INSIDE THE BOX: Taylor Box President Daniel Shedd is the third generation of his family to run the company. “We’ll run one box or a million boxes,” he said, describing the scale of Taylor Box’s orders.
Whether a box contains staples, Swiss army knives, wedding invitations or high-end credit cards, chances are good Taylor Box in Warren designed, crafted and shipped it.
The types of custom-made boxes this small company has produced since its inception in 1885 have changed with the times, says President Daniel Shedd, which is why pivoting between different products has been critical to the firm’s success.
“We spent 128 years pivoting, because at the end of the day, if you don’t provide a product or service that there’s a demand for, the market dismisses you as irrelevant,” said Shedd.
“Back in the day,” he added, packaging jewelry for LG Balfour or tools for the Browne and Sharpe machine tool manufacturer was the norm. But the company has spent recent decades moving from fashion and computers to jewelry and cosmetics, and now finds financial services among its biggest customers.
Today’s upscale credit or bank cards often come “well-announced in a beautiful package” made by Shedd and his team of 45, he said.
Now 128 years old, the firm was originally owned by Clarence Taylor and based in Providence, but was sold in 1921 to Shedd’s grandfather, Howard Scholes. Shedd’s father, Martin, took over the business in 1968. By 1952, the firm had moved to Warren, following the out-migration of many textile manufacturers from the city. Steady growth followed, and three additions later, the firm has doubled in size, Shedd said.
After graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 1974 with a degree in economics and working side by side with his father, Shedd took over the business in 1979.
Marketing itself for its service, expertise and speed of delivery, Taylor Box designs, manufactures and ships boxes to clients that can range from 25 cents each to $250 each, Shedd said.
Using paper textiles and hybrids, some of the materials are exotic, like foil-embossed Japanese silk book-cloth, for instance. Typically, the skeletal element of the box is chipboard, which is then overwrapped with printed papers, offset printed papers, silkscreen or cloth, or synthetic substrates.
“We make rigid setup packaging made with chipboard, hard cardboard, so it’s like a shoebox, it’s not collapsible like a folding carton,” he said. “Our product is shipped set up and made up so we’re shipping air – and when you ship air it’s really expensive.”