Eric Friend – A Conversation About the 100+ Year Old Friend Family Business of Print – Ep.98

My guest on this episode is Eric Friend. I reached out to Eric after seeing him talking on Twitter about his family’s printing business Friend Paper, which was founded in 1908 in Zion, Illinois, by Eric’s great grandfather. As a print publisher through our quarterly publication called the Operator’s Handbook, I was curious to hear what ideas he had on using print as a content medium. It turns out he’s an even bigger print publishing nerd than I am, and we hit it off immediately. I forgot to hit the record button during our first phone call, but Eric agreed to be on the podcast to share more about his family business and print as an under-loved medium.

Eric shares his journey from investment banking to his fourth-generation family printing business, challenges inherent in family businesses, the rebranding effort, and how companies today can use print to stand out from their competitors with customers and create unique experiences. We also spend quite some time nerding out about print publishing and the business cards from the movie American Psycho. Enjoy.

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H.A. Friend & Co., Inc (Eric’s Company)

Eric on Twitter

The Luxury Strategy by J.N. Kapferer

The Best Made Company x Duluth Trading Co.


(4:02) – The Catholic Church Story

(10:14) – The timelessness of print media

(13:36) – Eric’s background, his career in Investment Banking, and moving into the family business

(31:36) – What are some ways you want to see other companies use high quality print products?

(39:14) – What are some ways to communicate luxury through print?

(42:49) – Challenges in the business across generations

(49:31) – What are you most excited for over the next 12 months in the business?

(52:27) – What college class would you teach if it could be anything?

(54:20) – What’s a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?

(55:31) – What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

(59:27) – Wrap up

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