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>> If the digital revolution is going to consign anything to the dustbin of history, you might think that the humble pencil would be a leading candidate. Well, think again. One German company is still thriving after 256 years as people put down their smartphones and pick up a pencil, crayon, or pen.
I'm Doug Busvine, reporting for Reuters, and I recently went to visit Faber-Castell in Stein, near Nuremberg. The company has been in the same family for nine generations and over that time, it's undergone threats to its existence. Such as in the 1970s, when the invention of the electronic calculator destroyed its slide rule business overnight.
Last year, Faber-Castell appointed its first Chief Executive from outside the family, Daniel Rodger. And though you might think the digital era would pose another threat to the business, for him, it's much an opportunity. Take social media.>> It enabled us to get very close to our costumers or our consumers interact, get direct feedback on our products, on trends.
is is the original Faber-Castell site where they're still making 150 million colored pencils a year and there's a far larger factory in Brazil that produces more than 2 billion. Laid end to end, its annual pencil production would go around the world ten times. And here's one craze that's fed that demand, coloring in books popularized by the likes of Scottish Artist Johanna Basford, which lifted Farber-Castell to record sales last year.
>> You see that people, with all the digital devices around go back to a more manual way of expressing themselves. So it's like a comfort trend digitization in terms of product usage and of course that's something we'd love to see.>> The coloring infarct has now end, but new trends are catching on such as bullet journals, essentially a combination of writing a to do list and doodling.
Supporting such creative past times could be the way for Faber-Castell to keep the business in the family for generations to come.