labelsplus : Labels Plus March 2019
Labels Plus 17 Labels Plus 17 ... continues on page 18 When many graphic artists and design houses cast their vision on the Australian market and who are without doubt, champions of good label design working across all areas of business, John Jewell set out on a different path. The first element guiding John and his team of wine label specialists was that the only product they would design for, is wine. Today, their clients include a broad range of selected International and Australian wine companies. They have collected numerous International awards over the years, and John knew that what they offered Australian producers would also appeal to a broader market - the thousands of growers and wine companies that circle the world. His vision borne out with over 80% of the business engaged in overseas work. As John himself explains: “When I started this new company in 1995, I decided I would only do what I really wanted to do - which was wine label design. There were plenty who said: ‘you won’t survive only doing wine labels’. But I was determined that I would. We have three to four hundred clients in Australia, from Queensland through to Mornington and West Australia. We couldn’t penetrate the large South Australian market because they wouldn’t buy outside of South Australia. And there are plenty of good designers there well-versed in wine labels. So I thought if I couldn’t get into the South Australia wine industry, then I’d need to go overseas. But it really took about 10 years before our team was experienced-enough to secure business overseas.” In 2002, John went to the London Wine Show and met Martin Campion from Direct Wines for the first time. “Martin gave me a 20-minute meeting in the hallway and I got his account. And what I realised then, was that if you’re at the top of the field nationally in Australia, then you’re at the same level internationally. “We were competitive – our price-point was good – and the quality was right. Martin Campion is now a very good friend of mine and we did their work for a very long time, which launched us into Europe. For years we worked for all the major importers and retailers in the UK. We picked up Direct Wines, and migrated into mainly importers, distributors and retail supermarkets, rather than producers or wineries.” John said they had completed a restructuring strategy which split the company into two. We have our bespoke business, which is the core business around the world, and we have built an online division – which provides off-the-shelf designs for wines – and which Direct Wines asked for. They wanted to be able to buy half a dozen labels ready-made, private labels to suit a specific on-line project. “I had felt for some time in Australia that instead of putting your branded premium product into a large discount retailer, that a producer should create a second label for that market. But at the time they mostly declined to do it. Discounting by large-scale retailers has impacted many a price-point. We developed our range of Direct Wine labels and when I was at a wine show in London or Dusseldorf, I would sell 30 or 40 every time. “So we built that business for a long, long time. But we recognised that people around the world were not seeing our really good quality work – the bespoke designs that take a long time to do. So we changed tack five years ago, displaying all of our bespoke work, and that has changed the perception of us around the world. “Bespoke is probably our core business, but the off-the- shelf work is utilised by big companies, particularly in the US and in Europe. They will buy 10 labels at a time. On-line purchasing is really powerful and the off-the-shelf model has moved from just Direct Wines London for the retail market, to on-line and major supermarkets here and overseas, and that is where the strength is.” John Jewell, who founded John Jewell Design as a “wine-only” label designer.
Labels Plus December 2018