Market Movers Design’s motto is Will Work for Food.
The company literally does that. It works to promote and highlight local and regional food brands through design and technology.
But the Barataria company is not an advertising agency but rather an “end-to-end business development company with a focus on adding value to marketing design and marketing solutions specifically for food brands and local manufacturers and artisans.”
The company offers marketing plans that position products as a leader on the shelf, exports approved designs, and affordably sourced local and international packaging.
The name might also ring a bell for some and that is because it is a subsidiary of D’Market Movers Ltd, the online market and grocery.
Market Movers Design is the brainchild of Rachel Renie and Sean Gonzales. It was started in 2019.
Five years ago, Gonzales would host food events at Fanatic Kitchen Studios. He has been in the field of advertising for 12 years and has been a creative professional for 15 years.
That space was focused on innovation in food and it attracted similar minds. D'Market Movers, at one point, came to relaunch its website and Gonzales was asked to host that event, he said in the Google Meet interview with Newsday.
"Advertising is hard work, especially as a creative. You are asked to be creative everyday but it could be stifled personally," he said.
Gonzales’ passion was reignited when he saw how D’Market Movers was bringing all of the local foods and products from producers and agro-processors and providing a digital platform for them.
In 2016, D’Market Movers launched its frozen food line called Farm and Function and needed packaging design services.
"From that initial meeting at the event, I formed a relationship with Rachel and we decided let us design something for flexible packaging."
He said flexible packaging was relatively new to TT at that time.
Starlabel.com says flexible packaging is a means of packaging products through the use of non-rigid materials, which allow for more economical and customisable options.
Gonzales added that they then had to go through the trials of designing for flexible packaging, getting the approved and legally required format for frozen foods, especially for it to be export ready.
But out of that process, both Renie and Gonzales saw the importance of packaging driving a brand and telling its story.
This is how the company was formed.
It has done work with its Farm & Function line, Hong Wing & Sons Ltd, Pascals Bakery, WhyFarm for its Daisy Dahlin’ chocolate bars, A and J Premium Ice Cream, Crisp, and Ambrosia Foods, among others.
The learning process for Gonzales and Renie – who are also life partners – highlighted the need for a deeper understanding of technical know-hows as well.
So she and Gonzales were taught of the legal requirements to having a food product on the market through ExporTT Ltd, TT’s national export facilitation organisation, charged with generating export growth and diversification in the non-energy goods and services sectors, its website says.
She said Gonzales was able to add, with his design experience, the know-how on what is allowed on the shelves.
Over their three years in the business, they have seen local brands list or make claims that are not legally allowed in markets.
“Their products can be removed from the shelf or not even allowed on the shelf to begin with. We felt like that insight was very vital throughout our design process and we ensure that it meets those legal requirements,” Renie said.
While the company is also focused on what is trending and innovative marketing tools, one of its core areas is ensuring that the products of manufacturers, agro-processors, artisans and producers can legally stand on the shelves first and then marry that with great design, Renie said.
As Market Movers’ Design executive creative director, Gonzales wants to make local and regional products stand out on shelves.
Renie said while TT has some of the best quality products in the world, including peppers and chocolate, often, more development was needed on what was presented on the outside.
“That is what gets a consumer to pick it off the shelf,” she added.
“If you can marry that with a high-quality product that meets legal requirements, the aesthetic requirement, it is just a recipe for success,” she added.
The company also became certified to ensure it knows the legalities of getting local and regional products to different markets. It has done training through ExporTT on how to enter markets like the Canadian, US and UK market.
Market Movers Design works with many companies from large to small. The company re-did the packaging of the popular local coffee brand Hong Wing which is 100 years old.
Renie said the company recognised that the coffee drinker was becoming more discerning and so wanted to revamp its packaging.
“They trusted us through that process...it is not just the smaller companies we are educating on what is required,” Renie said.
In Gonzales’ earlier days in advertising some of his earlier tasks included designing packaging for local beverage companies.
While it was not something he really liked, it formed the “technicality and how to produce production-ready work that will be able to be printed quicker,” he said.
To Gonzales, the packaging is more than just storage or a protective vessel but it is a billboard that communicates the story of the brand. This is what Market Movers Design tries to impart to each new and existing client.
While the pandemic has affected every aspect of life as it is currently known, Gonzales said Market Movers Design has seen a lot more people coming to the company.
“We’ve been in constant discussion and concert with a lot of emerging brands…,” he said.
The company has also done work with Shell LiveWire, “a Royal Dutch Shell Social Investment Programme, which enables entrepreneurs to grow their business and create employment,” its website says.
Gonzales said last year the company started working with Shell LiveWire. Then the pandemic hit.
“It was supposed to be face-to-face mentorship and execution of work and it ended up being this virtual, new frontier.
“We had to do that over five months and it worked so well, where we are continuing that and the sessions are going to continue the same way. It is almost like it is a part of their new platform.”
This has brought a lot of visibility to the company and it is currently working with many new clients both regionally and internationally.
The pandemic has also allowed the company to do more virtual workshops which allows it to reach more customers across the region, Renie said.
But understanding the importance of packaging, both Renie and Gonzales said, "It is so important for any company to invest in their branding and packaging, companies that do it very early on tend to be highly more successful than those that do it later on."