Clifton Products are leading custom manufacturers in the printing and packaging industry. We are an expert organisation specialising in all paper and board related products. Both bespoke and wholesale. From printing to finishing we do it all. Couriers and their trucks arrive daily to deliver our products all over South Africa and abroad. Clifton Products has been in the packaging industry for over 20 years.
The following services are done in house:
• Litho Printing • Silkscreen Printing • Foiling • Embossing & Debossing • Laminating • Varnishing • Die Cutting • Book Binding and branding • PLUS all finishing aspects including folding, gluing, assembly, packing and shipment.
On Saturday the 31st of October 2016 disaster struck. This is our busiest time year when we work 7 days a week, both day and night shift.
At midnight we received a phone call from ADT, telling us there is a fire at Clifton Products. The fire brigade came immediately, but nothing could be saved. All machinery, clients Christmas orders that were to be delivered on the Monday, destroyed. Imagine a building filled with paper and board materials. We are a family company – so this really hit us hard.
Our family and a few staff members watched the building go up in flames. We watched our family business of 20 years perish in the inferno. It felt like we had stepped into a surreal horror show. One can just imagine the range of emotions by everybody standing and watching. But there was nothing we could do. News spreads quickly, by 8am on Sunday morning there were already about 50 staff outside the building, looking on in disbelief, emotionally disturbed, crying. We lost everything, nothing could be saved. 20 years of building up product ranges, machinery, everything gone.
The insurance company was very fair, but the first lesson we learned was that the insured sums included vat, while our estimates excluded vat, as is common in financial values. And whatever insurance payout one receives, it is not enough. The good news is that no one got hurt and we managed to keep every person employed. The staff were incredible during this time. We all sat on the floor and did what we could. A few good Samaritans donated chairs, tables, phones and cutlery. We were blown away by the kindness. Our first priority was to get our clients Christmas orders out. We were split all over town, using other companies equipment and facilities, working night shift as we couldn’t accommodate all the staff during day time. Somehow we survived, thanks to our loyal clients, dedicated staff and decisive management. It took us a full year to get back to normal, and . . . . . .
Now we are stronger than ever
They are a proud, yet humble family business. The company is run by both Mr and Mrs Wighard, together with their sons, Carl and Marc – who both joined the company after completing their Business Science studies at UCT many years ago.
They not only have the financial and management skills, but have picked up the technical expertise to ensure that Clifton will stay ahead and thrive on it’s continuing path of progress.
Clifton’s first product was a set of postcards, made in a garage some 20 years ago. Giftwrap and a range of greeting cards followed. Supply to local gift and stationery shops began to pick up. This then led to the introduction of gift bags.
And then the game changer – gift boxes. These items changed the direction of the business completely. From being a small publishing business of 4 or 5 people, we became experts in paper and board construction.
“In the year 2000 we gained our first corporate client and ever since our business has grown rapidly.
In 2013 we purchased Tocor Industries, a related company, specialising in packaging and display for the jewellery market. It has now been totally integrated in the Clifton culture, but services it’s market separately.
The number of people in our employ has increased to almost 200″.