11 May 2018
The Art of Happiness
A flower-shaped paper sculpture pops up as the tea paper box is opened; a small box for dried fruits turns into a jigsaw puzzle with interesting patterns. Such packaging magic brightens up any product. Jola Happihood, Founder and Creative Director of design company Happihood, creates delightful packaging with fun and interesting designs that stimulates desire and adds value to brands. The company’s unique packaging designs were one of the highlights at the “Hong Kong International Tea Fair –Brand Management and Packaging Design Services Zone”. She plans to introduce her designs to the Middle East market and also explore international markets.
Packaging gimmicks essential for online retail
After a decade in the design industry, Jola believes design should be cheerful and fun, as she hopes to bring joy to people through design. “Nowadays we have our hands on our mobile phones all the time, but the digital screen lacks texture. There are a lot of nerves in our fingers, and we should feel different things with them.”
She likes objects with texture and she loves hand-crafting her designs. Made with different types of paper, her packaging designs are rich in structure and texture that delight and surprise.
Happihood notes that while product design helps a brand’s image, many retailers have switched to online retail in recent years because of the high rental costs. But online stores have limitations. “As consumers cannot touch the products, it takes more enticing gimmicks and selling points to both the products and the packaging to encourage consumers to make their purchase.” Jola founded her design company Happihood in 2014, which provides packaging and brand design services with the motto of “Make Me Happy”.
Before her company was founded, Jola won the 2015 Hong Kong Smart Design Award with her creative origami “Lai See” (red packet) design. The work was exhibited at the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair in the same year. It was Jola’s first-ever participation in a trade fair, and she was surprised by the positive feedback to her work. “I received a number of enquiries from buyers. The organiser also provided business matching services for exhibitors.”
On the spot design customised to clients’ needs
Jola have found out that trade fair is an effective channel for developing her business. She has since participated in different fairs to expand her client base, including the Hong Kong International Tea Fair and In Style‧Hong Kong last year, both organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
Her participation in Hong Kong International Tea Fair also proved to be a productive experience, where she received orders from eight clients. The buyers included tea merchants as well as food and beverage companies from the Chinese mainland, Middle East and Hong Kong.
“Learning about buyers’ needs from face-to-face interaction is very important.” She remarks that the fair provided excellent opportunities for face-to-face discussions with buyers. “I would draw the designs on the spot based on the clients’ requirements. They were all very receptive to it.” Jola’s booth was located in the “Brand Management and Packaging Design Services Zone” of the fair, where exhibitors were divided by categories. The arrangement made it easy for buyers to locate the products and services they needed.
She believes lavish packaging no longer appeals, as customers now prefer creative and distinctive packaging. As she is an admirer of the creative images of animals by Dutch lithograph artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, she decorated her booth with specially designed tessellated animal wall stickers. The wall stickers caught the attention of a dried fruit merchant from the Middle East, and resulted in an order.
Design to bring Mainland tea merchant to the international market
“I am in a bit of a rush working on the designs of Ramadan dried fruit gift boxes for my Middle East client,” says Jola, adding that some Muslims in the Middle East only eat dried fruits during the month of Ramadan. She has designed 30 small dried fruit boxes with numbers and texts printed on the exterior, where the boxes can be decorated with different patterns. In addition, the cardboards inside the gift boxes may be decorated with pop-up stars, and the boxes may be hung from the stars.
Jola says that many tea merchants are seeking to innovate their product package to appeal to young consumers. Meanwhile, some mainland Chinese team merchants are seeking to revamp their brands with an “internationalised” image for the overseas market. Minrong Tea is one of them. “They were also an exhibitor at the fair. We had a long discussion at their booth. They like British style and would like to give their product packaging an international look.” The discussion led to business collaboration, where Jola designed helped to design the brand logo for the “Jasmine Fairies” collection, as well as 12 tea box packaging designs with pop-up paper sculpture.
She feels the fair is an excellent platform for meeting potential buyers, while face-to-face discussions enhances the chance of securing business orders. At present, her clients come from the food and beverage industry. She hopes to expand her client base into the tableware, toy and gift industries. Hence she took part in the “Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair - Design and Brand Management Services Zone” in April, where she could network with buyers in person and promote her company’s design services and paper products.