“We recently presented at a trade exhibition in Cologne,” says Managing Director Jean-Baptiste Corvée. “Visitors were made aware that we are the only French producer of melamine tableware, in a market where 95% of products are made in China. The German delegates found it interesting, because made in France also means made in Europe, a label which is in huge demand. At the moment, we don’t have a huge export market, because my predecessor didn’t see that as a priority; this is something that I want to change.”
Plastorex specializes in melamine tableware for a broad market, from public sector institutions such as schools and hospitals, to hotels, restaurants and the leisure industry – the camping and sailing segments, for example – where melamine products are a logical and practical choice.
The portfolio encompasses plates, cups and dishes in a wide range of colours and designs to suit all tastes. Collections include nature-based motifs, nautical and abstract ‘pop’ designs, and translucent products.
Plastorex has even created a special collection of products specifically for babies and young children, including two-handled beakers with a drinking spout, and compartmentalized plates, all with appealing patterns and motifs. While the attractiveness of the products is, of course, important, it is the characteristics of melamine as a material that really make Plastorex’s products stand out.
“Melamine is recognized as a material made with no petrochemicals,” emphasizes Mr. Corvée. “It is a natural product, which is 100% safe. We are working on new organic products which are made from corn, bamboo and rice powder. Natural products are very much in trend, and the recyclability and sustainability of products such as ours is very important to consumers. In 2020, new laws are to be introduced which ban disposable plastic. Melamine is a good alternative because it is a natural product; the problem is that consumers are not necessarily aware of that fact. Using other words, such as corn and bamboo, is far better for our image.”
With production facilities in Saint-Claude in eastern France, Plastorex offers customers multiple advantages over Far East manufacturers. “We are much more flexible,” Mr. Corvée points out. “We can produce smaller quantities for specific markets. In the camping sector, for example, order quantities are relatively small and, for us, this is not a problem. In addition, we can deliver orders quickly, usually within two weeks. Our quality assurance is also far superior to Chinese manufacturers. In the past, melamine had a poor reputation, which came not from the material itself, but from the production methods. Unlike some other manufacturers, the safety of our production is 100% guaranteed.”
Plastorex was acquired in October 2018 by the SIGMA group, a mould specialist, which today is a pure supplier to Plastorex. “We develop our own products and market them ourselves,” says Mr. Corvée. The company currently achieves an annual turnover in the region of 3.5 million EUR, which represents a quarter of the SIGMA group’s turnover.
“We have created a fantastic working culture here,” continues the Managing Director. “Some staff have been here for over 20 years. I don’t need to motivate the employees; everyone loves the brand and wants to help develop Plastorex so that we remain in France. Through my own investment in the company, that situation is assured.”
Plastorex has many interesting plans for the coming years, relating to product development, production and marketing. “We have many wonderful ideas for new designs; great design is our trademark,” reveals Mr. Corvée. “We are also working on the automation of our production through robotics, which will improve quality still further. The new R&D and marketing specialists we have recently hired will enhance our capability in all of these areas. Innovation in terms of products and design is essential; our customers must regularly see something new from us. We also have to remain competitive, which won’t be achieved through automation alone. We want to consolidate production for maximum quality and control. This will support our expansion within Europe. Ultimately, our vision is to be a strong French manufacturer and a true European player.”