High-quality “made in Europe” writing instruments: Lecce Pen combines Italian design with the advantages and the competitiveness of Polish production.
“Express your Brand“ – that is the task that Lecce Pen dedicates its attentions to. CEO Alexander Gladyshev: “There are so many companies and they all strive to stand out from each other. Their objective is to be better than their fellow competitors, to represent a well-known brand, project a positive image and of course to experience commercial success. Our unique promotional ballpoints are excellent advertising tools and with their aid the professional building and expansion of brands and their specific profiling is guaranteed to succeed. Here at Lecce Pen Europe we have the right solution for each specific marketing task – and they are all individual, creative, design-oriented and of the highest quality and functionality. Yet nevertheless reasonably priced.“Lecce Pen Europe manufactures plastic ballpoint pens itself in Bytom, Poland where the company has been based since 1992, originally as Lecce Pen Polska.
Historical business carried on
Marketing Manager, Agata Plesinska: “We, the former Polish subsidiary of the Italian company Lecce Pen Srl located in Settimo Torinese already supplied parts manufactured here in the early days – incidentally also for other writing instrument suppliers.“
The Italian parent company that was founded in the 1950s ran into economic difficulties starting from the year 2008 following the financial crisis as well as management and financial problems and finally went bankrupt in 2012. “In February 2011, after a long period of difficulties, the Polish company was taken over by independent and strategic investors and is now trading under the name Lecce Pen Europe. We now exclusively produce the whole range here in Poland based on the heritage in technologies and know-how. The production in Italy was simply too cost-intensive. The Italian manufacturing plant was closed down, today we only have a sales office there and – most importantly – the product development.“
Because of course, the company still relies on the unmistakable Italian design for its writing instruments and disposes of the proven knowhow, but it can manufacture the products much cheaper in Poland while still giving them the quality mark “Made in Europe”. “We invest locally, not in a representative external image cultivation, but instead in the development of new models and in the expansion of the production,“ explained Plesinska. “That is why we don’t mind being located in an unspectacular building – by the way skeletons for the medical sector made out of synthetic resin used to be manufactured here in the 1960s and 70s.
We are more concerned with the optimisation of the workflow and the expansion of our capacities. Our primary objective today is the extension of our individualising and customising options and the related services for our customers.“
Writing instruments made of plastic are manufactured on-site, Lecce Pen’s current line-up comprises of approx. 30 models. They are presented in the corporate catalogue, which is divided up into the product lines Promotional, Fantasy, Green and Safe Touch. The company also imports metal ballpoints under their own brand name, B1. These are manufactured in China and India, some of them are now being developed exclusively according to own patented designs made in Italy.
Agata Plesinska: “We have introduced three new metal models to our product range this year and five new plastic writing instruments will be introduced soon.“
The company resides in premises spread over 5,000 m², approx. 500 m² is used as office space. Apart from a small warehouse, the rest of the floor space is dedicated to the production. Lecce Pen Europe has its own mould-making, graphic design and pre-press departments under one roof as well as injection-moulding and customising departments, which encompass all conventional techniques such as screen and pad printing, all-over print and digital print.
In addition to the comprehensive standard line of shapes and colours, custom-made designs are also realised for set minimum order volumes. These include individual clips in special shapes or production in special PMS colours for instance. The refills, ink and tips are sourced from external high quality Swiss and German suppliers, the pens are assembled by home workers.
On expansion course
“We currently employ 45 people at our premises,“ explained Alexander Gladyshev, who is incidentally also CEO of the Russian promotional products suppliers Happy Gifts, based in Moscow. “Lecce Pen Europe delivers all over Europe, the biggest markets within the EU are Italy, Germany, France and Poland. The strongest markets for us outside of the EU are Russia, the Ukraine and Turkey. We supply to promotional products distributors and we do not seek direct contact to end customers.“
In spite of the poor market climate, the company is on expansion course. “It is difficult to get good staff, many young people are leaving our region in Poland and are taking advantage of the freedom in the EU,“ stated Gladyshev. “Furthermore, strong competition prevails in Poland and the price is the most important argument of all. Yet we have nevertheless been expanding for around a year.“ The company is especially proud of this, because overall, the writing instrument market is subject to strong competition and it is probably even experiencing negative growth. “On the one hand this is due to the fact that the significance of writing instruments is diminishing in general in the face of today’s era of electronic communications,“ explained Gladyshev. “The order volumes have declined by around 20%, also due to self-limitations, such as in the pharmaceutical industry for example. We are also noticing the effects of this in Russia.“ Even if according to own accounts the company doesn’t customise approx. 60% of its production: “We have succeeded in making it clear to our partners how effective a branded Lecce Pen writing instrument can be as a marketing tool. We have proven to our customers that an individual pen can have an extremely strong profiling impact on the brand – which is why we provide different models for different industries.“
A detailed report about the Polish promotional products market can be found here: