Papelera Don Bosco is a paper mill located in Nuevo Chimbote, Peru, producing exclusively high-quality hand-made paper and using only local cotton as a raw material. Founded in 2008, has started production in 2009. It is a new exhibitor at the NSS and its story is quite different from that of an ordinary industrial operation.
The National Stationery Show is traditionally a place where, besides established companies, new emerging businesses get the opportunity to introduce themselves. Among the new exhibitors, Papelera Don Bosco has a special story to tell. Nobody knows it better than Angelo Moncini, an Italian businessman who created the Papelera and helped to support it during the first years of activity.
“When I retired, after having spent all my professional life in the field of high-quality stationery, I felt the need to make my experience available to some charitable undertaking,” Angelo tells. “But how? Well, I came in contact with an organization offering relief in Latin America, and they encouraged me to visit some poor region of Peru to see how I could help. Eventually, I went to a place in North-Peru - its name is Nuevo Chimbote - and I was really impressed by the extremely needy conditions and the serious social problems experienced by a large part of the population. I thought that all the help I could possibly offer was to create some job opportunities by starting a local operation. But what type of operation? My professional experience led me quite obviously to think that hand paper making was best suited to my purpose.”
This was the start, in 2008. Hand-made paper was a spontaneous choice for an Italian stationery expert, as this craft is supported by a centuries-old Italian tradition and is still well alive in places like Fabriano, in Central-Italy, where hand-made paper is regularly produced and the craft is a subject of formal teaching. Beside the availability of know-how, a good reason for the choice of producing hand-made paper was the possibility of creating a top-quality product at a quite competitive price and without the need of huge investments.
“I found myself looking for sponsors everywhere, and I was extremely pleased to see how many people were willing to donate money, materials and equipment, and also how much time my friends were devoting to the project,” Angelo says.
And indeed, a building was erected in Nuevo Chimbote, equipment was designed, built and shipped, young people were hired and trained. The operation, called “Papelera Don Bosco”, received everything as a gift. In 2009 the production of hand-made paper sheets was started.
“All of us shared the same goal: achieving the highest possible quality. We thought that using industrially produced cellulose as a raw material, even the high-grade one, was not good enough. Fortunately, at some point in time, somebody remarked that Peru had plenty of top-quality cotton, and the decision was taken to make use of it,” Angelo tells us. “It took a lot of experiments and it required some additional equipment, but the result was well worth the effort.”
Now Papelera makes a variety of high-quality products, ranging from artist’s paper sheets to paper for letterpress printing, to paper with organic inclusions and paper for scrapbooking. Its customers have until now been in Italy and Peru, but at this point in time Papelera makes a leap forward by introducing itself to the USA market.
How does Angelo feel about it? “It is like seeing a child who has grown up, and now is mature to face the true life. I am really proud of it.”