As the sole distributor of Pilot pens in Greece, Matalon S.A., established in 1949, is particularly proud of its origins. Headed by women for three generations now, the Greek company traces its partnership with the 105-year-old Japanese pen maker and stationery giant to a trade fair in Athens in the early 1980s.

“Around 40 years ago, during a stationery trade fair, Mr. Akira Tsuneto, who was president of Pilot at the time, noticed that customers smiled whenever they entered our booth. Although the fair was full of people and many busy booths, he noticed that our customers were always happy to meet us and that made a strong impression on him,” Matalon CEO Eleonora Tzafou recalled.

“Tsuneto evaluated our company and proposed a collaboration. From our side, we assessed Pilot’s products and found them to be exceptional. They were of the highest quality and very innovative. At that time, Pilot did not exist in Europe yet,” Tzafou added.

During all these years, the partnership between Matalon and Pilot has stood strong, weathering many crises and emerging more resilient. Tzafou attributes the company’s success and stability to how fast it has always been able to adapt to the ever-evolving stationery market and deliver what is needed quickly.

As a result, Pilot has earned the top spot in a ranking of brand awareness in Greece.

“People in Greece know the brand very well. When promoting Pilot, we have also used the sakura (cherry blossom), a popular symbol of Japanese culture, with particularly positive results. In Greece, we generally trust Japanese products in all categories and the public is very happy with Pilot,” Tzafou said.

Because of its experience working with Pilot, Matalon hopes to form more partnerships with other Japanese brands that seek a strong, profitable presence in Greece, confident in its ability to deliver positive results and surmount whatever challenges it may face in the future.

“In Matalon, we believe growth can be achieved by trading the right brands and having an excellent relationship with both our suppliers and customers. The secret of our success is personalized customer experience and dynamic distribution,” Tzafou said.