Having worked its magic in its home market in Italy, Origamo has now set up a UK company, based in central London, as part of its ambitious plans to grow the business.
Headed up by Furio Ceciliato, who also spearheaded the Italian greeting card association (AIBA), this effervescent entrepreneur has high hopes for his new sibling business.
“I do have knowledge of the UK market and have visited PG Live and Spring Fair before, but this year I will be there as a UK-based publisher!” says Furio who is exhibiting at both shows. He has also joined the UK GCA.
The main focus of the Origamo stand at the Spring Fair (Hall 3 Stand Q49) with be the company’s new Florever range of pop-up bouquet cards, which Furio says racked up sales of over one million euro in only 45 days when it launched in Italy recently. The range has got off to a great start in the UK, having reached the shortlist in the Gift of the Year awards.
It is Furio’s intention to recruit a team of UK sales agents to carry the ranges in the independent sector while he will deal direct with multiples.
While initially orders will be dispatched from Origamo’s Turin base, Furio is in the process of organising a warehousing facility in the UK. “In the interim we have both UK and European VAT registration so will avoid too much customs bureaucracy,” assures Furio.
All of Origamo’s cards are 100% handmade, ethically produced and underpinned by the company’s support of charity programmes.
“I know that the UK market will be very tough, but I am very excited about our UK launch!” exclaimed Furio.
Here, Furio gives the lowdown on what has been happening in the Italian greeting card market over the last year as well as his hopes and dreams for 2022.
The year that was: “During 2021 the greeting card market in Italy recovered all the ‘lost steps’ of 2020. People had the opportunity to arrange birthday parties, weddings, graduation parties so
the number of greeting cards sold were back to 2019 levels, which was a very good result considering that there were still a lot of restrictions.”
Challenges and positives: “The major challenges came from the production difficulties and shipping costs.
Everything is becoming more expensive and complicated.
The positives are that people are eager to meet and party, with a general desire to return to ‘normal’ life.”
Card buying habits: “The market is moving up to more expensive cards, with handmade and more precious cards being the ones that are invariably chosen with cheap cards slowly going out of the market.”
Your company developments: “We used 2021 to increase the number of retail stockists we supply in Italy as well as prepare our 2022 strategy of internationalisation.
We launched our new range, Florever by Origamo, the sales of which have beaten every record for a greeting card range in Italy. It clocked up over a million euros of sales to shops in 45 days!”
Hopes and dreams for 2022: “I have already made a dream come true: I founded Origamo Ltd, my UK company. So, our plans for this year are to enter the UK as well as other European markets, extending the successful story of Origamo to new markets, with the same philosophy and attention to ethical production and our charity programmes.”
Top: One of the Florever designs.