Antoon Pelgrim celebrates 40th anniversary at Krepel
In 1982, Antoon joined Krepel as a holiday worker. A year later, he became a permanent employee, in a position that, as someone from Twente, he initially had some doubts about. ‘“Dorpels liemer”, they said’, says Antoon. In other words, someone who glues thresholds in the door department. He soon made the switch to the production of boxes and started as a salesman in the office a year later. Antoon: ‘In fact, I still do, both in the office and in the field and all over the world. But if someone asks me what I do, I always answer with “I sell boxes”. No fancy titles, just simply what I do. I have a wonderful profession. And if you’ve been working in the same place for 40 years, you simply have a good employer where you can talk about everything.’ We talk to Antoon about his anniversary at Krepel.
‘Peeling wood was the most beautiful thing to see’, Antoon begins his story while standing next to the imposing machine that was used to peel wood years ago. He explains how tree trunks were clamped and then several metres of wood peels were produced in different thicknesses for the production of wooden boxes. Next to the machine are some photos that emphasise the craft. ‘It’s still a craft’, says Antoon. ‘We deliver custom work. It is a wonderful process when a customer wants to put a product on the market and wants to have it packaged nicely. We work closely with our clients and designers. We create unique wooden packaging that complements products so that a correct and appealing overall picture is created.
Wooden packaging top three
When we ask Antoon about his packaging top three, he doesn’t have to think long. ‘The Elephant series!’ he says resolutely. ‘They’re available in big and small versions and have been around for about 40 years. Nothing has ever changed in terms of appearance, the boxes are an example to me of how beautiful simplicity can be.’ Also in Antoon’s top three: the imposing limited edition boxes for the Rembrandt collection from Royal Talens and the stylish and detailed packaging for a piece of jewellery from Aurum Brothers.
Working under three generations of Krepel
With 40 years of employment, Antoon has worked under no fewer than three generations of Krepel. ‘They all ran the company in their own way, but all with the same passion’, says Antoon. ‘When I started, Jan-Richard Krepel (senior) was leading the family business. An old-school manager. Jan-Richard Krepel who succeeded him was really into cigar boxes. He was extremely handy. He sometimes stood by me when I was making boxes, which of course would go wrong at that moment. Who knows that’s why he thought “let’s put him in the office”’, says Antoon with a laugh. Jan-Richard moved the production location to Poland and Bernhard - the current generation - also implemented changes within the family business. ‘Krepel continues to innovate. We are investing in new techniques and we can offer customers more and more. That makes the profession wonderful and our services relevant’, Antoon concludes.
Text and portrait photography: Mariëlle Schiphorst-Dolman | Vormbeeldig