Charles Nusse has been in the stationery business for over 20 years, and never tires of the feel of a handsome pen or a crisp notebook. The Managing Director of the German subsidiary, ExaClair GmbH is steering a broad product range in the French family business of the Exacompta-Clairefontaine Group into the future. Paper goods, desk accessories and classification systems, calendars and timers, photos and digital prints are also marketed under the umbrella of ExaClair GmbH.
Many of your brands stand for “Made in France.” What role does the French aesthetic take on in the ExaClair product lines?
Most of our brands are “Made in France.” Quality and innovation are central to our values; otherwise, we are very colourful and design-oriented. That is typical of “Made in France” products and provides us with export advantages.
Are there countries where the French aesthetic goes down particularly well?
Yes, in the East, in the Far East, but for that matter, all over the world. “Made in France” is popular for its cuisine, for its clothing and for its luxury goods. The person who buys our Exacompta or Clairefontaine products is also buying themselves a piece of France, and that is always connected to the charm of luxury goods.
Where are ExaClair’s roots?
Exaclair is a combination of Exacompta and Clairefontaine. We originated as paper manufacturers, and that for over 160 years. We then aligned ourselves vertically and also began producing notebooks, then calendars, later office supplies. All the paper products that we sell are manufactured with our unique exclusive paper from our own paper mills. We thus make our brands one of a kind.
What are the new product lines with which you will surprise dealers in 2019?
In time for the start of school, we are introducing a patented Clairefontaine innovation to the market: the Koverbook, including jacket made of PP. Up to now, schoolchildren always needed a notebook and an extra jacket, which was often very short-lived. We have also integrated two transparent covers for worksheets, or as bookmarks or page protectors. We are sure that we are thus setting a new standard, just as we did at the beginning of the noughties with the 90g satin-finished exercise books.
How will price-sensitive parents respond to your innovation?
The market for exercise books in Germany is very price-focused. However, we do not just think about price, but potential as well. Parents are prepared to pay more for attractive work tools to motivate their children to learn. We are working on that together with trade, and this takes time. We are accompanying the product introduction with a TV campaign in the summer, and a coupon promotion for discoverers along all distribution channels. This multichannel approach is new to the market.
Why are you exhibiting at Insights-X?
Insights-X is happening at just the right time. School has already started, and we are preparing the next school start. We get feedback from the dealers in Nuremberg about past promotions and introduce our new products and marketing ideas. So, when the year begins, we already know exactly what remains to be produced, to be delivered, and which marketing activities and media campaigns we are planning.
What do you find exciting about the stationery industry?
What I like about the stationery industry is that, despite all the tradition, each year it brings new products and innovations to life. Also, you can feel the emotions of end customers in every stationery store. When you pick up a pen or a notebook, the yearning resonates for your childhood, and the time you bought your exercise books. Our beautiful products make consumers happy, because they enjoy them.