Celebrating its 30th year in business in 2015, Hull-based paper manufacturer GF Smith Photographic is a regular at the Societies' Convention and Digital Imaging Roadshows. Gavin Stoker learns from Commercial Manager Tim Berry and Marketing Manager Gail Mellors how the past has informed and inspired the present as it continues to deliver acclaimed products to photographers of every discipline
Employing some 200 staff at its Hull HQ, paper and album manufacturer GF Smith Photographic is truly a British manufacturing success story. And now it has something extra to celebrate: its 30th year of trading, which fell in July. The milestone anniversary was due to be marked by a series of fun and inventive product and sales promotions via its Instagram and Twitter accounts - as well as golden ticket giveaways worth £100 in credit, plus cake too, for staff and customers alike.
Longevity aside, you will be very familiar with GF Smith Photographic from its regular exhibiting at The Societies' Convention and Digital Imaging Roadshows, showcasing products including the Expressions One album range and 50-colour option Colorplan paper series - via which bespoke album covers and print mounts can be created to suit demands of photographer and client.
Many customers may not realise, however, that although the present company was set up back in 1985, its roots as a paper merchant stretch all the way back to 1885. This has doubly inspired the exhumation of its archives in celebration, and the sharing of images of its old catalogues and original logos, spanning from GF Smith through GF Smith Photomount - and finishing with the present day GF Smith Photographic.
Marketing Manager Gail Mellors tells us that there was to be an interactive element to its celebrations too - with the invitation for customers to send in pictures of their own old wedding albums, thus complementing the company's social media posts.
"GF Smith was already 100 years old before GF Smith Photographic was even born," marvels Commercial Manager Tim Berry. "GF Smith Photographic was almost established by default 30 years ago when Halidays, who were one of our largest paper customers, got into financial difficulty and we took their business on when they ceased trading. We employed two of their senior staff - one internal and one external, out on the road - and set up a unit for the production of albums. That's how GF Smith Photographic was born."
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
You have 217 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 15th March 2023