Keith Baum is a self-described “undiagnosed entrepreneur” who has launched several companies over the course of his career. Baum started in the produce business at the age of 21, selling farm-fresh strawberries. But when sales began to decline after 14 years in business, the entrepreneur needed a new and fresh idea.
Looking outside of produce, Baum picked a product that he was very familiar with: pecans. He had grown up in a plantation home in Louisiana surrounded by fruitful pecan trees which he harvested every year for his grandmother. While looking into his next business venture, Baum came across her secret pecan recipe, and realized he had a winner on his hands. So, he began making the specialty pecans and selling them at local farmer’s markets.
As the pecans’ popularity grew, so did the business, which spurred Baum to officially launch Holiday Fried Pecans in 2013. The company was and still is a “fourth-quarter company” since the fried pecans are sold only as a seasonal product in small, local, and specialty shops, as well as through Holiday’s website.
But after some time, it was clear that people wanted more access to the specialty nuts as distributors began asking Baum for a year-round product. In response, he formed Baum’s Fried Pecans in 2018. These pecans are sold year-round to major distributors, including Bed Bath & Beyond.
Today the company operates both Holiday Fried Pecans and Baum’s Fried Pecans out of Alexandria, Louisiana, and sells the specialty pecans in 48 states and in 4,000 stores, as well as online. But the journey from farmer’s markets to major retail stores is one with a few twists and turns, especially with the pecan’s packaging.
The Packaging Journey
In the early days, when Baum was selling the pecans at local farmer’s markets, he was using store-bought bags and packaging the nuts himself.
“In the old days we were buying brown coffee bags with the clear windows and filling those up,” explains Baum.
As the company grew, so did the operations. The company moved to buying stock pouches and stickers, with Baum and his team putting on each sticker on each pouch by hand. While it provided a better package overall, this process still had its shortcomings. Hoping to not only save time and money, but also gain a more professional look to the product, Baum began to explore the options for acquiring packaging for pecans.
“I was looking for automatic labeling companies, but after really looking into it, it didn’t actually seem easier or cheaper. I realized within a week that we needed to be in custom-printed pouches,” says Baum.
But finding the right supplier for fully custom pouches wasn’t as easy as he had hoped. Baum originally hired a large conventional printer for his pecan packaging and soon felt a little lost in the shuffle.
“I was with a major competitor of ePac and felt like a very small fish in a large pond, and was treated that way,” says Baum.
Baum was growing frustrated with the quarterly price increases and inconsistent invoicing. When ePac approached Baum with a better solution for his pecan nut packaging, he was all ears. With ePac’s digital printing technology, there are no plates and the set up for each SKU is fast and easy. So, printing seasonal packaging, or customized and personalized packaging is simple and cost-effective. Hiring ePac in 2018 proved to be the packaging change Baum was waiting for.
“ePac offers us a great perk, no set-up fees! This is huge! It allows us to print seasonal pouches for Mardi Gras, Mother’s Day, or just launch the pecans with different package designs. With other suppliers, we’d have to pay thousands in set-up fees,” says Baum.
The ePac Difference
Today, Baum utilizes ePac’s fully custom, high-quality, stand-up pouches for both Baum’s and Holiday Fried Pecans. The pecans are available in 4-, 8-, and 12-ounce sizes that feature a reseal zipper for easy snacking and storing. They also feature an easy open tear notch for consumers, and a hang hole for simple retailing.
“Packaging is very, very important. It has to be attractive, and functional for both the customer (retailer) and the user,” says Baum.
ePac specializes in short runs, is competitively priced, and has offices throughout the U.S., including the Austin, TX office that Baum works with, which is only a few hours away from his operations. But the main difference between ePac and large conventional printers? ePac caters to small and start-up businesses, working alongside them to help them grow and succeed. From the start, Keith Baum knew that working with ePac was different than working with his former pecan packaging supplier.
“I feel like a medium fish in a medium pond now. The key is the no set-up fees, it’s next to unheard of. I couldn’t be happier so far,” says Baum.
If you’re ready for quality flexible packaging products with a low order minimum, even with mixed SKUs, and a fast turnaround, contact ePac today.