A late Father's Day tribute

This is being written in the weeks before Father’s Day—another Hallmark (profit) moment. Although I’m anything but fond of these “created” holidays, this year’s event coincides with one of the more interesting interviews I’ve conducted recently.

A couple of months ago, the National Assn. of Container Distributors called attention to its annual packaging competition by announcing that Diamond Magic Chemical and Richards Packaging, both of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, had won the Bernard M. Seid award as Best of Show for year 2000 (see May ’01, p. 4). Other winners, announced in late May, are shown elsewhere in this issue (see p. 20).

Eventually, I called Val Karreman, the woman who now runs Diamond Magic. My call to Val was returned by Karrie-Lee, her daughter, who also serves as sales and marketing manager for Diamond Magic.

I spoke with Karrie-Lee for some time, gathering information about the project and about the company and its products. Then, a few days later, when I was set to write up an Onstream account of the award-winning package, I was embarrassed to find that I had lost my notes from that interview with Karrie-Lee. I was tempted to write up the short news account from memory, but that’s always risky, so I called her back and admitted my mistake.

I’m glad I did, because after reciting again the facts of the situation about Diamond Magic New Leather Cleaner and Conditioner, Karrie-Lee urged me to mention her father in the article. Harry Karreman not only founded Diamond Magic about 25 years ago but was actually was the driving force behind the two-chambered bottle that eventually won the NACD Best of Show award. Although Harry made all the decisions leading up to the creation of the bottle, he passed away before he learned about the Best of Show award.

“I can’t begin to tell you how special he was. Our memory of his strength, inspiration and dreams are what keeps us all striving today,” Karrie-Lee says. Harry created and grew Diamond Magic Chemical by focusing his attention on one market—the automobile dealer service department. Over the years, Harry’s company created products that these service departments would use to “detail” or spiff up new cars they had sold and cars the shop had worked on.

And, Karrie-Lee admits, the packaging demands of this market are very institutional. “Most of our products are filled and packaged in-house,” she says. Diamond Magic typically sells in containers from 4 L up to intermediate bulk containers that hold the equivalent of five drums.

That’s why this new container was so important to Diamond Magic. “My father brought the packaging challenge only to Richards. They’ve been in business a long time, and we really like working with them. We’re really happy with what they achieved with this package,” Karrie-Lee reports.

This represents one of the company’s first ventures into the retail marketplace. “We’re relatively new in marketing at retail,” Karrie-Lee explains. “That’s the primary reason this is being filled by a contract packager.” She declines to identify the company, but does say that it requires two passes through the filler and the same method for applying the p-s labels.

The two-chambered bottle, blow-molded of polyvinyl chloride, holds 300 mL of leather cleaner and 150 mL of leather conditioner. It replaces a 750-mL PVC bottle for the cleaner and a 250-mL PVC bottle for the conditioner. The suggested retail price for the new bottle is C$12.99 (about US$8.44), depending on the outlet, Karrie-Lee says.

“The combo pack is designed to move our company into mass market outlets,” Karrie-Lee says. “We’ve got a lot of deals in the works right now.” When asked about plans for marketing in the United States, the marketing manager said she’s evaluating an arrangement with the Home Shopping Channel to introduce the product.

Whether or not the new retail pack becomes a success, I’m glad to pay Harry a belated tribute for Father’s Day 2001.

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