According to own accounts, Axpol is the largest Polish promotional products importer without any foreign participation. The company’s recipe for success includes a spacious warehouse, in-house customising and an own import office in China.
“When my wife Aleksandra and I more or less founded our company Axpol in our living-room in 1991,“ recalled Krzysztof Wojtczak, Axpol CEO, “I would never have dreamt that we would be this successful. We started off as a very small family business that imported metal ballpoint pens, which were produced in Taiwan at the time. Today, we are the number one provider and a purely Polish promotional products supplier without any foreign participation.“
An impressive success story that has its roots around the time when the free Polish market got off the ground. “We have shown constant, yet organic growth,“ recalled Axpol President, Aleksandra Wojtczak. “We gradually expanded our spectrum and line-up of products.“
A few milestones in the company’s successful history: In 1997, a printing shop was opened in Rogozno, near Poznan. The following year the company joined the PSI and opened its own office in China. “Then we published ‘Voyager‘, our first own catalogue in 1999,“ explained Business Development Manager, Jan Siekierski. “It appears annually with a circulation of 40,000 copies, in both Polish/English and in German/English. It presents around 5,000 products, all of which are available from stock.“
In addition to their own imports from China, Axpol also offers the products of other importers the firm has been cooperating with since 1998. “For example we have held the exclusive selling rights in Poland for Xindao’s products since 2011,“ explained Krzysztof Wojtczak. However, the company also sells own brands and exclusive lines to the promotional products trade – the only sales channel of Axpol on the promotional market. “We exclusively distribute to promotional products agencies, never to end customers from the advertising industry,” emphasized Aleksandra Wojtczak.
In the year 2000, the company introduced its own collection of plush toys especially for the promotional products market, which has its own catalogue. These “FOFCIO Promo Toys” ownbrand cuddly toys are made out of high-quality materials in line with the latest (fashion) trends and they offer a variety of different customising options. Furthermore, the exclusive Voyager WineClub was founded in 2005, which distributes quality wines that originate from exquisite vineyards all over the globe. The fine wines and distillates can be individualised and are offered in various sets enhanced by diverse accessories that are designed for the promotional products market.
In 2010, the first catalogue containing the Mauro Conti collection appeared – an elegant selection of exquisite, Italian style leather products offering appropriate accessories for the office and travel sectors.
“Our special catalogues are produced bilingually in English and Polish, with the exception of the WineClub catalogue, which is designed for the Polish market only. Furthermore, in September 2013, there is going to be a special catalogue for the year-end business, which will feature novelties and classics,“ Jan Siekierski stated.
The wide assortment of products is rounded off by a jewellery and fashion collection, which, provided that the items make suitable promotional products, is also available on the promotional products market.
“We are not just PSI-members; this year, we joined Trade Only. We also joined the Polish industry association, the PIAP, in 2006. We have also been a member of the ‘Reliable in Business’ association since 2003 and in 2013 we were awarded the ‘Certificate of Business Credibility’ by Dun & Bradstreet, which proves that we are a trustworthy and fair business partner,“ explained Krzysztof Wojtczak.
Everything under one roof
A further reason why Axpol can boast such impressive figures is definitely that since the headquarters moved to Zlotniki, near Poznan in 2007, the company has been able to benefit from a warehouse measuring 5,000 m². The sales and administration offices as well as the customising department for all possible forms and technologies of customisation including the pre-press, graphic department and machines for the environmentally-friendly recycling of the leftovers of printing dyes are located in the same building, which is an immense logistical advantage. “Around 5,000 items can be stored in the warehouse, 100 employees contribute towards an annual turnover of approx. 10 mil. Euros. We supply over 2,000 customers with approx. 25 mil. items a year, around 4 mil. of which are embellished,“ explained Krzysztof Wojtczak with pride. “For the majority of our customers it is very important that we are able to provide full-service from one source. Because our own customising department is located under our own roof, we are able to embellish all of our products in-house accurately and fast. Poland is the most price-sensitive market in Europe, which is why it comes down to delivering high quality and good service fast at favourable prices. Which is also why it is very important to be able to customise the products oneself.“
All imaginable techniques including pad printing, screen printing, CO2 laser engraving and YAG laser techniques, engraving, embroidery, transfer, colour and blind embossing, digital printing and doming can be carried out in-house, so that all possible wishes can be fulfilled in terms of individualising the products.
Solutions for every task
“We sell items from stock – including the products of other importers – and they can all be customised,” reported Aleksandra Wojtczak. “Companies can also order large volumes or exclusive special designs directly from China at very attractive prices and with short delivery times. Our local office provides support here, efficiently supervising the production in Asia and ensuring that all of the legal provisions are abided by, working together with selected factories and carrying out constant quality checks. Of course, our office in Asia receives support from Zlotniki.“
Approx. 200 containers are imported from China directly every year, which roughly corresponds to 1,000 t of goods.
Axpol has evidently accurately analysed the needs of the customers in Poland and the neighbouring countries – 15% of the turnover is achieved abroad, among others in the Western and Eastern European countries – which enables them to provide an optimal range of services.
Its exemplary success story is not only proof of this, but also the many awards and prizes the company has won. Such as the coveted “Korona Reklamy“ for instance, the prestigious trophy for promotional products suppliers, which has already been presented to Axpol several times at the RemaDays in Warsaw.
A detailed report about the Polish promotional products market can be found here: