Redcactus Design to close after three decades

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AUCKLAND, Today: After almost 30 years of delivering professional design work for local and international brands, Parnell design agency Redcactus is closing its doors, “allowing its owners to focus on new projects”.

The move leaves 30 current employees facing an uncertain future – but the owners are putting a positive spin on events

A press release from the agency (via Wright PR) said: “Formed as a partnership between Chris Chong and Mike Pearce in 1994, Redcactus started with one MacIntosh computer and grew over the years to have two studios with up to 30 employees, and today a client list of some of Australasia’s most famous household brands, including Griffin’s, Goodman Fielder, Red Seal, Frucor Suntory and KFC.

“Over this entire period, Chris and Mike have been business partners, and have done some breakthrough work along the way, one including a Pentaward for KFC Australia’s brand and packaging, that was then taken global as best in class.

“But they have now decided to step away from the agency and industry life, go their separate ways, take some time out, and look at new personal challenges for the future.”

ECD/ceo Chris Chong said: “The design industry has changed dramatically over the years and the agency has grown, rapidly at times, to provide a unique and high-quality brand and design service.

“Many clients have been with the agency for decades in great partnerships. They include Griffin’s – partnering since 1999 and KFC Australia since 2004. Goodman Fielder has been a key partner since 2006 (with a short break mid 2000’s) (but previously since 1996 as Mainland, Meadow Fresh and Tui Foods companies); Red Seal (Endeavour Group) a key partner since 2011; and Frucor Suntory since 2018 – all of whom are still key pillar clients of Redcactus.

“The staff have been supportive of the decision and we will assist them fully with any transition to new employment, or wherever their next chapter begins.”

“More recently, navigating through the global pandemic showed us all that there are new ways of working not just locally but globally. Our belief is there is still even newer ways of working to be discovered such as the introduction of AI, and how we need to embrace it and use to our advantage.”

Chief operating officer Mike Pearce said: “The closure is a bittersweet moment for myself and my family.

“But at the end of the day Chris and I built a company that lasted 30 years and that is some achievement. This success I have to say has only been made possible with the help of over a hundred or so wonderfully talented employees we have had the pleasure working for us and our clients over the years.

“The Redcactus team have been notified of the decision and the two directors are working through a consultation and support process with them all.

“They have been accepting and supportive of the decision and we will assist them fully with any transition to new employment, or wherever their next chapter begins.

“The doors will close on 31 October 2023, but there will be a transition period to honour any existing projects not completed by this date and for general business closure processes. Any outstanding projects will be completed as soon as possible.

“We would like to thank them all, from the clients we have partnered with, some have become life-long friends, and then all the team that was part of this incredible 30-year history – we could not have done it without you.

“There has been some fantastic brands and projects we have had the pleasure to work on locally and globally. And we always said any project no matter what size is as important as the next … but for me to be part of the KFC global family for nearly 20 years – I feel I know the Colonel better than anyone, like a best friend.

“Other highlights have been working with Unilever and being known as the detergent designer, and then Griffin’s, Goodman Fielder and Red Seal for the huge local support they gave Redcactus for so many years. The last few years I immersed myself in the world of beverages and had the complete support of Frucor Suntory which won’t be forgotten either.

“I am incredibly proud of the work Redcactus has created, which has been recognised both locally and internationally. Pushing the design and manufacturing boundaries and the businesses we have partnered with; I must say there is certainly a talent pool here in New Zealand.”

The release said: “While both are considering their next challenges, both will take a break from business life to recharge their batteries and focus on a few personal projects.

“For Mike, like the staff who are leaving, it’s all about the next step in one’s career and taking the opportunities that present themselves.

“For Chris that means supporting his daughter’s new business, growing his luthier interest and brand, continuing his design school lecturing gigs, as well as adding in some creative consulting.

“More importantly it’s all about the people that we have met along this long and at times stressful journey we have been on. That is agency, and we sincerely thank everyone.”

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