Interview with Plamen Tzanev, founder and CEO of Pulsio Print, a French printing company headquartered in Paris.
By Aneta Nedyalkova
More than 100 people work in Pulsio Print’s production base in Bulgaria, on a 9000 sq.m. site. For 14 years, the company has specialised in fine art books, soft cover books, advertising catalogues and brochures.Customers of Pulsio Print comprise over 600 publishers and 800 companies including many prestigious brands and institutions. Among them are Musée Pompidou, Musée du Louvre, Nike, Varta, Baumit, UHU, Sofitel, Renault, Galeries Lafayette, Groupe Media Participation (Dupuis, Dargaud) ed. Eyrolles, ed. Bayard Presse, groupe Elidia, Groupe Libella, ed. du Louvre and many more.
It’s a quite brave move for a Bulgarian to start a business in the heart of Paris. Where did the idea come from?
I found many interesting French authors and wanted to introduce them to readers from my native Bulgaria. We started with the publication of books by authors such as David Foenkinos and Frédérick Beigbeder. Two years later, the idea of creating our own printing house came to me when French publishers contacted me to ask me to find ways to print at more economical tariffs in Eastern Europe.
What were the first steps in starting your business? Was there a specific moment when you realised your enterprise was already successful?
At the beginning, we were subcontractors in production and it was crucial to control quality. We realised that the project was successful when we started to print about 10% of all new editions published not only in France but also in Belgium and Switzerland.
Among your clients, there are exceptional names – the Louvre, the Pompidou Museum, Renault, Nike. What is the difference and what is most important when working with institutions, companies and brands of this magnitude?
The printing process itself is always identical. However, the approach to customers is different. For all, quality is paramount, but for those institutions we must be able to offer an even higher standard. That is why we invested in a special machine which provides a luxurious offset printing called “H-UV”.
The company operates on an international level. Are there any distinctive features in customer approach, depending on their location?
Yes, the style, the way of communication is different, the decision making too. For example, according to our experience in Belgium and Switzerland, the position is “matter of fact” – things are said to be what they are. France has a more Latin mentality, more emotions, and sometimes it requires more unusual communication.
We live in an increasingly digital world. Can we say that print usage is declining?
Paper has become a luxury media, but what’s curious is that there is no drop in the quantity of printed publications. Rather, there is a downward trend in their circulation.
Does the company have a social responsibility policy and in what direction? You comply with the print quality standards Fogra 39 and ISO 12647. You have two certificates showing responsible forest conservation.
We try to work in different ways. In Bulgaria, we hire disabled people as well as representatives of the minority. We distribute books in francophone bookshops in Bulgaria and organise student visits to the print house. But all this is not yet formalised as a policy of fully developed corporate social responsibility – we have to work on it.
Do you work with internship programs – students or young professionals?
Yes, we regularly have interns, especially for the marketing assistant position. We believe in the training of young people, who can contribute to successful development in the future.
What do you expect next year, do you have new projects?
In the digital age, buying behaviour constantly changes. Many of our customers are turning to the Internet to make their orders. To respond to this trend, we have developed and introduced a tool on our site that allows you to calculate an approximate bid with just 3 clicks. Easy and practical, this tool has already allowed us to attract more Internet clients. Next year we will improve it by introducing new features.
So stay online!