One of the best parts of being a gift wrapper is having the chance to visit people who love paper and wrapping as much as I do. Such was the case recently when I ventured to Moorabbin in Melbourne’s South East on one of my wrapping excursions. Moorabbin is a bit of hub for paper and gift suppliers – must be something in the water there.
I was in Moorabbin to visit Barama – a family run business owned by Ross and Anne. Ross had oodles of experience in packaging and logistics before buying Barama and guiding its transition from a florist supplier to a leader in wrapping paper, packaging and accessories. Ross and his team know paper and during my visit I met with him and his designer Karen. Barama launches two new collections every year, so Karen is a busy woman.
I got the low down on trends in paper wrap and also a sneaky peak at Karen’s upcoming designs which will be launched (as many companies do) at the August Gift Fairs. My lips are sealed on what’s in store, but I can tell you her collection has cleverly reflected the looks emanating from the major European designers who were displaying at Paperworld in Frankfurt in January.
What I did not know and really should have, is that Barama Paper is printed in New Zealand and is sourced from pulp suppliers that practice environmentally sustainable forestry techniques. I do get asked about this sustainability element in gift wrapping workshops and in discussions with retailers, so this consideration is top of mind for many people and shows little sign of diminishing.
Barama has a strong presence in the complimentary retail wrapping space and their Showroom is full of designs for every style and colour palette – from gloss white (the consistent number one seller says Ross) to Kraft paper in all manner of patterns. Barama are now moving onto 5 and 10 metre rolls consumer rolls which are being rolled out (pardon the pun) in select stores and upmarket newsagencies – so you should see these around soon.
You can also purchase 50 metre x 50 cm counter rolls and 9.5 cm wide x 50 metre wrap bands directly from the webstore. There is no minimum purchase and the prices are most competitive. You could always divide a roll up among your friends and family – one of my gift-wrapping Alumni Anne does this and it works a treat.
I do like the Barama Kraft range which has several patterns in the one palette – this provides many wrapping options which can be further enhanced with the traditional Kraft look on the non-patterned side. I chose the four rolls in the pink Kraft family – a spot, a stripe, a geometric pattern and a plain pink – for my gift wrapping workshop and I can tell you it went down a treat in my May Melbourne sessions.
Sure the Kraft is a consistent seller, but the other popular patterns are watercolour and the Colour Splash range. Ross and Karen confirmed that gold remains very popular, strongly out selling its silver sibling by quite a margin. Geometrics with a nod to art deco are also having a moment. I was keen to see if greens were big big big given that Greenery is the Pantone Colour of the Year and it is making its presence felt in interior design. There were certainly some nods to Greenery coming through although Barama has always had a wide range of greens within their catalogue.
As I wandered past the rolls of paper, I negotiated rows and rows of ribbons as well. Ross tells me that wire edge ribbon is not as popular as it once was (a great shame for those of us who love a good big stand up bow) and that twine and raffia is huge. But because my mission was paper I cheekily kept ribbon discussion to a minimum as that meant I could visit Barama again with a different objective in mind.
We all know there are a lot of options when it comes to paper wrap. From established brand names to graphic designers who bring out small gift wrap ranges to complement their other stationery and print designs. But there is always a place for people who really know their stuff, who are constantly listening to what retailers and consumers want and are able to consistently deliver at a attractive price point. Wrappers – if you’re down Moorrabin way – why not go on an excursion to Barama. You’ll find a wide range of gift wrap as well as knowledgeable people who love a chat and a laugh. What more could you want?