Tag Archives: envelope

Hall of Shame #12: Envelope Kills Oscar Moment

Did anybody else see how much the presenters at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards were struggling to open the envelopes with the Oscar winners’ names last night?  It wasn’t nerves and shaky fingers.  It was a poor choice of envelope.  This made it tricky for presenters to extract the greatly anticipated card  (and get those cards in there to begin with).

There’s Nicole Kidman’s awkward “I can’t get it out” moment before announcing the winner of Best Original Score, while Hugh Jackman giggled alongside her.

Or Amy Adams‘s grimace and her “Oh, wow?!” to Jake Gyllenhaal as she struggled to pull the card out of the envelope and announce “Strangers No More” as an Oscar winner.

Click here to see Steven Spielberg — no stranger to the Oscar stage — struggle to get the card out of his envelope. At least he was smooth enough not to fill dead air time with a disparaging envelope remark.  Helen Mirren compensated by pinching the bottom of the envelope while pulling the card out; Reese Witherspoon held the envelope upside down and let gravity help her get the card.   (She must have practiced that in advance.)

The Great Envelope Blooper created pauses in the show’s programming far less endearing than the witty “You know…” tangents made by octogenarian Kirk Douglas as he presented the Best Supporting Actress award. (And he tossed the envelope to the ground by the way.)

The show’s producers obviously don’t know much about selecting a well-fitted envelope.  You start with the contents – the card itself – and determine its length, width, and thickness.  Thickness is always the wild card because, if you don’t choose an envelope construction that can conform to varying thicknesses, it can jam up the entire envelope as you saw last night at the Oscars.  This damages the card and the envelope.

But the dresses were nice…

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

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‘Fringe’ Highlights Conformer’s New Product Launch

Book sent to Agent Dunham in Conformer Mailer

This morning, my colleague asked me if “Fringe” planned on using Conformer mailers to ship alien body parts in future episodes.  It’s been a fun week.  (Read: Conformer on FRINGE)

Sci-fi humor aside, last week Agent Olivia Dunham opened a Conformer mailer and pulled out a hardcover book titled If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! on “Fringe.”  You may have noticed that the bubble sack wrapping the small book inside was total overkill (no pun intended), but we forgive the television producers.  The Conformer paperboard mailer works beautifully without the bubble wrap because it conforms to the contents and eliminates shifting, while creating a 360 degree periphery of protection.

Nevertheless, “Fringe” has let our secret out of the bag, compelling us to share our plans to launch the new Conformer corrugate mailer very soon.  This new product is designed for heavier items, this new product creates the perfect package for items that might otherwise ship in a corrugate box.  So what’s the advantage?  The Conformer corrugate mailer conforms to its contents, eliminating the cost of shipping dead space and the cost of excess packaging fill.  Plus, no box assembly is required, which dramatically reduces fulfillment costs.

Bubble wrap is so often misused and overused that we don’t even recognize it as a fixable problem anymore.  A hardcover book is not fragile, and several more cost-effective and eco-friendly options can prevent damage from shifting inside an oversized box.   It is indeed a fixable situation.

So now that you’re on the inside track, stay tuned for the official launch of the Conformer heavy-duty corrugate mailer!

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

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Felt & Wire: Putting Inspiration in the Mail

I just stumbled upon a fantastic resource for graphic designers, printers, and envelope and packaging industry insiders.  Get a healthy dose of pure inspiration on the Mohawk Fine Papers‘ blog, Felt & Wire.

Felt & Wire: My Inspiration Today

Living here in Silicon Valley, it’s easy to find yourself almost buying into the idea that online content and social media are so compelling that there is no room for anything that the print or paper industry could possibly offer.

Felt & Wire shows you how powerful a medium ink on paper can “be — ironically, on an online blog — but this only underlines my point that these two mediums can and should coexist for the betterment of the customer experience.  To paraphrase one of the speakers at the Envelope Manufacturers Association annual meeting, they still haven’t figured out how to virtually deliver that scarf you ordered online.  It’s got to come in a package, and the point of delivery is as compelling a moment as you’ll find to speak to your customer in a tactile, ink-on-paper way.  Throw on a QR code that takes you to the “Deal of the Day” on that company’s ecommerce site, and you’ve got a beautiful friendship between online and print mediums.

A Quick Response (QR) Code does exactly that

Which brings me to my next point… If that scarf arriving in the mail is a key customer touchpoint, why don’t companies choose print-friendly packaging?  Sometimes I think companies go out of their way to mail my purchase in the ugliest thing they can find.  Talk about wasted opportunity!

Check out the Felt & Wire posting about an artist named Jennie Hinchcliff, who makes envelopes out of virtually anything.  Wow!  It celebrates the creative spirit in my industry, and on a personal note, brings my career full circle from my early days at Hallmark Cards to my present-day entrepreneurial venture in envelope and packaging innovation.

Have you discovered a resource lately that inspires you?  Share it with us!

-Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Conformer is No Longer Expanding

I just wrapped up an important re-positioning  project I’ve been working on for the past year with some very talented marketing people in our industry.   Over time, we’ve learned some remarkable things from the marketplace as to why customers choose Conformer products, and our marketing communications had fallen far short of expressing those benefits.

New Conformer logo

New Conformer logo

And we landed in a pretty amazing place.  For starters, we’re taking the word “Expansion” out of our name.  Our products and our company are now simply Conformer Products and Conformer Products, Inc. respectively.  We did this because the word “expansion” is just a small part of the value our products deliver, yet the word “expansion” has become almost a liability for customers who dismiss the other Conformer benefits altogether because they don’t think they’re in the market for an expansion product.

We also mashed ideas together for months in search of a  great tagIine that would capture the essence of Conformer.  Drum roll please…“Conformer Products.  Creating presentation and mailing solutions that DO MORE.”

Our benefits:

• More durable (360۫۫۫  perimeter protection)
• More functional and versatile (holds a little or a lot)
• More professional looking (it stays flat no matter what you put in it)
• More environmentally friendly (FSC certified, recycled stock, less material and reusable)
• Plus, Conformer products also have the potential to save a lot of money in postage and fulfillment costs, while providing superior performance.

Now our products scream “value” and “superior performance” … it’s amazing what you can do by banishing one little pesky word to the corner.   Why shouldn’t Conformer products be the incoming industry standard for presentation and mailing solutions?

Remarkably, these changes are a reflection of what we’ve learned from our customers and the value they believe our products deliver rather than an aspirational marketing ploy that we hope will stick during a recessionary economy.

This is a seismic step for Conformer Products.  Thanks for helping us take it.  And please share your thoughts and reaction to our news.

–Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Put Your Initials on Conformer’s Interoffice Envelope

Many of you are on environmental task forces charged with the job of implementing reduce, reuse, and recycle practices throughout the office.  The underwhelming interoffice envelope seems to be the latest target, and is clearly in the crosshairs of task forces.  Twice in the same week, I found myself listening to frustrations about the reality of interoffice envelopes… that it doesn’t hold very much, isn’t durable for the job required of it, and despite its multi-usability, get trashed at the end of the day.

Conformer is in Stage 2 of prototype development for an infinitely reusable interoffice envelope made from recycled milk jug plastic (that’s post consumer waste…the best kind). 

Conformer Milk Jug Plastic interoffice envelope prototype

Conformer Milk Jug Plastic interoffice envelope prototype

Imagine never having to throw away an interoffice envelope again!  Imagine using an envelope that’s durable and versatile to be used thousands of times!  If reducing your office product costs permanently and improving the planet sounds like a good fit with your company’s objectives, we want to hear from you.  Give me your input at smcconnell@conformerinc.com and help put the finishing touches on this exciting new Conformer product.

-Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Feeding the Soul of Conformer

Inventing radically better products is the soul of Conformer Products, Inc., and our Conformer friends are our inspiration. Every day our conversations with strategic partners, end users, manufacturers and distributors give us insight into the business challenges that our products are solving, which leads us to our next innovation. And we know that our products inspire you towards new growth and success in your business.

We’d like to take this dynamic relationship to the next level. Please add our executive team — Sari McConnell, Bob Makofsky, and Marv Makofsky — to your Linked In network and click “Add to My Network” on the right hand side of the screen…and we promise to accept your invitation!

-Sari McConnell  smcconnell@conformerinc.com

USPS Investment Puts Money in Your Pocket

About a year ago, the U.S. Postal Service put out a detailed report on exactly how its investment in technology has “revolutionized the way the USPS processes flat mail.” It was such an important operational shift that the USPS moved to shape-based postal rates two years ago to help influence the packaging choices made by its customers.

This article spotlights the Flats Sequencing System (FSS), which sorts flat mail “in the precise order that postal mail carriers walk their route.” It’s a massive improvement in postal efficiency – each machine can process about 280,500 pieces per day – because it eliminates manual handling. And the money for this equipment is already spent. So each parcel that can be converted into a flat and run on the FSS is greater profit for the USPS.

The USPS has lost $7.9 billion in the past two years, and serious cuts are being considered. We have a huge opportunity to lower our own postage costs AND help the U.S. Postal Service stay afloat at the same time. How? By converting to Conformer mailers and envelopes, which work beautifully on the FSS equipment and lower the USPS’s processing costs. Do something for the greater good – abandon manually processed bubble mailers, small boxes, Tyvek and gusseted envelopes – and you’ll be putting money back into your own pocket.

–Sari McConnell smcconnell@conformerinc.com