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View as HTML version PSI Journal 5/2016 uct awareness,” says the Spaniard, remembering the beginnings of his business concept. “But many distributors could not imagine customers being willing to pay for something as simple as a sunshade. I drove from city to city and distributed the largest portion of the first batch of products literally out of the trunk of my car.” But then the project received impetus from a trend that later proved to be ground­breaking: business to business. “Our products are predestined to be used as promotional products. They have a high practical value, an enormous multiplication factor, and provide a large advertising space. The fact that 3M alone ordered 10,000 sunshades for the 1988 Olympics turned out to be a lucky break,” Carlos Jiménez reports, looking back. PATENTED DEVELOPMENTS WITH A GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS As appreciation for this simple but very useful item grew, retailers’ interest and demand also increased. The fact that Clipy concentrated on the promotional products business – now the company’s only distribution channel – led to further developments in the product. In 1997 for instance, Clipy began to adjust the sunshades to customers’ wishes with the aid of offset printing. “Advertising agencies put much higher demands on the design of the shade, and wanted to print photographic motifs, for instance,” Cristina González, Clipy’s Distribution and Export Manager, explains. “In addition to improved print quality, offset printing has another considerable advantage: speed. That is why today we can print 7,000 per hour.” Another milestone was the introduction of Clipy Compact in 2000. This patented model, which a special technique makes compact, collapsible and equipped with a plastic fastener, was invented by Carlos Jiménez, as were nearly all Clipy products. The Super Compact, which can be folded up even smaller, is a further development of the product. Maxi and Jumbo follow more the trend to larger sunshades. Static was launched in 2003. This shade made of elec­ Carlos Jiménez rather accidentally chanced upon the business idea of his successful company Clipy. trostatic film can be attached to the side window and thus enables companies to advertise on car doors. A model for the cold months of winter, the weatherproof Wintershield, which is attached to the outside of the windshield and is intended to protect against ice and snow, was added to the product line in 2005. With product developments like these, whose patents have now grown to fill an entire ring binder, Clipy occupied a niche and became a highly specialized supplier. APPARENTLY SIMPLE PRODUCT WITH A COMPLEX MANUFACTURING PROCESS The company meanwhile has sales of three million euros and employs 17 full­time members of staff. Seven employees work at the headquarters in Madrid. Ten staff members work in partner operations manufacturing and customizing Clipy products. Since being founded, the company’s products have been produced exclusively in Spain by qualified experts who are skilled at complex production. “We use a special kind of cardboard whose grooves are especially long and all point in the same direction – this is decisive for the folding technique,” Begoña Alvarez, commercial manager at Clipy, reports. “We buy this FSC­certified cardboard from a special supplier in Finland. Because we can only procure the material in large quantities, we have to be able to store them as well – so we always have between 250,000 and 300,000 sheets of cardboard in stock.” Another challenge is metalizing the cardboard. “Applying the aluminium coating demands precision work,” Cristina González says, “and quite dangerous, not least due to the static electricity of the aluminium, which arises when the sheets of laminated cardboard are stacked. We had to find a solution for this, as well as for the problem of how to print the aluminium coating on certain models.” MAIN CUSTOMERS COME FROM CENTRAL EUROPE Clipy sells the largest portion of its finished products abroad. The company has an export share of 65 percent, for sunshades are not necessarily a Mediterranean product, as Begoña Alvarez is aware. “Surprisingly, our best customers are in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.” And Cristina González adds, “Export is and was an important factor that enables us to survive the crisis. The fact that we are a comparably small team turned out to be a real advantage. We are able to make decisions quickly, and our customers appreciate the short delivery distances, our multilingualism, and lastly our simplicity and charm.” Not to forget the Iberians’ undiminished passion to innovate, “The next big step will be to introduce digital printing – work on this project has already begun,” Carlos Jiménez reveals, and he is certain that this will give the company another place in the sun. < 71

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