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Osama, founded in 1967 by Mario Tschang, to this day is a family business now in its third generation.
Several important steps have marked the growth of a company that began as a distributor of writing supplies and is now structured in three different divisions: Writing, Living and Promoting.
Numerous developmental milestones, such as 1969 when Mitsubishi products began to be distributed, 1981 when the company began marketing Osama brand products, the birth of Uni Posca in 1983, development in Asia with The opening of offices in Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong in 1987 and one factory owned in Xiamen 2000.
Another key aspect in the development of Osama Are licenses and admissions to other societies. Since 2001, as far as licensing is concerned, we remember brands Ferrè, Looney Tunes, By Krizia and the more recent Pantone and Entrances, just to name the best known, In the corporate structure of Kasanova Spa (2012) and Smemoranda Group (2017).
Relevant business and social engagement activities includethe establishment of the China Agency, a nonprofit activity that fosters economic and cultural exchange between Italy and China.
To learn more about the development aspects of Osama, we met with Massimo Fonti, Sales Director GDO.
Let’s start with the end, the acquisition of Morocolor finalized on June 30. What are the opportunities offered by the initiative?
First of all, for Osama it is very important and with relevant strategic value to be able to count on a proprietary production plant, as well as to be able to complete its commercial offer with a range, that of Morocolor, complementary to the Osama catalog and consisting of products that are based on four fundamental values: Made in Italy, very high quality, safety and sustainability. This aspect allows us to work even better on the second goal, which is greater internationalization. We are already present in more than 90 countries, but we want to implement our business abroad, particularly in Asia and the United States.
What has been Osama’s development path in recent years?
The company has been strongly renewed in the last year and a half, after Covid, organizing itself into 3 divisions: Writing, Living (home and kitchen textiles), and Promoting, integrating the know-how of other entities in the group. The company’s desire is to diversify its offerings with own-brand and licensed lines. The latest acquisition, is Guzzini for the Living division, joining Head and Pantone.
With what results?
The main division remains that of Writing. The others are under development and growing in double digits. However, we believe that the writing sector is a category that can still offer much satisfaction to the company. Certainly this is a mature market where there are many players, but good value for money, attention to design and market trends, along with an innovative approach in how the product is presented we are sure can make a difference. This is a rather static market where being dynamic and having a keen eye for innovation can be rewarding values.
What are the most problematic aspects that characterize the industry?
This is a very complicated market because of the number of items and distribution channels. In recent years, the industry is dominated by demographics and digitization, which have and continue to negatively influence the market.
What about the positive ones?
Certainly scholastics still remains very important, while positively growing is everything pertaining to creativity, and we have proof of this by looking at the results of Uni Posca. During Covid there was a real rediscovery of creative and artistic activities, and the positive trend continues.
With Artiline, Osama has entered the world of home maintenance with a professional product. How was the reception from the market?
Thanks to the investments we have made, we have formed some business partnerships with GDS signs and some distributors. We have had very positive demonstrations of interest, and not only for Artline professional products, but also in the stationery, decoration and, not least, the Living division, given the assortment expansions of several Brico brands.
Plans for the upcoming 2024?
We have a great challenge ahead of us thanks in part to the integration of Morocolor, but we also have other projects in the works, including expanding the home improvement range.