Cartonagem Trindade

Excellence at the service of fashion and global high perfumery

Words: Ilídia Pinto

It started in a small garage in Santa Maria da Feira, when Maria da Silva Trindade and three others set up a small unit to create hand-made packaging for the footwear industry of São João da Madeira and Oliveira de Azeméis. The company took off when Pedro Ventura, the family’s second-generation, took over. It grew, innovated, reinvented the business and was transformed into one of the five leading hard packaging companies in Europe, supplying major national and international brands.

And while it is true that footwear brought Cartonagem Trindade to the world — and Pedro Ventura does not hide the fact he learned much from the “humility” of a sector that is constantly innovating — it is no less certain that its ambition was always to break into the world of cosmetics and perfume. This is also a sector that is “audacious and in constant transformation”, but which has even more challenging levels of demand and commitment, the door to which was opened by Dior in 2015.

Now, five years on, this part of the business accounts for 45% of the company’s 20 million euro turnover — almost as much as footwear and with a tendency to grow. It helped revolutionise packaging in the beverage sector, by proving that good wines do not need to come in a wooden boxes, and that there are times when hard cardboard, especially when it is a real work of art, can make all the difference. This sector accounts for 7% of turnover, with ceramics making up 3%. Armani, Gaultier, Kenzo, Isabel Marant, Lanvin and Massimo Dutti are just some of the brands Cartonagem Trindade have packaged, alongside such products as Deau and Richard Delisle cognacs, Taylor’s and Dow’s ports, Bollinger, Billecart-Salmon and Charles Gardet champagnes and Murganheira and Rapuseira sparkling wines, among others. And there are products that have doubled or tripled their sales thanks to Cartonagem Trindade packaging. The Inditex group is an example of this: “We’re lucky. We create the packaging with our hearts: you can’t get luckier than this”, says Pedro Ventura.

Cartonagem Trindade now employs 220 people in its three factories — two in São João da Madeira and one in Guimarães — that cover a total area of 40,000m2. Five years ago it employed 100. The most recent factory, the second in São João da Madeira, opened in March during the week in which the State of Emergency was declared in Portugal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It boasts the latest generation machinery, with production lines that are completely digital and with air and particulate control levels designed to produce packaging in the luxury cosmetics, perfume and wine sectors, with the very highest levels of hygiene, organisation and safety. Including a high-security warehouse, this represents an investment of more than two million euros.

Cartonagem Trindade has made a consistent commitment to digitisation, where it has invested more than 35 million euros over the past 15 years. And it will continue investing. While 2020 might not be its best year in terms of financial returns, it certainly will be in strategic terms. “There is opportunity in every difficulty, and Cartonagem Trindade will never stop. We did not stop working, which has given our clients enormous security. This new investment is important, not for the money that is at stake, but because it is a tool that gives us access to new challenges”, Pedro Ventura added.

Known for his low profile, Pedro avoids the spotlight. “Our mission is to make the customer shine. We are the velvet that makes the product stand out from the crowd. We communicate through our products. Is there any greater pleasure than seeing a successful investment, a happy employee and a customer who is delighted by the final result of our work? There is a lot of passion involved, but at the root of it all is humility”, he concluded.

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