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  • 115
    London Stationery Show a hit with buyers
    MAY-2012 – Stationery Show in London on 24-25th April 2012 was voted “best yet” by visitors and exhibitors and attracted many of the UK’s top independent and multiple retailers of stationery, says organiser First Events. “It’s great that there is a dedicated, aspirational yet functional stationery exhibition in the UK – I enjoyed the show and found several new suppliers. I hope more suppliers will embrace it next year” said Sonia Reddi, buyer for Waterstones. “As a first time visitor, I thought the show was excellent with lots of interesting exhibitors” said Jo Irons, buyer for online retailer Bureau Direct. “It’s fantastic to have a show dedicated to stationery at last – it will be on our regular trade show itinerary from now on.” Visitor numbers were up on the previous year and included Selfridges, The Pen Shop, WHSmith, Tesco, Card Factory, Ryman, John Lewis, Colemans, Wilkinson, Scribbler, Fenwick, Harrods, Bentalls, Websters Pen Shops, Staples, The Range and Osbornes Stationers. This year’s exhibition had the products of more than 150 different suppliers on 82 stands almost all of whom were showing new products. The 2013 exhibition will take place at the Business Design Centre in London on Tuesday 23 – Wednesday 24 April.
    02/27/2013
  • 114
    JUNE-2012 – Faber-Castell boss puts his pencils to the ultimate consumer test Dapper pencil baron Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell wanted to prove a point. So he climbed the 69 stone steps to the top of his castle in Stein, Germany, threw open the
    JUNE-2012 – Ink manufacturer OCP has added new HP inks equal to HP’s No. 950 / 951. The new HP No. 932 / 932XL and HP No. 933 / 933XL cartridges are installed directly on top of the permanent printhead and not separately as in older HP Officejet models. Shape and technical setup is also the same as of the HP No. 950 / 951 cartridges. Up to now these new cartridges are being used only in the HP Officejet 6100e, HP Officejet 6600h and HP Officejet 6700h printers. The printers are equipped with a permanent printhead which is carrying four individual cartridges. They are declared to have a resolution of up to 4800 x 1200 dpi and are able to print up to 16 black pages and up to 9 coloured pages per minute.
    02/28/2013
  • 113
    Pencil boss out to prove a point
    JUNE-2012 – Faber-Castell boss puts his pencils to the ultimate consumer test Dapper pencil baron Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell wanted to prove a point. So he climbed the 69 stone steps to the top of his castle in Stein, Germany, threw open the window and hurled 500 of his classic, green pencils to the ground. As they cascaded to the cobbled street, the Count bounded back down and challenged Shoptalk to select a handful of pencils for the ultimate consumer test. Slicing the pine casing open with a penknife, he beamed at the contents – the lead was intact. The Count, boss of the Faber-Castell pencil empire, said: “See, it didn’t break – that’s why we make the best pencils in the world. The lead in a cheap pencil would be in pieces.” While the Faber-Castell brand has been built on quality and innovation, it comes at a price. A pack of six Faber-Castell Grip Pencils costs £4.50 from John Lewis, while a set of 12 HB pencils with erasers is £1.04 at Tesco, which sells 10 Value pencils for 28p. With parents tightening the purse strings, do they really care if their child’s schoolbag has Faber-Castell or a budget brand of pencil? The Count shakes his head and sighs. “Buy a cheap brand and it will let you down. We will not compromise on quality or the safety of our children’s products. “That’s why we will not produce a budget version of the pencil. We can’t stint on the 10 coats of paint that go on to every pencil or the glue we use to bond the lead to the wood so the lead never breaks.” He added: “A pencil is a piece of precision engineering with one for every need. “A student sitting GCSEs with multiple choice needs a decent 2B pencil that quickly marks the answers and won’t break half way through. “Anyone taking an art exam will need a softer lead that flows across the paper, while an architect needs a harder lead.” The 250-year-old family firm has 15 per cent of the global market, making two billion pencils a year in 120 colours with wood from its own sustainable pine forests in Brazil. While it has conquered Latin America, Asia, China and Indonesia, Faber-Castell has yet to break into the British market. It’s partly because we won’t pay over the odds for a product we think belongs in a school pencil case. But the Count reckons parents will buy into the Faber-Castell emphasis on safety. All the pencils have non-toxic paint so they are safe for chewers. And to demonstrate how safe the felt-tip pens are, the Faber-Castell boss became Count Drink-ula. Picking up a glass of red ink, he swigged it back and, with red-stained lips, said: “See, that’s how safe it is. Just a mixture of food dye and water.” The Faber-Castell range also includes scissors which cut paper but don’t cut flesh and magical crayons which leave marks that can be removed from walls just with an eraser. The Count said: “We are more than just a pencil maker, we are a centre for creativity. “Children are growing up in a hi-tech world, but there will always be a place for pencils and paper in their toy box.”
    02/28/2013
  • 112
    China Stationery ventures into anti – tampering plastic envelope
    JULY-2012 – China Stationery Ltd. (CSL), an integrated plastic stationery company, has secured an anti-tampering plastic envelope trial order contract from China Post. China Post is a group entrusted by the Chinese government to engage in the postal business on a competitive line. CSL executive director Kwan Chun Jut said that for a start, the company needs to produce 150 million anti-tampering plastic envelopes for China Post before securing any further contracts. “The product is designed by the in-house research and development team to meet market needs and we therefore have to ensure it is up to standard,” he told Bernama after the AGM. “We are the first company in the world using the technology to produce the plastic envelope and hope to start the first production soon,” he said. He said the company has about a 0.5% market share in China and is expecting the number to growth within the next five years. “To further enhance its position as the largest manufacturer of plastic filing and storage products in Fujian Province, China, China Stationery has entered into a contract to purchase new machinery for its new plant to increase production capacity and market share,” he added. On the group’s prospects for 2012, Kwan expects the performance to remain favourable, anchored by higher sales from its patented and non-patented products. “We expect growth to continue to be underpinned by our innovative patented and non patented products segment, especially our future products,” he said. The group’s house-brand products are marketed in China and globally in over 56 countries to more than 400 customers including distributors, retailers and corporations.
    02/28/2013
  • 111
    Pencils are status symbols for men, says – Faber-Castell
    JULY-2012 – It’s a pen. Okay, it’s a fairly shiny one, but you would have thought we were in the presence of a nail from the true cross or a previously lost Titian. White gloves are donned, and that’s just to hold the box. No one is allowed to touch the pen. When I suggest it’ll be fine if I pick it up, the army of public relation women shriek. This is the world of luxury goods, where ordinary functional objects take on extraordinary value – not just because of the materials used, but the way they are hyped. I am at the Ritz Hotel for the “world premier” of the “Pen of the Year 2012 Diamond Edition” by Graf von Faber-Castell, the German manufacturer. The barrel has been cast in solid gold, “reflecting the fine structure of ancient wetland oak”, the 18 carat nib has “been run in by hand to ensure smooth and even ink flow” and 60 diamonds have been stuck on the lid. It costs £60,000. It is, dare I say, rather vulgar. But then I don’t think I’m the customer they are looking for. That is made clear the moment Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell meets me. The eighth generation head of the pen and pencil company is an immaculately-dressed 71 year-old, with a head of luxuriant silver hair and a perfectly set Hermes tie. As we shake hands, he gives me a withering look up and down, taking in my crumpled cut-price linen suit and wilted shirt. He looks as if he has just swallowed a particularly unpleasant insect. So who buys these objects at silly prices? “I am amazed, too, there seems to be a respectable group of people, around the globe, who are interested in a really exclusive product. Maybe it’s a matter of prestige to own something really special. These are not really old-fashioned collectors. “You find a lot of people who have made a lot of money in a short time, who like to spend it graciously”. His family, of course, has amassed their wealth over 250 years – the company was founded in 1761 – so he can afford to be more subtle about his spending. His favourite Faber-Castell product is a pencil. But it is no ordinary pencil, it is the company’s hugely popular Perfect Pencil, which will set you back about £180. That’s right. £180. It comes, admittedly, with a rubber on the end, protected by a little platinum cap. And the tip is also kept safe from breaking with a lid, which incorporates a hidden pencil sharpener. It is rather nifty. But it is still £180 for something that might only give you a few weeks’ writing. The Count has one poking out of his front jacket pocket at all times. “What I am most proud of – and it is certainly unusual – is to bring Faber-Castell into the premium field not with a ballpoint pen (that would be stupid), not with a fountain pen (that would be stupid, because you have Mont Blanc, you have Waterman and Parker), but I started with a pencil. Nobody had a luxury pencil. The trade was open to it.” Indeed it was. The company, which is fully owned by the Count and his family, posted sales of €580m (£468m) last year, an increase of 19pc, and operating profits of €42m. It seems remarkable that pencils, one of the cheapest most utilitarian products available on the planet – you can pick up 20 for £1 at Poundland – can be given the luxury goods treatment, especially in the digital age. But the Count explains that while women have handbags, jewellery, scarves and shoes to add lustre to their lifestyle, men have few items to splash out on. “As a man, there are not too many accessories. You can have cuff links, and I love cuff links [he is wearing Boucher on gold ones], you used to wear tie clips, but no one seems to do that anymore, and you can wear a watch. And when it comes to status, there is the pen and pencil.” He describes his Perfect Pencil as “more a piece of jewellery”. But who, in the era of the iPad, actually uses a pencil, apart from schoolchildren and people working in the British Library? “Creative people, not just artists, fashion designers, particularly architects. Norman Foster is a pencil freak.” He adds that everyone told him the company would go down the tubes when the internet took off. “You felt like a fool manufacturing an old fashioned product like ours but we did pretty well with them. And if you look at some of the dotcom companies they are gone.” He is helped by explosive population growth in India, China and other developing nations where millions of children cannot afford a pen, let alone a laptop. The most recent industry figures suggest that pencil sales globally increased by 7.4pc last year, an eye-catching level of growth for a commodity product. While the company’s £180 pencil catches the eye, its bread and butter business is children’s coloured pencils and paint sets. In total the company makes a staggering 2.4bn pencils every year, and has about 15pc share of the global market. Though the luxury goods market shows no sign of being hit by the downturn, it is not all plain sailing for the company. Commodity price inflation has hit graphite prices and the crisis in the eurozone is a serious worry for a company that still manufactures a lot of its products in Germany – though it does own 27,000 acres of forest in Brazil where it grows wood for its pencils. “We need the euro. I am a distinct supporter. Not only for economic reasons. If the euro falls apart we go back to the deutschemark, which will get revalued. And we’ll be like Switzerland. It would make the currency shoot up and it would make us not competitive anymore. “But I am afraid that all our efforts which have been taken for the past 50 years to build a European House and to avoid any kind of wars may be in danger – it has to be considered.”
    03/01/2013
  • 110
    OfficeMax Printer Ink Cartridge Refill Class Action Lawsuit
    JULY-2012 – OfficeMax gyps customers out of printer ink cartridge refills by only refilling them halfway, a class action lawsuit claims in Illinois. Plaintiff Richard Schaefer alleges in the OfficeMax ink refill class action lawsuit that he and other Class Members “each paid $10 to have Defendants ‘refill’ their printer ink cartridge at an OfficeMax ‘refill’ station and were damaged when in fact only half of the ink cartridge was refilled.” According to the class action lawsuit, “OfficeMax carried out its unfair and deceptive scheme by advertising that an ‘Ink Refill’ would only cost ‘$10,’ while secretly instructing employees to only fill ink cartridges halfway. No reasonable customer would expect ‘refill’ to mean ‘half fill.’” The OfficeMax class action lawsuit continues: “OfficeMax failed to disclose its common practice of half refilling printer ink cartridges with the intent that Plaintiff and members of the proposed class would rely on this omission in paying for printer ink cartridge refills instead of purchasing a new printer ink cartridge. Defendants should have either refilled the ink cartridges in full or charged $5.00 for the half refills.” Schaefer is seeking $5 million in restitution for a proposed class of all persons or companies in Illinois who paid to have a printer ink cartridge refilled by OfficeMax but did not receive a full refill of the ink cartridge.
    03/01/2013
  • 109
    Canon submits 2 million euro lawsuit against cartridge importer
    JULY-2012 – Canon is demanding millions of euros in compensation against an undisclosed German importer of new cartridges, according to ‘The Recycler’. The Recycler says that it has seen papers stating the imports breach Canon’s intellectual property patent EP 0 735 432 B1 and that the Japanese company is claiming damages in excess of €2 million. Canon has yet to comment on the claim, but the move follows a long list of intellectual property lawsuits filed by OEMs against newbuilt imports.
    03/01/2013
  • 108
    Twin Rivers Paper Company Launches a Natural Packaging Paper
    AUGUST-2012 – Broadens Its Reach in Specialty Packaging with Acadia Natural Twin Rivers Paper Company, a leader in lightweight specialty packaging, label and publishing papers, has strengthened its commitment to sustainable packaging with the release of Acadia Natural, a compostable and recyclable paper made from unbleached pulp. This product design offers a natural substrate for packaging applications such as fast-food sandwich wraps, french fry and carry-out bags, and basket liners. FDA-compliant for direct and indirect food contact, Acadia Natural offers the optimal solution for Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR), food service, and retail food applications, where high performance and sustainability are essential. For oil and grease resistance, Acadia Natural is available in an Acadia Natural OGR version. Both products bring excellent printability, run ability and convertibility to packaging applications. “Acadia Natural answers the growing demand for natural alternatives for packaging papers and represents an ideal choice for companies looking to have their packaging reflect their own sustainability initiatives,” says Dave Deger, Director of Business Development and Marketing. Sustainability plays a large role in shaping Twin Rivers’ operations, products and processes. Its portfolio of sustainable papers is built around fiber certification and recycled content and the company has made tremendous progress in reducing its environmental footprint. All of these papers are certified to the SFI(R) fiber sourcing program standards and FSC(R) certified (FSC(R) C002686) upon request. Twin Rivers Paper Company is an integrated specialty paper company that manufactures publishing, packaging and label products for targeted markets and applications. The company has operations in Maine and New Brunswick. For more information, visit us on the web at www.twinriverspaper.com .
    03/01/2013
  • 107
    Asia Pulp & Paper Mill’s New SVLK Certifications Address U.S. Legality Standards
    Asia Pulp & Paper Group’s (APP) announcement that its production mills are achieving SVLK certification under Indonesia’s new Wood Legality Verification System is a major stride in addressing the most stringent requirements for legality around the world, including those in the U.S. and E.U. Thus far, three APP mills have secured certifications, and the company’s remaining Indonesian mills anticipate securing certifications before year’s end. “One of the growing desires from customers in the U.S. and around the world is verification that the products they source are legal and traceable,” said Ian Lifshitz, North American Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs for APP. “SVLK certifications provide chain of custody verification, administered by independent agencies and in line with government protocols, to ensure the products coming from APP mills are from legal and sustainable sources.” SVLK certification addresses U.S. law through country-of-origin verification requirements mandated under a 2008 amendment to the Lacey Act, the conservation law designed, in part, to protect against import of illegal timber-based products. Similar expanded legality requirements are pending in the E.U. as the European Union Timber Regulation framework is expected to be implemented early next year. In April 2011, through a Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Indonesia, SVLK became recognized as the credible system to guarantee the legality of timber from Indonesia. Enacted in 2009 by the Indonesian government, the SVLK system creates a rigorous chain of custody process designed to ensure that mills only receive and process timber from legal sources and that all products exported from the country are traceable to verifiable points of origin. Certification is provided through the National Accreditation Committee (KAN) and independently monitored by the Forestry Independent Monitoring Network, which consists of civil society and forestry industry experts. Lifshitz continued, “SVLK is being embraced by well respected governments leading the global effort to ensure legality and sustainability. In turn, we are working with our customers to help them better understand the evolving global landscape of certifications and how APP is working to meet the highest standards.”APP’s SVLK certification audits are being conducted by an independent testing and assessment organization, PT TUV Rheinland Indonesia. The company is a member of TUV Rheinland Group headquartered in Cologne, Germany. APP launched its 2020 Sustainability Roadmap in June, setting the company on a path to become wholly reliant on raw materials from plantations alone by 2015. The company also suspended all natural forest clearance on its plantations as independent auditors are now conducting assessments in a commitment to the internationally-accepted principles of High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF). The first round of reporting from that audit process is expected in the coming months. About APP Indonesia: Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) is a brand umbrella for paper products, which are produced by several mills in Indonesia such as PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk, PT Pindo Deli Pulp & Paper Mills, PT Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia Tbk, PT Lontar Papyrus Pulp & Paper Industries, and PT Ekamas Fortuna. APP is headquartered in Indonesia and markets its product to more than 120 countries. Most of APP’s production facilities are Chain-of-Custody certified by LEI and PEFC. APP supports several main conservation initiatives, including a 178,000 hectare Biosphere Reserve in Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu and an area of 106,000 hectares for the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary. Both are located in the province of Riau, Sumatera. Other APP wildlife preservation initiatives include the support of the Kutai Orangutan Program in Kalimantan and the conservation of the Javan Rhino in Ujung Kulon National Park.
    03/02/2013
  • 106
    Back-to-school costs bite parents in UAE
    SEP-2012 – The math gets tougher for parents preparing children for new academic year Year after year, a steady increase in schooling expenses has become evident around the UAE. The cost escalation, whether due to revised tuition fees or other contributing factors like bus fees or costs of stationery, uniforms and textbooks, invariably adds to the financial burden on parents. New expenses such as fees for extracurricular activities and, in some cases, even computing equipment like iPads is also catching many unawares. The big majority of parents interviewed by Gulf News say its a rather costly affair preparing their children for the new academic year. Ahmad, 44, a manager from India who has two school-going children was particularly peeved about the additional costs. “At present, I pay nearly Dh10,000 for each child’s tuition in addition to transport and books at the start of the academic year in April. But then there are fees for every extracurricular activity they wish to participate in, and I cannot refuse all of them,” he said. “Currently, these expenses take up an additional Dh2,000 per child, and my friends with older children also tell me that these charges increase exponentially from Grade 8 onwards. For a parent, this is unfair as the cost of education ends up being much higher than it actually is,” he added. Ahmad whose children are enrolled at a private school following an Indian curriculum, said he had paid at least 25 per cent more this year just to purchase stationery such as pencils, notebooks and schoolbags before the start of the school trimester. “My children are still young now, with my older child in just Grade 6. I shudder to think how expensive their education will get in just a few years’ time,” he said. Some parents think that the increase in price is unjustified because they do not feel that they are getting their money’s worth in terms of education. Mother of three Sara (not her real name), told Gulf News that she has already taken one of her children out of a private school that is based in Sharjah because she did not really know where the extra money that they kept on demanding was going. “They kept on asking me to pay an extra Dh300 on this and that, but I did not feel that it was going where they said it was going, I basically felt that they were ripping me off so I took my child out of the school and filed a complaint against them. Sara however said she had not faced any such issue with the school her other child was attending in Sharjah. “They were upfront with me from the beginning” she said. “I pay the tuition fee that includes the book fee and uniform [costs], that is it; they never asked me for extra money after the initial instalment.” Ihsan Khan, 35, a parent from Pakistan also voiced concern about the amount of money he was forced to spend and if it was actually worth it. “Last year, I shelled out nearly Dh100,000 for my three children and each year these fees, which include tuition, cost of books and additional fees for extracurricular activities, keep increasing. Education is not something one can compromise upon, and yet I feel that the quality of education my children are receiving is not worth the expense,” he said. Khan’s children are studying at a private school that offers the British curriculum. Although he is able to pay their fees with his earnings as the owner of an Abu Dhabi construction firm, he says he is still considering sending his family back home to Pakistan. “I am able to afford the steep costs till now, but I don’t believe my children receive valuable education as a result,” he said. Additionally, Khan said he paid over Dh10,000 last year for stationery like books, schoolbags, pencil cases and other miscellaneous items throughout the school year. Advance payments that some of the school are demanding were among concerns raised with Gulf News by some parents. Saeed Ali, who has two children studying in a private school in Dubai, complained that he had been required to pay the whole year’s fee in only 3 instalments. “In the middle of May, I paid 50 per cent of the total school fees, about Dh22,000 for both children. Twenty-five per cent will be paid at the beginning of September while the other 25 per cent remains to be paid in next December.” Ali said that he wonders if these increases actually go towards providing better services as the school claims because he does not see any tangible improvement in their services. “I’m not convinced with these advanced fee payments,” he added. Mohammad Yousuf, who has two children studying in a private school, also sought to focus on extra costs. “I have paid 50 per cent of the total sum in mid-May, about Dh40,000 for both children, while the remaining 50 per cent will be paid at the beginning of this new school year. This does not even include the transport fees, uniforms or even books,” he said adding that the school had asked parents to purchase computers for their children as a mandatory requirement. Yousuf said school fees imposed a serious burden on him even though he appreciated the fact that education is one of the necessities of life for his children.
    03/02/2013

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