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Tremendous opportunity for India to embrace creativity, value-added printing, says Jonathan Mitchell of Arjowiggins

17 April 2017

With its roots in both England and France, and now owned by French pulp and paper company Worms & Cie, Arjowiggins is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of paper products. Arjowiggins Creative Papers has been making fine papers aimed at enhancing creative ideas since 1770. It took time to come to the Indian shores, but now three Arjowiggins ranges, Conqueror, Curious Collection and Rives, is available in the Indian market, distributed by Sona Papers. On March 1, Sona announced its partnership with Arjowiggins in the presence of printing and designing fraternity in Delhi. On the occasion, Rahul Kumar and Dibyajyoti Sarma talked to Jonathan Mitchell, managing director, Arjowiggins Creative Papers

20170301-2128445015-699x380 The Sona Papers family with the representatives from Arjowiggins

Why do you call your papers creative papers? How would you differentiate between special paper or fine paper and creative paper?

For the paper industry as a whole, fine paper often refers to wood-free paper, which means using pulp from which the lignin has been removed. Arjowiggins manufactures premium fine papers that we call creative papers quite simply because they are used by our customers to create impactful graphic print from stationery to invitations to brochures to luxury packaging and many other applications. We say that since 1770, we have been making fine papers for those who create fine ideas and we believe that we set international standards for creative papers.

Considering the reach and popularity of Arjowiggins, we are a little surprised you did not want to explore the Indian market earlier.

In fact, we first came to India many years ago and have been successful in marketing our conqueror range. In recent years, however, for many reasons, we have been less visible in the market and we felt that now was the right time to partner with a successful and specialised distributor capable of bringing our range to the attention of brands, graphic designers and printers right across India – this is why we are now partnering with Sona Papers

You have launched three ranges of papers in India. Any specific reason to choose only these?

It is true that Arjowiggins Creative Papers consists of seven brands, plus ranges for Creative Labels and Creative Packaging. However, it would not be efficient or sensible for us to try to launch all of the ranges from the outset in India as we need time to create awareness in the market and to partner Sona Papers sales team to be able to give expert advice. So we have chosen three brands comprising Conqueror, arguably the world’s best known premium paper brand trusted by leading global brands to convey their values; Curious Collection, a range that pushes the boundaries in every direction – colour, touch, visual effects; and Rives, a range that includes subtle felt-marked finishes inspired by fashion and fabrics. Based on our sales across the globe, these brands were chosen as the ones most likely to be of immediate interest to the Indian market

Talking about fine papers, Cordenons remains the most visible brand in India, while others like Rendezvous and Renoir are catching on. How does Arjowiggins perceive this competition?  

The challenge in India, as in many other developing markets, is to create demand for a new and growing segment. We respect our competitors for the work that they do alongside Arjowiggins Creative Papers to demonstrate to customers the value and impact to be gained when using a premium fine paper in their communication work rather than a commodity paper. If our competitors are successful then this means that the sector is growing and that is good for everyone in the industry.

It’s true that the India market is gearing towards creativity, or innovation, as we call it. But the market is still very much price-sensitive, where costing impacts the final decision. In terms of costing, where do Arjowiggns stands vis-à-vis the closest competitors?

We believe that we set the standards for creative papers and our deep rooted experience and heritage brings value to our customers. We believe there is a tremendous opportunity for India to embrace creativity and value-added printing and finishing techniques in order to fully appreciate the value that this can bring to a brand or a communication campaign. The market will evolve to have a greater focus on impact and return on investment rather than absolute cost.

Arjowiggns papers are targeted mostly to designers. In India, however, the biggest market for fine paper is the wedding invitation market. Will Arjowiggns try to tap that market?

I’m sure that Sona Papers will demonstrate very quickly that there are plenty of possibilities to create and innovate for the wedding invitation market within our ranges, especially Curious Collection.

As a global player in fine paper market, how do you perceive the India market, its present condition and future projections?

I feel that overall India is at a very early stage of development for high quality graphic design and technical printing but it can be found today, it is present and it is growing. You can sense that India is on the cusp of tremendous growth for the design and creative industries as a whole and paper will play a vital role

What according to you are the USP of Arjowiggns creative papers?

We pride ourselves on quality and service. As a world leader in creative papers, we are renowned amongst the printer and designer community for our highly consistent quality which they can rely upon for superior results. We are also proud of our wide and rich range and our ability to listen to the market to regularly develop exciting and surprising innovations.

Tell us briefly about Arjowiggns and its product offerings.

Producing fine paper from pure material is a craft. We manufacture the vast majority of our range at our Stoneywood mill in Aberdeen, Scotland, which has been running since 1770 and some of our range at our Gelida mill near Barcelona, Spain, which has been running since 1698. Our papermakers are passionate craftsmen using their skill, knowledge and expertise to manufacture a wide range of premium fine papers on highly flexible and adaptable machines with a wide range of technology from basic mechanics to the latest high end electronics. Setting the international standards for creative papers, especially in the modern world, is a challenge and a passion. The challenge is to meet, discuss, listen and network with all of our communities – from communications specialists for local or global brands to graphic design studios and agencies to high quality, creative printers. The passion is to inform, to advise, to support our wide array of customers worldwide striving to respond to their needs allowing them in turn to express their passion on our beautiful papers.

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