to hold the CDs in place. Unfortunately, the tea towel manufacturer mistook imperial for metric measurements and the folded tea towel no longer did the job, so the CDs were rattling around in the packaging.

The question was asked of us as to whether we could produce 140,000 coasters to a precise thickness in a seven day window for the product launch as none of the traditional producers of this type of product could or would produce them in time.

We took the challenge on, but the end product needed to be far thicker than any sheet that could be put through our presses, so in the end, we bought pretty much the entire country’s supply of thinner coaster-card material, printed one side of it and duplexed it together with a second sheet of a different thickness and laminated them front and back to make it exactly the right thickness. They also had to be die-cut and delivered to Holland and, added into the mix was the fact that the band’s notoriously fussy designer, Storm Thorgerson, insisted on proofs and samples being delivered to the pub he was drinking in or the restaurant he was eating in, dependent on which minute of the hour we’d be delivering them!

The project delivered on time with several vans being driven to and from Holland to keep the packaging plant supplied and the launch took place on time.

2. The Fashion Designer Wax Seal

mayfield-seal-250x250On the Thursday, we took a call to see if we could do an emergency packing job for the launch of a new scent. We were to receive 200 fragrance bottles, boxes, tissue paper, ribbon, wrapping paper and fake black (plastic) wax seals, along with a sample pack that had to be precisely followed. They were needed on the Monday evening and the bottles would not arrive until Saturday afternoon. We took the project on, but then, on Friday lunchtime, the customer discovered that they had run out of the fake wax seals. Could we make some if they gave us the wax sticks, some hot-melt guns and some brass stamps with the logo on? And they need to be perfect as the designer himself was giving them out. “Yes”, we said; “how hard can it be”!

The customer sent us hot melt wax guns and wax sticks which were patently from a craft shop and we experimented in the factory late that afternoon – eventually there were eight of us trying – without success; the guns and wax were useless. At 6pm it was decided to obtain proper sealing wax and I took the moulds home and on the Saturday morning after four hours experimentation in the kitchen using a combination of the oven, gas rings, the ice-cube section of the freezer and some hack-sawed curtain rings, an acceptable seal was made. All that I now had to do was repeat the exercise a further two hundred times.

A trip to a kitchenware shop followed and pots, a miniature cake baking tin and a ceramic melting pot were purchased to scale the production up and, on the Sunday, much to my wife’s displeasure, her nice new kitchen was turned into a wax seal production unit and, some six hours later, they were all made.

In the meantime, staff back at the factory were carefully packing the products and first thing on the Monday morning, the seals were applied, the finishing touches to the wrapping completed and then the finished presentation packages were delivered to London on time.

3. The Peach Wrapper

mayfield-tissue-250x250The customer requested that we print some colour peach wrappers on incredibly thin tissue paper for an event. The material is far too thin to print on conventional machines so enquiries were made and no manufacturer was found in the country that could do it and those overseas were not going to make the deadline which was less than a week away.

Rather than just say it couldn’t be done, an idea formed and we managed to buy plain 18gsm tissue paper. This we then taped to thicker sheets of paper just at the edges, printed the image in the middle and then trimmed around the edges to remove the taping.

Many of them tore and it took an age as each time one did, the tissue paper wrapped itself around the inking rollers requiring the machine to be cleaned down, but in the end, we got them done, almost as much to our own amazement as our customer’s.

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