Over the course of history, the Faber-Castell family owned-business has taken some hits. Yet this pre-eminent stationer will not lay down and die as, Belinda Aucott happily reports.
Times change. But over 250 years the Faber-Castell family owned-business has taken some hits.
First the invention of an electronic calculator in the early 70’s affected the market for manual slide rules. Then in the late 80’s there was a sharp decline in demand for technical drawing tools. Now finally circa 2011, as if to add insult to injury, smart technology threatens the humble coloured pencil.
But wait. It can’t be! At Habitus we love drawing. So when meeting Count Anton von Faber-Castell we were on the hunt for some general reassurance that pencils are here to stay.
And we were in luck. The Faber-Castells have handy new research that shows drawing is brilliant for the brain’s of children and that using hand held tools (not phones) boosts mood!
“Research has proven that when you give children pencils, they are in a better mood. We have a study, made with a very senior professor at the Boston University, who has proven that hand-held tools boost mood!,” says Count Anton Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell who is in Australia to mark 250 years of Faber-Castell Sydney.
Presiding over a business stemming back to a small rural German town in 1761, Count Anton looks every bit the pencil mogul. His clothing is precise, he wears a silver tie pin and his hair is the colour of silver cotton thread.
For Count Anton Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell, who is eighth generation of the family, the success of the company is a result of making innovative products that distinguished from his competition. He also attributes the success of the business to being able to plan long term, their resolve to back their own new products and to flexible corporate governance.
As I discover over coffee, for it is not only the advent of new research that keeps Faber-Castell’s business in good shape, it the general decorum and sensibility associated with art and communication that people these days are beginning to appreciate.
“It is vital that artists use artist’s tools,” says Count Anton, making in a sincere formal tautology, at pains to explain how hand held writing tools have a kinetic significance to education and brain growth.
“These days language is more sloppy. People write all these emails without thinking. If you write a letter you have to think more as you put the words, on. the. paper,” he says stating each word separately.
“If you want to tell someone something that is very personal then you write it down. Money wise it is not important – value wise it is. It’s classy,” Count Anton Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell.
And with statement Habitus agrees.
Find out more about Faber-Castell pencils here.