Faces + Places: In Memoriam
Gino Nahum, Founder, Arrowpak Inc.
Gino Nahum, who founded beauty packaging company Arrowpak, passed away on December 21, 2008. Gino founded Arrowpak in 1980 with his wife, Clarice, who remained at Arrowpak until her retirement in 1994.
Gino started Arrowpak in a small rented warehouse space in Glendale, NY, with two employees. Along with Clarice, Gino partnered with Greg Coughlan, the owner of WestPak Services based in Southern California.
Gino and Greg also had an additional partner, Baralan International, based in Milan, Italy. This partnership lent the company international flair and credibility—especially because glass nail polish bottles at that time were produced almost entirely in Europe.
Arrowpak began to specialize in small glass bottles sized ½ oz and smaller, and soon began to capture a large share of the nail polish market. While the company’s range of products has grown through the years, nail polish bottles remain an important part of the company’s business.
Arrowpak continued to expand, soon purchasing a 30,000-sq-ft building in Richmond Hill, NY, which expanded to 75,000 sq ft in 1989.
According to his colleagues, Gino believed that if packaging was available from stock, there would be a better chance of making the sale. Beauty brands would no longer have to wait until glass bottles arrived from Europe.
Gino continued with Arrowpak until his retirement in 2005, but still maintained a desk at the office and would stop in for a quick customer call and lunch from time to time until soon before his death, say colleagues.
Industry members credit Gino with helping many in the industry get their start in the cosmetic business. Those who knew him say he was a good judge of character, knowing when to extend credit even to those who had no credit history. He did not rely on credit-reporting services, but rather relied on his intuition and the gut feeling he got when negotiating price and delivery with customers.
Roland Baranes, current president of Baralan International, recalls Gino as a good and fair man who inspired others to go after business. Loved by his employees and customers, he had a flair for business unseen in others, says Baranes.
Essie Weingarten, founder of Essie Cosmetics, met Gino when she was just starting her business. “Twenty-eight years ago when I was about to start my business, I was fortunate enough to meet Gino Nahum,” says Weingarten. “Gino was a special kind of person who loved his business and really cared about his customers. Gino became part of my family. He was there from day one and really enjoyed being part of our growth.”
Mark Friedman, founder of Blue Cross Beauty Products, remembers Gino this way: “He was a man who had passion for his work and a real love of life. He always spoke from his heart and was not afraid to tell you what he thought, which I respected. He was emotional, excitable, and there will only ever be one Gino.”
A spokesperson for Arrowpak sums it up: “Gino had a passion for family, and those who were lucky enough to be part of his ‘extended’ family, be it customers, employees, or vendors, in this country and throughout the world, always knew they would be treated fairly, with respect, and with a touch of the special charm that was Gino.”
Gino may be honored with donations to Metropolitan Jewish Hospice through the Metropolitan Jewish Health System Foundation. Please contact 718/759-4335.