Our CEO Owen Franklin recently took Blue Summit Supplies international when he attended the Paperworld Conference in Frankfurt, Germany.
Paperworld is a conference where “world-leading manufacturers and innovative start-ups present what the future holds in store for the modern office and private stationery sector.”
The conference is a seven-floor showcase of extravagant booths and big-name brands, offering a complete market overview of the largest range of office and stationery products and the latest industry trends in both. Along with Paperworld, there are two offshoots happening simultaneously: Creativeworld and Christmasworld.
(Much to his Marketing Department’s dismay, Owen didn’t make it to Creativeworld. He did, however, acknowledge that “you guys would’ve loved it – a bunch of notebooks and colorful stuff.” We would have, Owen. We really would have.)
But for Owen, the appeal wasn’t seeing what everyone else had on offer, or even sizing up the competition. He just wanted to know more about where products came from.
“I wanted to go to Paperworld to meet suppliers, to see where things are made. It’s always fascinating to see what countries make what items, and on what scale.”
Owen has firsthand experience seeing the scope of suppliers, since in 2018 he attended the Canton Fair, the Chinese Import and Export fair. He met many of Blue Summit Supplies’ suppliers and was able to get a more in-depth look into how products were made. This learning experience is what prompted him to attend Paperworld, where he hoped to get a better perspective of different countries’ cost structures and where goods are made.
“For all that, it was a very successful trip. I got to meet even more of our suppliers, since many of our Asian suppliers go to Paperworld as well. And this was a much shorter flight!”
But beyond catching up with established partners, it was worthwhile to go and meet potential ones.
“It was interesting to meet manufacturers from different parts of the globe. It gave me a better perspective on who’s doing what. Even though China still, in many cases, owns the manufacturing scene, there are things happening all over the place – like in Italy. They have not one but two tape manufacturers! That was interesting to learn since all the other Paperworld tape manufacturers were Taiwanese or Chinese factories.”
Of course, Frankfurt had a lot more on offer than just Paperworld. Owen took advantage of his trip by bringing his wife and frequent business adviser, Tiffany, and staying at a nearby hotel.
“We stayed at the Frankfurt Marriott – I cannot recommend this place enough. It was so nice, and the people were super friendly. They were all locals and knew about the area and the Paperworld conference, which was helpful.”
And something Owen enjoyed almost as much as he did the German people?
“The food. We had wiener schnitzel at Paulaner and great beer. We made friends and had dinner with some locals, who were fantastic.”
But there were a few surprises for Owen over the course of the trip – like the weather. As an Alabama native, Owen has experienced snow, but never quite like this.
“It snowed every single day, and we only saw the sun for about 20 minutes. It wasn’t what I was expecting. When we took a day trip to Rudesheim, the place was like a ghost town! It was all closed for winter. But the town was still beautiful. It’s a wine-making town, so Tiffany and I had a really great time.”
Overall, Paperworld was a great opportunity for Owen to learn more about the supplier side of Blue Summit Supplies. When asked if he’d go back?
“… Maybe. Probably. Or maybe I should send you guys, so you can go see Creativeworld.”
Yes, Owen. Yes, you should.
Cover Photo : Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jens Liebchen
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