Dave - Well firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Perhaps to start with you could give me a brief introductory run down on Lamy.
Andrea - Lamy was established in 1930 in Heidelburg, Germany. We have approximately 370 employees, of which 2/3rds work in production, making approximately 7 million writing instruments annually. Our sales turnover is approx. €50 million/year, through 6,500 specialist dealers in Germany, and distribution partners in 62 other countries. Currently our range comprises 27 different series of writing instruments.
Every Lamy product embodies our brand values: Design – Innovation – Quality. Lamy not only develops modern, sophisticated designs, but also conducts ongoing research into technical innovations which raise the functionality of writing instruments. Lamy is 100 per cent “Made in Germany” and we have more than 100 international design awards.
Lamy head office & factory
Andrea - Lamy likes to offer complete ranges of the various product families, thus our customers have a variety of writing systems to choose from but also the opportunity to combine sets of their likings.
But to be honest, pencils are not our best selling systems. They do very well as a set with ballpens, but we are mostly selling ballpens, closely followed by fountain pens.
We do however offer two ranges where the pencils are selling very well and the ballpens are more or less an "addition". These are LAMY spirit, an extremely slim pencil, designed to fit into agendas (for those people who still write with a pen and do not use blackberrys) and LAMY scribble, a very handsome pencil available with two lead sizes (0,7 mm and 3,15 mm), designed for artists, architects, designers, etc. who are doing sketches or just like "scribbling"
But I should also mention our pencil LAMY abc which has especially been designed for school children who start learning to write. This pencil has an ergonomic grip section for small hands and a soft (B) 1,4 mm lead which forgives high pressure but also allows a great variety of writing positions.
Dave - Hopefully you see Lamy continuing to offer a pencil option as you introduce new styles?
Andrea - Of course, we will go on offering product families as complete as possible.
Dave - Lamy seems to have a world-wide presence. Are there any markets where sales of your mechanical pencils are much stronger or weaker than average?
Andrea - We are currently exporting our pens to more that 60 countries worldwide.
Should there be any preferences for pencils they are certainly in the Asian markets who like to write either with a fountain pen with a fine or extra fine nib, or with a pencil.
Dave - Counterfeit or fake products seem to be an issue for many well known brands and products. Is counterfeiting of Lamy writing instruments a problem?
Andrea - So far we do not have any problems with counterfeit products. We have however come across one or the other pen that has been faked, but mostly the copies are rather poor and you can easily see the difference. We are however closely watching the market and are taking legal steps when we come across such products.
Dave - To finish with, a question about your manufacturing operation. Lamy writing instruments are made from a very diverse range of materials, and many specialised manufacturing techniques would presumably be needed for this. What parts of the manufacturing process are carried out by Lamy itself? Is Lamy’s part essentially the final assembly of finished components sourced from external suppliers, or are you actually doing most things in-house - making mechanisms, moulding bodies, machining out pocket clips, etc?
Andrea - 97% of the whole production process is done in Heidelberg. There are certain parts we are buying from other suppliers, but for example all our nibs are being completely made in Heidelberg, we are injection moulding all plastic components, producing metal barrels, clips, etc....
Dave - Once again, thanks very much for your time, and I look forward to seeing many new innovative and unique products from Lamy.
Some of the team at Lamy. The gentlemen in centre-front with the light suit and the sun glasses is Dr. Manfred Lamy, owner of the company and to the right in the dark suit with tie is Mr. Bernhard Roesner the CEO of Lamy.