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We're 20 years old now!
Red Bird is now twenty years old.
"A mountain so high that no bird can fly over it.
Red Bird can.
When I have to write that "we are twenty years old" it sends shivers through me.
Firstly because I have to conduct this interview with myself. Answering questions to myself reminds me of Minister Ziobra's conferences. And I am particularly disgusted with this character, hence the shivers.
Secondly, I founded the company not because I wanted to, but because I couldn't find a job because there was a crisis. And we must have gone through five such crises already.
Nothing has changed in our company. We have been ready for an eco-revolution for 20 years.
I imagined 20 years ago what is happening now. That marketing would finally start to pay attention to the quality of BTL products. Anyway, some of my views were published by OHH Magazine so I am not an empty voice. I dreamt that marketing would stop flooding the world with a river of pointless, hopeless gadgets that fall apart after an hour. That people would start paying attention to what they order from a company with their logo and what they give to their customers. After all, it's not about stopping this type of activity, but about making a really conscious choice. So we have a number of brands in our portfolio that are above all functional, attractive and durable. As a distributor, we have the Contigo brand, which is absolutely trusted by our customers. We have the Pacsafe travel accessory brand, Dr.Bacty printed towels, which we produce ourselves, the fantastic Roll'eat product, which is an eco-friendly breakfast pack, and in terms of promotional clothing, we offer customers the ID (from ID) and Harvest (from Texet) brands before they became so popular.
When you can print in colour but everyone wants a white logo anyway.
A milestone for our corporate intentions in 2019, we decided to purchase a machine for UV printing on cylindrical objects. That is, in our case mainly on thermal mugs and water bottles. The machine was the first of its kind in Poland and the 7th in Europe. It is thanks to it that such cool projects as those in the pictures for the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity come into being. However, this type of personalisation is a difficult subject. Firstly, we had to learn how to use the machine and get used to a relatively new technology, and secondly, it took us longer than expected to offer our customers the possibility of printing in almost photographic quality. For the first few months customers wanted their logo in one colour anyway.
From diving to the most popular mug brand in the world.
They say that travelling educates. The educated ones. These are not my words, but probably from "Uncombed Thoughts" by Stanisław Jerzy Lec. I have been actively diving since 2001. Around 2006 I went to the fair in the Czech Republic. At the stand there, I noticed an interesting solution for securing diving luggage. It was a steel mesh in the shape of a bag into which you packed your luggage. The net made it impossible to open the luggage and steal the diving equipment. The product still exists today and is called Pacsafe. As no one in Poland imported the brand, we distributed it. As the brand was becoming increasingly popular around the world, we were able to distribute a well-known and innovative product at the next trade fair. In this way, I learned what it means to launch a brand on a given market. And then came the year 2009 and at the next trade fair I met the Contigo brand, which at that time was only 3 years old and completely unknown neither in Europe nor in Poland. The mug cost astronomical money for Polish zlotys, but its functionality, quality and design enchanted me so much that I applied for its distribution in Poland.
Who invented women's promotional T-shirts? I hope it was me.
I do not know if you remember what the promotional clothing market looked like in the first decade of the 11th century. There were things described as unisex. That is, one cut of t-shirts for everyone, one cut of polo shirts. One cut of fleece sweatshirts. In 1997 I started working for the Danish clothing brands Jackpot & Cottonffield. The brands were famous for their typical Scandinavian design, but above all for their quality. The number of shops in Poland reached 30 and it was one of the largest clothing chains in prime locations. My boss at the time came up with the idea of creating a business offer for corporations based on the Jackpot & Cottonfield collection. And that was my main task. I may not remember accurately, but I think it was the first promotional clothing offer (admittedly of a higher order) differentiated by gender. Separate styles for men, separate for women. I loved how easy it was to convince the ladies from marketing to choose, instead of baggy and coarse T-shirts, neat, airy, beautifully coloured leotards from Jackpot or polo shirts for men (I still keep in touch with some of them and give them my best regards). Of course, the quantities ordered never equaled those for mass events. But it was then that I decided that less can be more.
Famous brands in the service of Her Majesty's Advertising.
The year 2001 came and it turned out that the Danish owner of the Jackpot&Cottonfield brands was changing strategy. It was merging with another Danish brand and focusing on rapid mass-market growth. My B2B department was to cease to exist. For a while I was even looking for a job in Warsaw, but nobody wanted to hire me. Maybe because there was also a crisis in 2001. So the then fashionable word "outsourcing" came to my mind. I proposed to the management in Denmark that they get rid of the costs in the form of a B2B department, but could keep the sales. Apparently, the offer was tempting, because we signed a contract under which my company could exclusively continue to sell the Jackpot & Cottonfield brands outside the company's own shops. And for the next 10 years we were the only such company in Europe. But because two brands is an average offer, I decided to expand the brand portfolio with other brands known from chain shops. So we worked with brands like Samsonite, Camel, Puma, Ecco, Springfield, Henri Lloyd, Mello's, Samas, 4F, . Our advantage was that we were very familiar with how the clothing industry worked.
From Jackpot & Cottonfield to the Red Bird brand.
However, because the competition learned quickly and imitated our actions, around 2003 the Red Bird clothing brand was created from our clothing experience. We were aware that customers are looking for things that last and are able to pay for them. Knowing the national suppliers of knitted fabrics producing for well-known brands, we offered customers what seemed to be the perfect solution. Quality at the level of global brands at the affordable price of our, or their own brand. Personalisation is really nothing new. Almost 20 years ago, we created our own clothing collections for customers with their own labels, tags, dyeing fabrics and knits in their own brand colours.
It was great fun to be able to create these things and use the infrastructure of the then flourishing Łódź textile industry. The greatest satisfaction I got was when individual customers called the company and asked us if our items (those with the Red Bird label) could be bought somewhere retail. They were so impressed with the quality of the products that they sought them out for themselves. After a few years, we stopped our own production and joined two clothing brands - Harvest and a bit later ID. Advertising products began to be sewn at such a high level and in such a wide assortment that it was difficult to cope. To this day, we still recommend both of these brands to our customers who are looking for quality in this type of product.
The name Red Bird and its motto originated long before the company was founded.
And finally, to start with, a short story of how the company name and motto came about. As a 16-year-old I was spending my holidays with my parents in Hungary. I was supposed to return from Hungary to Poland by train, pack my things and go to a sailing camp. In Budapest we lined up in a long line for tickets and for two hours I stared at the inscription on my T-shirt "A mountain so high, no bird can fly over it". I had no idea what it meant because I didn't speak English, but I memorised the phrase and translated it word for word at home with a dictionary. I later discovered that this is how the Nepalese describe Chomulungma, or Mount Everest. Again, a few years later, I was impressed by a nature film describing a certain species of bird from South America that lives on the continent but, in order to lay its eggs, can fly several hundred kilometres over the ocean to an island. And these two facts came together in such a way that perhaps there is a mountain over which no bird can fly, but since there is one that can fly over the ocean, I want to be the personification of such a bird that can fly over this mountain. And I want it to be red. Interestingly, only this year I discovered the original name of this bird. It is the Galapagos resident Little Vermilion Flycatcher. And so we reached the beginning of our twentieth year.
I would like to thank everyone involved in the company over these two decades. Even if you were/are our competitors, you added a stone to the direction in which the company has evolved.
I would like to invite current and potential clients to make use of our services.