Company history and background

Dear Customer and Partner,

A lot has happened since Penhouse started on August 1st 1985 in a small room in the back of a store called ”Fyldepenne Magasinet", on "Strøget" in Copenhagen, which was established same place in 1928 by the famous Georg Andersen, who besides importing Montblanc products and many other items, also produced a line of fountain pens by the name “Liberty".

Penhouse was the first few years named FM Trading, the retail store’s abbreviated name, and dealing with import and distribution only in Denmark. Among the products imported was leading brand names in writing articles of that time, such as Montblanc and Lamy, both top brands produced in Germany.

Later in the portfolio also came Waterman, Caran d'Ache, Shaeffer and many new accessories brands for desktop and office. Everything was sold to Danish retail- and department stores. In 1985 and the following years we had 5 classic fountain pen stores in Denmark and they were located in Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and the two biggest in Copenhagen. The following year FM Trading was moved to Valby, Trekronergade 149 C, since we was in need of more space and hired our first employee.

Then we moved to Herlev in 1988, Hørkær 28, ground floor, where we got even more space, more employees and shortly after we bought the name Penhouse from the former Shaeffer importer, and that is how we got the name established.

In 1989 we got the chance to buy a small company called, Fa. Georg Andersen's Eftf., it was located on Østerbro and sold advertising pens in plastic under the brand name “Liberty”.

At that point we had completed a full circle since the original roots from where it all started, Georg Andersen and Liberty, was back together with Montblanc and the owner of Fyldepenne-Magasinet.

That also meant we had to invest in printing machines from Italy, both screen printing and pad print, as well as establish a department for them and thus we also got a lease on Hørkær 28 on 3rd floor, and the warehouse was in the meantime moved to the basement, total just under 1,500 square meters and up to around year 2002, we were around 25 employees with a production that worked in two shifts.

At home nearly 100 people worked to assemble the advertising pens after they were printed with a logo. A task that was to be done in 7 days and up to 10.000 units per turnaround. We got a good amount assembled in prisons, but that stopped during the large “gang war” when we got the pens back in color combinations, which was characterized by the fact that the bikers who mounted them both was color blind and could not be punished harder!

In 1995 our cooperation with Montblanc was terminated and the year after we said goodbye to Lamy, the last retail product distributorship we had, that was solely sold in Denmark to retail- and department stores.

Now Liberty was the label on all products and those we could sell anywhere in the world, so export to the USA, Australia, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Russia and other exotic countries was done in those days.

In early 2000, we switched to a new modern production management system, Concorde XAL which resulted in a half year without oversight and control. Unfortunately, this was costly on the bottom line at the same time that the competitive situation was greatly sharpened on our home markets in Scandinavia. Lack of earnings and less revenue per sold unit gave a huge loss in a very short time and we were in need for extra capital and reconstruction.

In the same period were established sales companies by 3 out of 4 of our main suppliers, up in Scandinavia, misfortunes rarely come alone, and several of our employees was “persuaded” to join those companies.

After a nine month suspension of payments all creditors was paid, an agreement was finalized with the bank and all debt to the public and employees was paid. Assets and liabilities belonging to the company Penhouse of Scandinavia A/S was then in 2013 sold to Penhouse Nordic. The Limited company was closed by the authorities due to the lack of a Board in the receivership period when the shares were handed over to the bank.

An unnecessary, and unpleasant, experience.

All remaining employees were laid off over the years and slowly we changed our strategy so that there would only be marketing and sales in a pure sales office. All production and storage should be outsourced to the main suppliers, Ritter Pen being the largest and oldest relation, since cooperation and working as their sales office for Scandinavia, began in 1990. In 2017 Ritter Pen will be reduced to second position business wise surpassed by our sales of promotional products.

Penhouse Nordic moved to Hellebæk Klædefabrik in 2014, Nordre Strandvej 119 G, and continued developing in this new direction until 2007.

New headquarters was then established in Holte on Elledamsvej 2, right up until 2009, after which the story repeated itself a little, as we briefly moved back to Herlev again, though only about a year, throughout 2010.

New items came in 2009 and 2010, promotional giveaways , such as thermos, umbrellas, chocolates etc., and this has proven to be a very fine addition to the classic advertising pens and could be sold to the same target groups, namely gift wholesalers, office wholesalers and advertising agencies. They are sold and marketed under our new brand name Worx.

Libertys name as a brand, were to vanish because we no longer produced anything on our own, but decided to market the pens we get from Ritter Pen as being branded Ritter, which is no problem as they are of high quality in both product, print and delivery.

We almost never have any problems and close to only satisfied customers. But it will never be the cheapest option, but perhaps the best pen option price versus value wise in today's market.

At the beginning of 2011 Penhouse Nordic moved its sales office to Klampenborg and has been located there until today. The warehouse and distribution is situated at a logistic center in Hvidovre.

Our phone service is handled by a call center company in Lynge and our bookkeeping is handled by a bookkeeping company in Charlottenlund.

In 2012 we added a new promotional product line from Excel. They were life style products with an edge, often in very poor quality quality and with a large profit to the owner build in and therefore seriously overpriced.

By the end of 2013 we discontinued our cooperation and part as a consultant on B2B segment with Excel Denmark A/S after two very exciting year with lots of new challenges and loss of hair.

The last couple of years our business and company has been consolidating, changing our banking partner to Danske Bank and the financial results from 2016 was the best in the now almost 32 years of company history.

The company equity has passed DKK 1.0 mill. and year-to-date (2017) we are up 33% compared to the same period the year before.

The reason for all this I believe is focus, hard work, better times, lessons learned and the establishment of eHouse 4 years ago, that not only opens a new rented shop per month in Europe, but also provides Penhouse Nordic with the best state of the art online solution in Europe.

Moving to modern sales and marketing platforms, fighting the disruption and making the changes in the markets our friends and not our enemies.

Welcome to a, in many ways new, but also in a good meaning, the good old Penhouse Nordic.

Age is just a number, so we are still young and want to learn, grow again and get better, preferably with support and feedback from you as a Customer and Partner.

Yours sincerely,