217 River Ave, Patchogue, NY, USA 11772
Paris Art Label has been around since 1925, and while the company started forging its path to success in the 1970s, today it’s reaching new heights. Leveraging an aggressive growth strategy and the latest in digital printing, the Patchogue, NY-based company mixes old-fashioned customer service with a personal touch, while embracing the latest label and packaging trends and technologies.
Paris Art Label operates from its 65,000 square foot facility in Long Island, New York, about 60 miles east of New York City. A second location, a 48,000 square foot plant in nearby Ronkonkoma, houses the company’s digital, shrink and label application contract manufacturing center. And sitting on seven acres in Princeton, NJ, there’s a third facility, currently at approximately 20,000 square feet, with the growth potential to reach 150,000 square feet.
In 1974, Ron Tarantino bought Paris Art Label for less than $10,000. At the time, the company was comprised of one Shiki letterpress machine, one employee, and it was located in a loft in lower Manhattan, in New York City. Soon after his purchase, Ron bought Colonial Label, and with a handful of employees, moved the company to a small, 1800 square foot shop in Huntington Station, Long Island. He added a few more letterpress machines, and from there the company began to grow.
After purchasing East End Label in 1982, a small flexo label printer in Westhampton, NY, Ron began looking for room for expansion, and in 1986 Paris Art Label moved into a 44,000 square foot facility in Ronkonkoma. A year later the company acquired its first flexo label presses – a Manhasset and a Mark Andy. Strong, steady growth followed – in ten years time, the Ronkonkoma operation grew 400%.
Strategic acquisitions, as well as finding lucrative, niche markets have been linchpins to Paris Art Label’s success. In 1980, the company acquired Colonial Label Company, signaling its entrance into the thermal label printing and applicator markets, as well as establishing itself in the oil and lube industry. Today, operating as Colonial Label, the division specializes in manufacturing the machines that print the static-cling “return-for-service” oil change labels. The application division grew further with the 1994 acquisition on Tuck Automatic Labeler, a specialist in label application and assembly work.
More recently, Paris Art Label acquired Princeton, NJ-based Princeton Label in 2006, and Gemsom Liberty Graphics, in Albertson, NY, in 2010. And in 2011, a strategic alliance was formed with minority-owned Classic Labels.
While Paris Art’s acquisitions are indicative of Ron Tarantino’s commitment to reinvesting in his company, the moves have been instrumental in bringing in personnel with decades of invaluable label industry experience. Today, with all of its entities, Paris Art Label employs around 220 people, and it’s also a family business. Running the company along with Ron are his sons, Ron Tarantino Jr., vice president of operations, Tim Tarantino, vice president of operations, and Jay Tarantino, vice president of sales.
The next level
“We’re growing pretty quickly, and we’re trying to stay ahead of it,” says Jay Tarantino, “We have always invested back into the company, but we’re now taking it to another level.”
Dedicated salespeople, and retaining people from the acquired companies have been paramount to Paris Art Label’s success. “We have the best sales force in the industry, hands down. With the level of the experience, the knowledge of technology and just the access to clients in the markets that we serve, our sales force is just unmatchable,” Tarantino says.
In the last five years, the company has ramped up its technologies and capabilities. In 2010, Paris Art Label decided to invest in shrink sleeve labels. Tarantino explains: “The writing was on the wall. Our clients were constantly asking us about shrink, and it came to the point where it just made sense. So we invested in presses and retrofitting presses, and bought state-of-the-art equipment to seam, split, cut and finish the labels. We saw that there was a lot of low-lying fruit – our division went from zero to $1 million in sales in a year.
“We project that our shrink growth will one day outperform our label sales. Sure, that’s a faraway projection, but there is so much potential there,” he says.
Tarantino adds that with all of the company’s recent growth, “we realized we were getting a little too big, too fast, and needed some help.”
Enter John Hovanec, Paris Art’s senior VP of operations, and formerly of CCL. “John was hired a year and half ago with the sole purpose of taking us to that next level,” Tarantino says. “That is our whole vision – to get to that next level – to be that $100 million company that can still provide the highest quality service at the right price point, that’s not run by shareholders. We are sensitive to smaller and larger clients, and still provide both the best service and the best quality. If someone comes to us with an idea or new project, there aren’t multiple layers of fat to get through. That’s a huge benefit, and we see our growth coming from being able to provide personal attention to our clients,” Tarantino says.
Lean Manufacturing has also fueled the company’s growth, and the process for continuous improvement is spearheaded by Paris Art Label’s VP of quality assurance, Tom Southworth. Southworth, who brings 30 years of manufacturing experience to the company, is SME Lean Bronze Certified, and an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence.
There is more to Paris Art Label than superior customer service, there’s also the technology behind it. When Hovanec joined the company, he spearheaded the its foray into digital printing. “With John coming on board, a lot of changes took place,” Tarantino says, “foremost, our partnership with HP and AB Graphic. We purchased and installed three HP WS6600 digital presses and two AB Graphic finishing units in less than nine months.”
By going digital, Tarantino emphasizes the advantage Paris Art Label has in now being able to offer its clients cost savings and superior quality. He says, “You can only bid on a label so many times – how much cheaper can you get the material? How much cheaper can you get the inks? Eventually you are going to run out of options and variables. So going to digital and saving thousands of dollars a year on printing plates is an easy, soft cost savings that we can immediately pass on to our clients and say, ‘Not only can we improve your quality, lead times and accuracy – here are your immediate savings’.”
Today, Paris Art Label has more than 25 printing presses – flexo, letterpress, silkscreen and digital. For flexo, the company has made recent investments in new Mark Andy, Comco and Nilpeter presses, and platemaking is done in-house. There’s also an HP-trained graphics department. Some clients demand the highest quality labels, sometimes with complex constructions, and Paris Art can deliver. Capabilities include 4-color combination printing, hot stamp, silkscreening, embossing, debossing, extended content labels, booklets, onserts, peal & seal, holographic printing, and soft-touch feel labels. The company also has new equipment for multi-color shrink sleeve printing and application and shrink sleeve specialty converting.
Personal care, personal touch
While Paris Art Label’s client list runs the gamut – for both short and long runs – the company is heavily immersed in the beauty and personal care markets. Explains Tarantino, “We have more than 90 health and beauty accounts, among them the biggest brands in the business – Coty, Estee Lauder, Revlon, L’Oreal, Avon, Shiseido, all the way down. We do a lot of high-end work, but also a good amount for mass market. It’s a really good mix.”
For Paris Art Label, being in the New York metro area is an asset, as many of the beauty industry’s biggest players are located in New York City. Establishing relationships with its customers is key, and Paris Art Label is an active member of CIBS, the association for the Cosmetics Industry Buyers and Suppliers. “CIBS has helped a lot with bringing people together within the beauty market,” Tarantino says. “A lot of people I know are from the same industry, and the golf outings, various events, and just being involved in CIBS has been a great forum for networking with clients.”
Paris Art Label’s salespeople are busy. “We hustle,” Tarantino says. “Part of our strategy is gaining face time with our customers – being around the industry, organizing events, word of mouth, cold calling and making presentations are all part of what we do. We get involved, and we get in front of our customers. But, if you don’t have quality, service and price, you’ve got nothing. We like to get to know our clients on a personal level, and we know they are only as good as we make them look.”
Image is everything in the beauty market, and lately, Paris Art Label’s clients are evolving in the way they like their products to look. Tarantino says, “I would say our clients today are heading more toward shrink sleeves and textured packaging, along with high end decorative labels. Extended content labels have also been a huge area of growth, with all of the requirements for legal information that’s needed today. High-end silkscreen printing has also become prominent.”
As for the future, the plan for Paris Art Label is to continue on its path – growth by acquisition, equipment, and as Tarantino says, “hunger and hustle.” He concludes, “Our sales team hustles, we all hustle, but we try and do the right thing, and it’s worked out well for us, when the customer knows you care about them. Since we bought Paris Art Label our goal has been to be the best. We don’t want to be the biggest – just the best.”