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The Mouse That Roared

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What does it take to succeed in accessories? What does it take for a distributor to turn manufacturer and build its own range of best-selling accessories?

We interviewed Paulius Paršeliūnas, General Manager of ACME Europe (photo below).

ACME started life as a distributor in 1993 and in 2012 ACME Group turnover reached 204,5 million euro, including exports to 36 countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa. Today the ACME brand of accessories is winning European awards and expected to grow to one-third of the Group’s business.

PauliusTo succeed in accessories, it’s clear you need a Big Hit. You need a winning product that earns public and press attention; one that roars out for reviews and awards and calls attention to the rest of the range-- and for ACME, that winner is the first of ACME’s new Urban harmony range of products: the PEANUT mouse.

As the name “PEANUT” suggests, it is not physical size that makes this an award-winning product…it’s the concept and design that wins over users.

“An absolute success,” declares Paršeliūnas. “At first we won national Lithuanian awards and after that international competitions such as “Plus X Award 2012” and “iF Product Design Award 2013” gave us either commendations or awards.”

PeanutThe German-based iF design awards are among the largest and most important international design awards that mark consumer electronics products as exceptional and exemplary.

What makes the success even more impressive is that this award-winning company comes not from the usual Western Europe producers but from Lithuania in the Baltics. Lithuania has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. And not so many people remember that by the end of the 14th century, Lithuania was one of the largest countries in Europe.

When ACME started its activity in Lithuania 20 years ago it began with audio cassettes and grew into a trading company offering IT solutions.  ACME grew up as a regional distributor of worldwide known brands. And that background, the experience of selling other makers’ products was important as it let ACME realize what support distributors really need. While some other manufacturers actually adopt a purposeful adversarial role with distributors, ACME is distributor-friendly.

WaveIn a short time ACME became a leading accessories maker serving Central and Eastern Europe. “Among our nearest aims,” notes Paršeliūnas, “is to become a leading player in Southern and Western Europe as well.  ACME is a determined, youthful, active and open brand. We put a lot of effort to stay competitive on the market and to develop our product range. More and more customers worldwide select consumer electronics not only for its price or technical specifications, but also because of its design and outstanding aesthetic features. In response to these global trends, in 2011 ACME established R&D department responsible for the market research and the creation of unique design consumer electronics.”

“The role of manufacturer is much more important for us than being a distributor. It’s much more difficult as well-- as you have to take all the responsibilities for the product success… ACME invests a lot into the creation of unique design ‘Urban harmony’ products. We have plans this product line will make one-third of our turnover in the future.”

“IFA is a very important part of our global marketing plan. We expect to meet a lot of current and future partners there, to start new collaborations,” adds Paršeliūnas. “Another important reason we attend IFA is to present the new face of ACME. Many of our partners know us only because of ‘Start’ and ‘Perform’ product lines but few have heard about ‘Urban harmony’ which is very new and very innovative. IFA is the first step to present this line. “

ACME created three different product lines to satisfy the needs of various consumers. Those who persistently seek a fast and comfortable living for a reasonable price will fulfil their expectations by choosing the ‘Start’ line. The ‘Perform’ line is designed for more perfectionist people who demand high quality. And the newest, ‘Urban harmony’, is designated for stylish, sociable and colourful personalities.

With ‘Urban harmony’ designed for stylish urban people who live their lives in a constant rush, ACME intends to introduce the harmony of nature with its symbiosis of smells, colours and sounds into the daily urban bustle.

Computer accessories in this product line are characterized by light and subdued colour combinations, classic and simple shapes, well-fitting and sensibly-used materials, and a light yet ergonomic make--foregoing any unnecessary technological functions or chaotic design details.

“During IFA we are planning to show these products are inspired by nature and help one to stay in balance and true to one’s self in a vibrant city,” notes the General Manager.

MoonAnother four ‘Urban harmony’ accessories (MOON headphones, JUNGLE earphones, WAVE speaker and PEAK Messenger bag & backpack) will also participate in some international competitions. Paršeliūnas tells us, “We highly expect that they will be as successful as ‘PEANUT.’ One product -- ‘JUNGLE earphones’—has already started its awards journey by winning a national award in Lithuania.”

ACME believes their success as a growing manufacturer of accessories is due to their belief that the majority of people prefer to use simple and functional devices. “Sometime it seems we live in a world of gadgets that look like spaceships or weapons from a sci-fi movie – they lack a simple understanding of human needs. ACME designers follow the ‘less is more’ principle to the maximum.”

“Our products are created for a reasonable price, because we believe, that our clients deserve a pleasant, active and comfortable living right, here right now,” points out Paršeliūnas.

The ACME brand now encompasses three major product categories: Electronics, Small Home Appliances and Lighting with more than 26 product groups.

PEAK by Acme

“In IFA we will mostly look for new partner in CE, IT, APR and mobile channels. However, we will also seek to meet our current partners as well and to show our latest changes in brand and product range,” explains Paršeliūnas.

“We have four major sales points for new and existing partners to consider. First, our ACME product ranges are differentiated for consumer segments. One product category can be perfectly included into mass retail channel, while another into specialized stores and the third one into Apple stores, etc.

“Second, our ACME products are packet into eye-catching packaging, convenient for both distributors as well as for retailers. Our marketing support is also very strong. We guarantee a constant supply of attractive advertising material as well as PiaR support.

“Third, it’s also attractive that the design of our latest Urban harmony product line is being created by our own designers. I mean, we take care of everything from A to Z: from design, high quality, functionality, it’s production, selling and promotion. We had been working with several international design companies, but from 2011 we have had our own design team responsible for ACME products, especially ‘Urban harmony’ design.  That means our partners get a truly unique range.

“Finally, we are not a beginner in the market. Our team knows how to make our partners’ life easier and more pleasant. Fast reaction and flexible attitudes are two of our daily values. What else would you need?”

Go ACME

Go ACME at IFA with Urban Harmony