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My Stationery Story: Paul Sacki

Jakar International was started by managing director, Paul Sacki’s grandmother 75 years ago. Paul shares his fascinating story of how he got involved with the family business.

How did Jakar International come about?

My grandmother Lydia Sacki had to leave Germany before the second World War during the Nazi period. She and the family came to London and had to start again from scratch as everything was taken away from them.

After the war she opened a guest house and one of her lodgers has connections in the toy and stationery business in Germany. They began importing products from Germany and gradually built up the business.

Above: Lydia Sacki and one of the company vans at the old Jakar building in the mid-80
Above: Lydia Sacki and one of the company vans at the old Jakar building in the mid-80s.

My father, Kenneth Sacki joined the business in the mid-fifties and helped expand the business. In 1960 we acquired the distribution for Caran d’Ache products in the UK and Ireland. I joined the Company in 1979 and we expanded further supplying extensive ranges of artists materials and stationery products.

This year we are celebrating 75 years (1949-2024).

What made you get into the stationery industry?

After leaving school, my father arranged for me to have work experience at one of our suppliers M+R based in Germany. They are still one of our largest suppliers. I then returned to the UK and worked in the stationery department at Harrods. Once I had gained experience my father offered me a position in the company as a sales representative and worked my way through various rolls over the years.

Above: Kenneth (left) and Paul Sacki with Caran d’Ache’s Jacques Hübscher (centre).
Above: Kenneth (left) and Paul Sacki with Caran d’Ache’s Jacques Hübscher (centre).

What is the best part of being in of the stationery industry?

I enjoy forming relationships with customers and offering a personal dedicated service. Over the years I have built up some good relationships and friendships.

What’s your favourite industry memory?

My first visit at the age of 21 to the Caran d’Ache Factory in Geneva. I was overwhelmed with the size of the factory and was fascinated in the processes of making a colour pencil and visiting all the various departments and from start to finish.

What does 2024 hold for Jakar International?

Our Rosa brand of watercolours which are manufactured in the Ukraine continues to grow and are becoming more and more in demand. Caran d’Ache artists materials and colouring products continue to being one of the market leaders and some exciting new products which are being launched at the London Stationery Show in May.

Above: Rosa watercolours are a best seller.
Above: Rosa watercolours are a best seller.

Can you tell us three interesting facts about your business?

  • Our company originally was called Julius Kaufmann Limited, and in the 1960’s when my father took over he created the name Jakar by using the first letter of the first letter of both names as well as an abbreviation of one of our suppliers name.
  • Our products are sourced worldwide in 12 different countries.
  • Our employees combined speak over 10 different languages.

 

What is your favourite stationery product of all time?

My favourite product of all time is the Caran d’Ache Luminance colour pencils which are now available in 100 assorted colours and are our best-selling colour pencils. I also love the M+R brass pencil sharpeners.

Jakar International is exhibiting on stand M514 at the London Stationery Show, 14 – 15 May at the Business Design Centre. Visitor registration is now open and is free for retailers, buyers, dealers and other resellers of stationery. It is not open to the general public.

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