An interview with Borry Vrieling, founder and Managing Director, eezeetags. By Ross Falconer
Borry Vrieling, founder and Managing Director of eezeetags®, has used the current quieter period to re-think the future growth strategy for his product. “At the beginning of the pandemic it became immediately clear that technology will be paramount in the airline industry, during and especially after the pandemic, to align with health and safety procedures without compromising on capacity,” he begins. “At the beginning of 2021, when the first vaccinations where set, it also became clear that leisure travel demand is still very much alive with airlines reporting more than healthy bookings. This means that the pre-COVID trends of more self-service and ever-growing passenger numbers will be persistent.”
At the end of 2018, eezeetags switched production from one-shift day-time production to a two-shift operation. “It was good that we did, given the demand for our product over the course of 2019,” says Vrieling. “But after March 2020 we could no longer sustain this, because of an almost total lack of demand. However, we could tell that scaling-up after travel restrictions are lifted would be a real challenge.”
Due to the success of the eezeetags® product, standard bag-tag producers already showed interest in the eezeetags® product. “However, the patent holder and producer of the base material ‘PRESSURETAC’ – Sihl, a leading specialist German label stock manufacturer – was reluctant to share the material outside the careful relationship built with eezeetags®, and a perfectly coordinated processing is essential,” Vrieling explains. “Experience shows that this depends not only on the production of the composite material with a special adhesive finish or the subsequent conversion into print-ready rolls. Further processing on the printing press and final finishing in small rolls is also of utmost importance to ensure the best possible eezeetags® product, in combination with a thorough knowledge of kiosks, printers and airport installations.”
After several senior management meetings, Sihl and eezeetags® joined forces in a future-oriented cooperation to jointly advance self-service check-in at airports. Based on the patented PRESSURETAC® product for self-adhesive luggage tags, branded eezeetags®, the two companies developed a concept for this market. An eezeetags® family has therefore been created, within which, under a strict quality-controlled procedure, the eezeetags® production can be licensed out to selected eezeetags® printing houses, making use of the same composite material and production under the same specifications.
“I am proud to announce the birth of the eezeetags® family,” Vrieling continues. “Over the last months, we have been negotiating with preferred leading bag-tags manufacturers, all in their specific regions, and we have finalised the last agreement.”
The following companies are, therefore, licensed to produce eezeetags® under the eezeetags® brand and quality specifications:
- Security Label GmbH, Sarstedt, Germany, will look after Europe, Turkey and North Africa (sales and production)
- Kimoha Entrepreneurs, Dubai, UAE, will look after the GCC countries, East Africa, India and the Indian Subcontinent (sales and production)
- George Schmitt & Co, Guilford, Connecticut, US, will look after the North American continent (production)
- Gateway Business Communications, Middle-Town, Connecticut, US, has been the US sales agent for many years already and joined the family to take care of sales on the North American continent (sales)
“Over time, my company will step away from direct sales and production and focus completely on the consultation of the family members, supporting them from a technical and marketing perspective, working on the relations with the major kiosk and bag drop manufacturers and industry bodies, supporting trade-shows and publications, and developing further improvements,” Vrieling explains.
He adds that eezeetags® will be continuing the entrepreneurial focus that launched the product and made it successful. “By creating the family, eezeetags® is securing capacity to be up to the challenge of the re-opening. Furthermore, it will mitigate risk due to multiple production locations working under the same quality guidance and is more sustainable since production is done locally, guaranteeing consistent worldwide quality and trouble-free operations.”