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Editorial blog

Jakar - 70 years and still going strong!

27 Oct 2019

Paul Sacki, managing director of Jakar International, tells us about the company as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.

It’s a big year for jakar – can you tell us about the company’s history?

Jakar International was established 70 years ago by my grandmother, Lydia Sacki, and her partner Julius Kaufmann. My late father, Kenneth Sacki joined the company in the mid 50’s eventually assuming the role of Managing Director. I joined in 1979 and took over as Managing Director after my father’s retirement in 2015.

Initially the company imported drawing instruments and cuckoo clocks from Germany. Other stationery products were introduced in subsequent years with a range of Jakar branded Artist and Craft materials added in the late 1980’s.

As distributor do you chose the products or do they choose you?

Over the years my father and I have attended trade fairs around the world sourcing quality products from suppliers from many countries. These products are imported and marketed under the now well established Jakar brand.

How has Jakar developed and changed over the years?

From small beginnings Jakar has grown considerably over the past 70 years. In 1960 we were honoured and privileged to have been appointed sole distributor for Caran d’Ache, the world renowned Swiss manufacturer of superior Artist Materials and Colour products, covering the UK and Irish territories.

Have there been any recent developments that have improved the business?

Having traded from our North London premises for over 50 years, in 2015 we moved to our new larger modern warehouse facility in Elstree, Hertfordshire, from where we have been able to increase our stock holding, expand our product range and continue to provide an efficient distribution service to our loyal and long standing customers.

How has the last 12 months been for you?

The last 12 months have seen continued growth with this year showing double digit growth. As for all businesses, these are challenging times due to the uncertainty and confusion over Brexit.

What products were the most popular in 2019?

Among the most popular products this year have been our range of glitter, craft knives, cutting mats and drawing materials, not to mention all ranges of Caran d’Ache colour pencils, pastels and Graphite products.

What can we expect from Jakar in 2020?

Next year we celebrate our 60 years association with Caran d’Ache in the UK market who continue to introduce new and innovative products each year.

How has the market changed in the last five years?

The market has changed considerably during the past five years. The number of small independent retailers has reduced considerably whereas large retailers and those who have embraced the internet continue to thrive and grow. The online business has grown tremendously but has clearly exerted significant pressure on the retailer’s margins.

To what do you attribute your success?

The key to our success can be attributed largely to our ability to supply a wide range of quality products at competitive prices brought to our customers by our experienced team of national sales representatives. Sales are driven through attractive promotions throughout the year and supported by our able and efficient warehouse staff and sales and customer service departments. Customers particularly appreciate our ability to despatch orders within a few days of receipt many of which are delivered within 24 hours.

What trends do you predict will be popular in the coming year?

We predict that our product ranges will remain popular during 2020 and will continue to grow as we constantly seek to add new exciting lines that represent value for money.

How can a new customer open an account?

Anyone wishing to open an account should contact our sales department on 0208 381 7000 or email orders@ jakar.co.uk for details.

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