Wednesday, May 22, 2019

5 Minutes With Paul Callow, CEO, Cartridge World UK


Cartridge World recently announced it was opening the doors to its brand new showroom in Harrogate, North Yorkshire — a significant move in the company‘s rebrand to position itself as premium product supplier and retail franchise.

With this in mind, the Retail Gazette caught up with its UK chief executive to find out what the rebrand means for customers and franchisees alike, and to find out more about his career before taking on Cartridge World and expanding its franchise reach across western Europe.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before the Cartridge World

I started my career with Haagen-Dazs and then spent some time at L‘Oréal.

In 2000 I entered the IT and printing business by joining Lexmark‘s retail team. After two years at Lexmark I was approached by Brother and appointed general manager of sales and marketing.

In 2008 Lexmark asked me to return and from 2008 and 2011 I held several directorships there.

In the spring of 2011 I set up my own venture management and business development consultancy, specialising in helping large brands such as Unilever develop, pilot and scale up new innovations outside of their core businesses.

I became involved with the Cartridge World business while working on a project for a coffee company. The early discussions led to my business partner and I taking over the master franchise rights for the UK and Ireland, shortly followed by France, Spain and Portugal.

What got you into the retail sector in the first place?

I have always been in commercial roles supplying retailers. The retail business can be challenging and a franchised retail business such as Cartridge World even more so.

Retail itself is evolving, and in the UK the prominence of online creates additional challenges and opportunities.

For Cartridge World, our challenge has been to create a retail environment which business customers feel comfortable in but without alienating home users and students.

Describe your responsibilities as CEO of Cartridge World UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal.

Most importantly, my responsibility is to ensure that the franchisees who have invested to join our network receive value for money and support. This way they can effectively develop their businesses using our brand.

We have staff in Marlow, Harrogate, and Paris, with teams that operate across regions rather than just locally. Of course, we work with a range of manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers, and I have a responsibility to deliver good value and ensure their products and services are represented properly.

Finally, working with my colleagues, I am responsible for developing new solutions and offers enabling customers to save money and deliver revenue opportunities for our franchisees.

How has your previous experience aided your current job?

Certainly, 12 years working for printer manufacturers has provided great insight and understanding as to what can be done to deliver value and savings to customers.

My time running the venture management business also provided a fantastic learning environment which has enabled me and my colleagues to make some improvements to our current offering and business model very quickly.


Cartridge World has only been around years – supplying offices and domestic homes with ink and other printer-related products. It even has a global reach. What do you attribute this success to?

The Cartridge World brand has stood the test of time for two reasons: it offers genuine value and choice for customers, and, the people in th