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Friday, July 10, 2020 - 09:34

Latest News

  • 414

    The countdown to the landmark 20th edition of the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair has entered its final few weeks, with buyers and exhibitors from around the world looking forward to a productive four days of business. As a hub of creative designs and innovative ideas, the fair will bring buyers face-to-face with today’s trendiest stationery items at specialist zones, a themed display area and a packed seminar programme. With around 200 international exhibitors in attendance, the fair to be co-organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council will take place from 6–9 January 2020 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

    According to Ms Judy Cheung, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, the upcoming fair will embrace modern elements as it enters the new decade: “Market trends such as the growing demand for eco-friendly products will be reflected through various elements of the 2020 fair. For example, in addition to hosting many exhibitors of green stationery, the fair’s seminar programme will include a presentation on green purchasing. The organisation of the fair is also being conducted with sustainability in mind. In previous years, we have reduced the consumption of paper and plastic by incorporating eco-friendly initiatives such as online registration systems and an e-fair catalogue. At the 2020 edition, we will take further steps, including a transition to LED lights at all exhibitor booths to reduce electricity consumption.”

     

    Stationery trends, retail models and green purchasing on the agenda at trend-setting seminar programme
    Together with the impressive product line-up that buyers will find in the aisles of the exhibition, visitors to the upcoming fair will have opportunities to gain valuable industry insights at the fair’s trend-setting seminar programme. The programme will inspire new avenues for business by promoting new product ideas and sales channels.

     

    One of the many highlights will be a seminar on current design trends delivered by Mr Masayuki Takabatake – also known as Japan’s ‘Stationery King’. The seminar will focus on the different types of stationery available in Japanese stores, such as water colour and ball point pens as well as high quality stationery available at reasonable prices. Another focus will be the role of stationery in the digital age. As tools for exchanging and recording information, pen and paper have been displaced by smart phones and computers. In this new age, buyers increasingly choose stationery based on pleasing aesthetics such as warm colours, interesting decorations, and attractive materials.

     

    New retail trends will also be a theme at a seminar delivered by Mr Eric Fu, the founder of Gift Idea. The company is a popular Hong Kong based retailer of stylish stationery and art materials. It is also a provider of calligraphy and painting workshops. In addition to exciting trends, it will also share information on best practices in the stationery retail industry.

     

    Another significant highlight of the seminar programme will be a presentation on green purchasing. Delivered by Mr Steven Choi Chun–pang, the Head of Certification for the Hong Kong Green Label Scheme, the presentation will include information on green labelling, a method of product differentiation that allows consumers to easily identify items that have been manufactured from eco-friendly materials. Green certification not only serves as an effective sourcing tool for buyers, it also acts as an effective marketing strategy that helps suppliers to improve their brand image.

     

    ‘All Kinds Alike’ display area to highlight shared aesthetics
    At each edition of the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair, a themed display area is set up to enthuse buyers with new ideas. The theme display area for the upcoming 20th edition has been confirmed as ‘All Kinds Alike’.

     

    The criteria for stationery displayed at the area includes warm colours, rectangular shapes and the use of three raw materials: wood, paper and metal. Stationery with these shared characteristics will be divided into separate groups based on functionality, materials and appearance.

     

    Apart from the themed display area, distinct product zones will also provide an efficient sourcing experience. The exhibition will be split into five separate zones: ‘Gift Stationery’, ‘Smart Office’, ‘Kids & School’, ‘Pen & Paper’ and ‘DIY Supplies’. In addition, there will be an international pavilion from renowned industry association – the Korea Stationery Industry Cooperative (KSIC).

     

    Synergy for more business opportunities
    The Hong Kong International Stationery Fair will be held concurrently with the HKTDC’s Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, the Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the Hong Kong International Licensing Show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Both the Toys & Games Fair and the International Licensing Show are the largest fairs of their kind in Asia. In 2019, the four fairs together gathered more than 130,000 buyers, creating plenty of business opportunities for exhibitors.

     

    For further information about the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair, please visit www.hkstationeryfair.com.

    How’s Hong Kong Now from Insiders’ View:
    https://youtu.be/Po6YlEbwqZQ

    Sat, 14/12/2019
  • 413

    The New York Stock Exchange-listed International Paper, the US-based paper major, has completed the sale of its controlling interest in International Paper APPM Limited, an India-based printing paper business, to West Coast Paper Mills Limited for about $85 million.

    The news of sale had impacted the company's scrip performance.

    International Paper intends to pursue suitable alternatives to divest its remaining 20 per cent ownership interest (7,954,008 shares) in APPM. Following a recent buyout, it divested about 55 per cent stake. And earlier it had divested about 17 per cent stake in the paper company located in Andhra Pradesh.

    International Paper is a leading global producer of renewable fibre-based packaging, pulp and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa and Russia.

    Management change
    Following this development, WCPM has acquired control of the company.  While the Board headed by W Michael Amick Jr., of IP APPM resigned, SK Bangur, as CMD, Rajendra Jain, Anish T Mathew, Sudershan Somani and Arun Kumar Surekha, have been appointed as Directors.

    Saurabh Bangur will take over as the company CEO.
     

    Fri, 13/12/2019

Special Feature

  • 430

    ट्राइडेंट ग्रुप के चेयरमैन पद्मश्री राजिदर गुप्ता द्वारा कोरोना वायरस की महामारी के साथ निपटने के लिए बड़ी पहलकदमी करते हुए प्रदेश सरकार द्वारा सौंपी गई जिम्मेदारी को पूरी तनदेही के साथ निभाने के साथ ट्राइडेंट ग्रुप के साथ जुड़े 35 हजार कर्मचारियों के हक में बड़ा ऐलान करते हुए जून से वेतन में विस्तार करके अच्छा प्रयास किया है। जिससे ट्राइडेंट ग्रुप में काम करते हुए आईएल वन कर्मचारियों का वर्ष 2018 के बाद 15000 वेतन बढ़ाकर 25000 हजार तक जाएगा व आईएल-टू 10 हजार के वृद्धि के साथ 30000 तक पहुंचेंगे, भाव 38 प्रतिशत से 48 प्रतिशत हो जाएगा। एसआर मैनेजर पवन सिगला, अमित झाय एडमिन विभाग सीएसओ बलजिन्दर सिंह, संजीव कुमार लेखा विभाग, जसप्रीत सिंह, मंजू रानी आदि ने कहा कि ट्राइडेंट ग्रुप के चेयरमैन राजिदर गुप्ता की दूर अंदेशी सोच से कर्मचारियों की 1 जून से वेतन में विस्तार करके अच्छा प्रयास किया है। जहां कर्मचारियों में कोरोना वायरस के कारण मंदी में लाखों नौकरियों के छूट जाने डर बना हुआ है, वहीं ट्राइडेंट ग्रुप ने बड़े ऐलान करके हमारे व परिवारों के लिए सब कुछ कर रहा है, हम भी ट्राइडेंट के कंधे के साथ कंधा जोड़ कर जी जान लगा देंगे। कोविड-19 के तहत ट्राइडेंट ग्रुप द्वारा योगदान

    कोविड-19 के तहत ट्राइडेंट ग्रुप द्वारा मानवता के आधार पर पहले बिना कटौती से कर्मचारियों को भोजन, दवाइयां सहित अन्य उचित प्रबंध करके वेतन व छुट्टियां दीं गई व महामारी के साथ निपटने के लिए चेयरमैन राजिदर गुप्ता द्वारा कोरोना वायरस फंड में पहले रेड क्रास में लाखों रुपए, हजारों मास्क, अलग-अलग जगह व मुकम्मल हैंड सैनिटाइजर मशीनें डीसी बरनाला व एसएसपी बरनाला के दिशा निर्देश के तहत योगदान दिया गया।

    Sat, 16/05/2020
  • 410

    We were different. Brands found it welcoming that there was someone willing to pay that 70 percent duty and buy. Our margins were limited to 15 to 20 percent in the early days, but we were setting up a business and getting products customers wanted. Modern retail was picking up, malls had started emerging, and disposable income was rising.

    In 2002, Bengaluru got a new fancy address for a stationery store: William Penn. Nikhil Ranjan launched William Penn with the idea of bringing in a lifestyle-driven stationery store to India, one that provided the touch-and-feel element.  

    Launched as a word-class alternative to the neighbourhood stationery store, Bengaluru-based William Penn now has its own label and products, tie-ups with premium brands like Cross, Waterman, and Sheaffer, and a turnover of Rs. 100 crore. 

    “Until then, a stationery store translated into small kirana-like stores, which didn’t have specific brands and premium appeal,” Nikhil says.
     A mechanical engineer from National Engineering College, Mysore, Nikhil had by then been placed at IBM. 

    However, he soon realised that neither software engineering was his cup of tea, nor was a regular nine-to-five job. Setting up a stationery store came naturally to Nikhil whose father has a manufacturing setup for stationery in Mysuru, which was established in 1987. But Nikhil wanted to do something different from the family business.  

    Started with an investment of Rs. 30-Rs 35 lakh, William Penn now has a turnover of Rs 100 crore. It offers its own pen brand PennLine, and has tie-ups with premium brands like Cross, Waterman, and Sheaffer to name a few. 

    Building the business from ground up 

    In the early days, Nikhil says the team was clueless on how to run a business. “We just knew there was an innate need for stationery and put things together, without even thinking of how the supply chain would work. What worked for us was that we were responding to what the customer wanted.” 
    “Initially, vendors supply to you only if you can guarantee certain volumes. And we can’t justify that. This is a challenge for any business,” Nikhil says. 

    He adds that getting the ‘yes’ from the vendors wasn’t a problem; the problem was after that. 
    The brand had now set up a complete distribution network and supply chain. But back then, the team had to start from scratch. Launched with seven people, William Penn is now a team of over 300 people.  

    Every brand was happy to have an inquiry and representation in India, but the price points and import duties surprised many.  In early 2000s, setting up a supply chain was tough as export duties were extremely high - upwards of 70 percent.  

    “We were different. Brands found it welcoming that there was someone willing to pay that 70 percent duty and buy. Our margins were limited to 15 to 20 percent in the early days, but we were setting up a business and getting products customers wanted. Modern retail was picking up, malls had started emerging, and disposable income was rising,” Nikhil says.  
    The first brand that William Penn helped succeed was Pelican, a German brand.  

    “I remember meeting the representative at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. He was most excited about staying at the Taj. He was the export manager at Pelican and was retiring. He heard from me, and possibly thought of it as his last chance to visit India. He was clear that I had to meet him there. This was in 2003,” Nikhil recalls.  
    After Pelican came on board, other brands slowly started joining.  

    Focusing on retail 

    For the first couple of years, the team focused on retail; it opened its first store at Koramangala in Bengaluru, and second store at Forum Mall in Bengaluru in 2004.  Another external factor that helped in the growth of the business was the presence of e-mail, which helped the team reach out to different brands and vendors.  
    William Penn started becoming cash positive from the second year. It started with a revenue of Rs 2 crore.  

    In 2005, the team expanded to Mumbai to tap the residents’ huge spending power. By then, the company was also getting corporate orders, many of them from India’s commercial capital, and it made sense to open a store there. 

    William Penn’s team was now marketing products in print and on radio. The hoardings ensured that malls received good footfalls.  

    “We got a good break in 2007 when we got an opportunity to open our store at the Hyderabad airport. It gave us a lot of visibility. It helped us get a store at the Delhi airport in 2010,” Nikhil says.  

    B2B and the William Penn label  

    While the company was building physical stores, the team started getting B2B orders from iGate and ING Vysya for writing instruments and stationery.  
    Physical stores may have been the primary source of revenue when Nikhil started the business, but today they contribute a little less than 50 percent of the overall revenue; the rest is courtesy B2B and other channels.  In 2015, the team decided to launched its own pen brand: PennLine.  
    Nikhil says that in early 2000s international brands did not have the Indian consumer in mind while making products. “We saw this as an opportunity and the Indian market was maturing,” he says.  

    By then, William Penn was making revenues of Rs 75 crore.  

     

    Thu, 12/12/2019

Industry People

  • 410

    We were different. Brands found it welcoming that there was someone willing to pay that 70 percent duty and buy. Our margins were limited to 15 to 20 percent in the early days, but we were setting up a business and getting products customers wanted. Modern retail was picking up, malls had started emerging, and disposable income was rising.

    In 2002, Bengaluru got a new fancy address for a stationery store: William Penn. Nikhil Ranjan launched William Penn with the idea of bringing in a lifestyle-driven stationery store to India, one that provided the touch-and-feel element.  

    Launched as a word-class alternative to the neighbourhood stationery store, Bengaluru-based William Penn now has its own label and products, tie-ups with premium brands like Cross, Waterman, and Sheaffer, and a turnover of Rs. 100 crore. 

    “Until then, a stationery store translated into small kirana-like stores, which didn’t have specific brands and premium appeal,” Nikhil says.
     A mechanical engineer from National Engineering College, Mysore, Nikhil had by then been placed at IBM. 

    However, he soon realised that neither software engineering was his cup of tea, nor was a regular nine-to-five job. Setting up a stationery store came naturally to Nikhil whose father has a manufacturing setup for stationery in Mysuru, which was established in 1987. But Nikhil wanted to do something different from the family business.  

    Started with an investment of Rs. 30-Rs 35 lakh, William Penn now has a turnover of Rs 100 crore. It offers its own pen brand PennLine, and has tie-ups with premium brands like Cross, Waterman, and Sheaffer to name a few. 

    Building the business from ground up 

    In the early days, Nikhil says the team was clueless on how to run a business. “We just knew there was an innate need for stationery and put things together, without even thinking of how the supply chain would work. What worked for us was that we were responding to what the customer wanted.” 
    “Initially, vendors supply to you only if you can guarantee certain volumes. And we can’t justify that. This is a challenge for any business,” Nikhil says. 

    He adds that getting the ‘yes’ from the vendors wasn’t a problem; the problem was after that. 
    The brand had now set up a complete distribution network and supply chain. But back then, the team had to start from scratch. Launched with seven people, William Penn is now a team of over 300 people.  

    Every brand was happy to have an inquiry and representation in India, but the price points and import duties surprised many.  In early 2000s, setting up a supply chain was tough as export duties were extremely high - upwards of 70 percent.  

    “We were different. Brands found it welcoming that there was someone willing to pay that 70 percent duty and buy. Our margins were limited to 15 to 20 percent in the early days, but we were setting up a business and getting products customers wanted. Modern retail was picking up, malls had started emerging, and disposable income was rising,” Nikhil says.  
    The first brand that William Penn helped succeed was Pelican, a German brand.  

    “I remember meeting the representative at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. He was most excited about staying at the Taj. He was the export manager at Pelican and was retiring. He heard from me, and possibly thought of it as his last chance to visit India. He was clear that I had to meet him there. This was in 2003,” Nikhil recalls.  
    After Pelican came on board, other brands slowly started joining.  

    Focusing on retail 

    For the first couple of years, the team focused on retail; it opened its first store at Koramangala in Bengaluru, and second store at Forum Mall in Bengaluru in 2004.  Another external factor that helped in the growth of the business was the presence of e-mail, which helped the team reach out to different brands and vendors.  
    William Penn started becoming cash positive from the second year. It started with a revenue of Rs 2 crore.  

    In 2005, the team expanded to Mumbai to tap the residents’ huge spending power. By then, the company was also getting corporate orders, many of them from India’s commercial capital, and it made sense to open a store there. 

    William Penn’s team was now marketing products in print and on radio. The hoardings ensured that malls received good footfalls.  

    “We got a good break in 2007 when we got an opportunity to open our store at the Hyderabad airport. It gave us a lot of visibility. It helped us get a store at the Delhi airport in 2010,” Nikhil says.  

    B2B and the William Penn label  

    While the company was building physical stores, the team started getting B2B orders from iGate and ING Vysya for writing instruments and stationery.  
    Physical stores may have been the primary source of revenue when Nikhil started the business, but today they contribute a little less than 50 percent of the overall revenue; the rest is courtesy B2B and other channels.  In 2015, the team decided to launched its own pen brand: PennLine.  
    Nikhil says that in early 2000s international brands did not have the Indian consumer in mind while making products. “We saw this as an opportunity and the Indian market was maturing,” he says.  

    By then, William Penn was making revenues of Rs 75 crore.  

     

    Thu, 12/12/2019
  • 363

    Mr. P. C. Baid,  was based in Mumbai before he established Alpha International in 1989 in Hyderabad. Mr. Baid had an impressive experience of 10+years in      the realms of Importing and Marketing Writing and Technical Drawing Instruments from Germany, Japan, and other countries. Through his efforts and networking, Staedtler appointed Alpha International as the Sole Distributor for their products for the most part of India. Under the leadership of Mr. P. C. Baid   and the stewardship of his son Mr. Vikash Jain, Alpha International is now one of the top names in the list of suppliers in the country. The company understands and has consistently adapted itself to the volatile demands and business environment of the country, thus keeping the reputation and leadership status of Staedtler products 
    in the country.

    PSS: What has been your journey like with Staedtler in the country up to now?

    Mr. Vikash Jain: We - Alpha International was established in 1989. Initially we started as the distributor for Staedtler for most of part of the country, but were importing through a designated importer M/s. Continental Exporters, Bangalore for several reasons including the import license issue at the time. In 2001, given our association with Staedtler, we were appointed as the exclusive importer and distributor for their products in India.

            Staedtler initially began with technical drawing products – those in the field of engineering, architects and related were the main users. However, now the products cover a wider audience which includes students, professionals, and lifestyle products (high quality pens- fine liners, fountain pens, a premium range even in erasers & sharpeners).      

         Staedtler is 350 years old company and have built a wide range of end to end stationery products. Staedtler’s premium products are their best sellers Color pencils, Graphite pencils, fineliners, markers – several types of writing instruments. As a distributor we are extremely happy with the association since there are minimal complaints about the quality of the products. In fact consumers share personal stories at expos and exhibitions with regard to why they treasure Staedtler products. We are looking forward to meeting with consumers at the Stationery Expo from 11th to 15th September, this year at the Pragati Maidan.

    PSS: Is it still a niche market?

    Mr. V.J.: While the range of products has moved from 30-40 SKUs to about 350-400 SKUs, reaching out to a larger number of people, the products are still high end and hence niche.

    PSS: How does the Indian Market compare with the European Market?

    Mr. V.J.: The Indian Market is still small for Staedtler when compared with European market and few other Asian countries. As the distributor for Indian market, we make a small contribution to the overall turnover for Staedtler, and yet the behemoth company continues to extend their cooperation.

          We and they are hopeful that India will soon become a major contributor to their bottom line, given the sheer size and growth in population of the country. Additionally, the focus on education and government initiatives to increase the per capita income are two factors that add to the positivity.

    PSS:  How do you plan on making writing instruments affordable for more people?

    Mr. V.J.: Today, Staedtler products are prescribed for art, architecture or interior / fashion design students and they are expected to use these prescription products to get the desired results. Staedtler does not and will never compromise on quality and hence the pricing is unlikely to come down significantly for the current range. The company may come up with a range of products that would cater to a larger audience later on, but the quality would not be compromised.

    PSS: Is there any Make in India Plan from Staedtler?

    Mr. V.J.:  We feel as Staedtler has manufacturing facilities at Thailand and Indonesia in Asia, and hence in near future may not have plans to set up such a facility in India.

     

    Subscribe to read more... 

    Sat, 21/09/2019

New Products & Trends

  • 424

    Sofia Lee a young Product designer from Hong Kong showed us – MAGCON, an innovative compass.

    To describe it in her own words “The most versatile drawing tool”. MagCon, the compass has a cylindrical metal center piece that works as an axis without poking any hole in the paper. MAGCON comes in 2 different pack sizes containing 2 and 3 attachments respectively. Two of these are scales of different sizes with Precisely printed measurements. The other one is a curvy stencil containing different shapes and patterns. These scales and stencils cling to the center piece with a strong magnetic force.

    And with in few seconds of this set up it becomes supper easy to draw curves and patterns with smooth draw of hand through these stencils. Sofia said “My product is getting very popular among Designers and Architects. Many of them have reported several additional usages.” She further added “They told me that many complicated curves and designs that used to take a lot of time can now be done within a few minutes.

    Sofia has launched this product under her company called Ddiin Concept Ltd.

     

    For more details on this brilliant Compass you may visit the company website:- www.ddiin.com

    Wed, 08/01/2020
  • 425

    PSS got the opportunity to use and feel the Rolls Royce of CHALKS. Yes! We are not joking. If ever chalks could be categorized just like cars, then HAGOROMO chalks would be considered as the Rolls Royce.

    HAGOROMO chalks were first manufactured by a Family run company in Japan which developed and maintained the formula for past three generations. The users of this chalk included Professors and Teachers of some of the most reputed Collages and Institutes around the world. As a matter of fact many of them have created their own theories to describe the joy and blissfulness they feel while using this chalk. One of the Professor said – "The legend around this Chalk is that, its impossible to write a False theorem with this chalk", while the other one said "I assume the special ingredient is Angel’s Tears".

    (please visit the Youtube link given at the bottom to hear the full story)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhNUjg9X4g8&feature=youtu.be

    These professors have been such ardent users of this chalk that they literally started hoarding whole boxes and cartons full of HAGOROMO chalks when they got of know that the Japanese firm is closing down and these would no longer be available in the market.

    Then came HYEONG-SEOK SHIN, CEO of SEJONGMALL Co. Ltd. Korea who turned out to be a rescuer of this cult chalk. He himself was a Bulk purchaser of this Chalk. But when the Japanese Co. decided to down shutters, he convinced them of his true love for the Chalk and also that he was totally worthy to carry forward the legacy of HAGOROMO Chalks in its pure essence.

    PSS met Hyeong-Seok Shin at Hong Kong Stationery Show this year. We look forward to see the chalk in the Indian Market soon. We hope some of the our readers would soon consider this as great business opportunity.

    Wed, 08/01/2020

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