Craft Focus - October/November 2022 (Issue 93)

34 Life is art Jakar International Ltd is a family business specialising in high quality artist materials and a range of stationery and craft products. Paul Sacki, Managing Director, tells us more… Tell us a little bit about the company. Where are you based? When did the company start? Jakar International was based in north London until 2015 when the company relocated to new and larger office and warehouse premises in Elstree, Hertfordshire. Jakar International was established by Lydia Sacki in 1949 and first began importing drawing instruments and cuckoo clocks for sale in the UK market. How has the company evolved? Rapidly expanding in the ’50s, the company introduced a wide range of stationery and art and craft products sourced from all over the world. Most notably was the close relationship forged with Caran d’Ache, the world-renowned Swiss manufacturer of high quality artist materials and colour products for whom we have been their exclusive UK and Ireland distributors for over 60 years. What’s your background and why did you start the company? Jakar International is third-generation family owned. Lydia Sacki was my grandmother, my father Kenneth joined the business during the ’50s and eventually took over as Managing Director in the mid ’60s, a position he held until his retirement in 2015. I joined the company in 1979 as a Sales Representative, in 1990 I was promoted to Sales Director and following the retirement of my father, assumed the role of MD in 2015. What do you specialise in? Jakar provides high quality products at competitive prices, constantly introducing innovative ranges, including sustainable and ecofriendly products to the marketplace. Talk us through the current products you’re particularly excited about. Do you have a favourite? We have just introduced different types of Stifflex spiral bound, micro perforated artWORK pads for sketching, drawing, painting, watercolour, Manga, marker and pastel with different covers and at least two designs per type. This is complemented by a range of Stifflex artWORK books with hard and flexible covers, 192 pages, case bound. All artWORK pads and books are made in Italy. Another new product for us is the Rosa Gallery watercolours, made in Ukraine. There are a variety of watercolour sets with 12, 14, 21 and 28 assorted 2.5ml full pans supplied in metal boxes as well as 60 single colours full pans. For those