25 years of simply Irresistible Packaging
Antonio Martínez is the Founder and Director of Cartonajes Salinas, a company dedicated to secondary packaging for premium and luxury sectors.
2020 marks the company’s 25th anniversary, one tinged by the gray color of a global pandemic.
In this interview with Mª Eugenia Alberti, director of Joyce magazine, Antonio Martínez discusses his career, his passion for what he does and his vision of the future.
JOYCE: This year CS celebrates its 25th anniversary. Looking back with a fresh perspective, how has it been and how have you felt?
AM: I think that looking back, what we can highlight most is the absolute need to learn whilethe changes occurred. We haven’t had time to study or quietly reflect on things, nor the speed with which we’ve had to adapt to this whole revolution of globalization, technology and digitalization, which has been tremendous. We have taken the approach of thinning the line that separates service companies, like us, from the final consumer in order to build lasting relationships with clients.
Now we have young people on the team who are very prepared and very specialized in their work. Those of us who have been with the company for most of this quarter of a century have had no other choice but to be apprentices of everything, often forced to make bold decisions, with the vertigo that comes from not knowing. It is true that all this experience strengthens you, and makes you mature and value the talent of the team you work side by side with every day. Salinas has been and is courageous in its decisions, which is not the same as being reckless. Creative thinking and the desire to constantly evolve have accompanied us from the beginning and continue to do so. It is important to not remain anchored down and allow for flexibility.
JOYCE: At Joyce we believe that “our readers are our reason for being and doing.” Having known you for years, we’d love to know what your reasons are?
AM: Undoubtedly, our clients, who have pushed us to learn and evolve. Their needs have been our areas of study. We have learned with them. But, unquestionably, Salinas’ employees are the pillar where our strength lies. If it is important to know how to lead, it is no less important to let oneself be led, to trust, to dare… Luxury does not only belong to those who possess it, to those who conceive it, to those who design it, but also, and to a great extent, to those who make it. Understanding and taking on the quality levels of our clients, adapting to each project, always different, requires talent, attention and thoroughness.
JOYCE: We would like to talk a little bit about your emotional marketing, about that essential affinity that you have with your clients.
AM: We have an exciting job because we are dedicated to packaging products that have great stories behind them. Talking to a winemaker about his vines, the process of making wine that requires so much passion and so much risk; I can understand the process of creating a perfume, a pair of shoes… it’s a privilege. We have always experienced all these processes very closely;we have been up close and personal with the products that our boxes and packages contain.
This has shaped our personality. It has made us sensitive to beauty, aesthetics, the culture of luxury, the importance of detail. We try to build a coherent aesthetic conversation from an Instagram post, to a stand, to how we clean our buildings.
Each sector we work with contributes something, to be able to use the codes from very differentsectors is what has made us different. Offering differential value is our goal.
A packaging project needs support, testing, research, development... In most cases we make the journey hand in hand with the clients, inevitably, and this creates emotional ties with the products, brands and customers.
JOYCE: From the outside looking in, one can say that you are unquestionable masters of your work, privileged ones, from very early on creating and beautifying the packaging of big names in fashion, perfume and cosmetics… both nationally and internationally.
In the company’s 25 years of working with Loewe, Perfumes y Diseño, Puig, Massimo Dutti,among others…
You must have some very interesting anecdotes. Do you remember any of them?
AM: Yes, there are many anecdotes of successes, of failures, of exceptional situations…but it so happens that this interview is taking place in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, something that has made us all develop contingency plans quickly and that keeps us in an unstable situation in time and in its development.
We would like this piece to become part of our collection of stories in the long run and I believe that it will be a turning point in many ways. In every crisis, companies put themselves to the test, not only on an economic level. The whole organization and its foundations are being put to the test.
The forced isolation that this crisis entails is similar to trust exercises, in which you let yourself fall backwards and trust the people behind you to prevent you from falling.
The more time a company has invested in team building, the more it has communicated its culture and philosophy, the more it has invested in managing people, the stronger it will be to face a crisis, because it will be easier to collaborate, make decisions, and take swift action.
Our hope is that the whole Spanish and international business network, no matter the size or the sector, can make it through this situation as soon and as best as possible.
JOYCE: What year did you encounter the great packaging boom with special paper, printingwith five/six types of inks, stamping? What did all these advances mean for Salinas?
AM: We were the ones who launched ourselves into the market to look for new sectors, and all of this came to fruition for us between 2000 and 2008. Those were hard, intense years. They meant a 180º change in our way of manufacturing, buying, selling, investing…
Working for luxury brands and products is very demanding at all levels. Moving all this transversely to all areas of the company has been complicated, but only when we have achieved this, have we achieved the quality and efficiency that our clients demand. It’s absolutely essential to maintain excellence in all departments, more so in these times where you not only sell a product but also experience, service, added value …
JOYCE: Knowing your record, I’d love to pry a bit. What are you guys up to right now?
AM: Confidentiality is fundamental in our work. There are projects that, from the moment they enter the workshop until they are out on the street, can take between 6 and 12 months. Sometimes we start working on the box while the primary packaging, the bottle, is being developed. That creative process, being able to see how everything is taking shape, is very exciting. It would be interesting to see the evolution from the first design to the one that actually reaches the market.
Currently we have some interesting briefs; February-March are the months where we start to develop all the Christmas packaging, the “craziest” boxes of the year.