Kitchen towel or table napkin? Kitkins: simply twice as good!

Sitting down to speak about tissue products innovation with Martin Krengel - CEO Management Sales & Marketing and shareholder of Wepa - is an interesting and learning experience.

The converting field, like other industries, has been hit by the “cost reduction mania,” a widespread condition that results from the current negative economic situation affecting much of the world. Companies’ mantra has become “reduce, reduce, reduce!” to try and lift the fates of profit margins that were flourishing in past years and that are now just a vague memory.

According to Martin Krengel, the difference, however, still lies in ideas, in the capability of a company to be innovative and to believe in new products and this is not only a field for new brands. Nowadays it´s a very important field for private labels, too. “Managing the cost situation for private labels and, on the other hand, managing innovations for private labels is the most important point for the future.”


Maura Leonardi

Wepa, present on the market since 1948, is still today a family-run company and a giant in the converting industry. It can boast seven production facilities, strategically distributed in all of Europe. But it also prides itself in its focus on maintaining the tissue products market lively and on thinking about the future in a concrete way, concentrating its attention on the need to offer customers innovative solutions capable of revolutionizing, or at least spurring, the market. “Ideas are at the basis of our strategy. The company is focused on the supply of private label products and its mission is to offer its acquired and potential customers new business opportunities. That is why we have created Kitkins”, explains Martin Krengel. “For WEPA it is important to be a locally situated company with its headquarters in Sauerland and with an international strategy.”



A company with a truly international vision. Officially launched in 2008 on the German market, the new roll has revolutionized the field, finding enormous success with consumers and attracting the curiosity of retailing. The roll, with its lively and captivating color looks like a normal kitchen towel from the outside. But the inside ply is decorated with an elegant embossing pattern to perform the task of a table napkin. Perfect for the kitchen and the table, it is sold in 3-roll packs and has two twins as testimonials.

“The choice of twins as testimonials of the advertisement campaign stems from the intention and the need to clearly and concretely visualize the product’s two-fold function. Also, our aim was to create a kitchen towel for consumers that was anything but anonymous, to create an emotional product, capable of transmitting a different message with respect to the traditional kitchen towel,” explains Jürgen Quasten, Marketing Manager.


THE YOUNG, FRESH AND DYNAMIC AD CAMPAIGN, RATHER UNUSUAL FOR TISSUE PRODUCTS, highlights how Wepa believes in novelties and above all in new ideas that can grant added value to the finished product. Kitkins’ target is basically the young generation, but part of the cluster are also all those consumers attentive to detail who want to surprise their guests during special occasions such as birthdays, dinners among friends or garden barbecues, thanks to a roll that makes the difference with respect to the simple and traditional white kitchen towel. The unique and entertaining TV advert plays with the idea of choosing between kitchen towel or napkin, and the answer is simple: Kitkins, Doppelt Gut! (Kitkins, simply twice as good!)

“Today, price certainly constitutes an important factor, but one of Wepa’s aims is to create value in converting by trying to attract the attention of buyers and consumers. Kitkins represents for us an example of how we can demonstrate the advantages of innovation for brand and private label,” states Martin Krengel.

The two-fold aspect of Kitkins is also underscored by its price: 2.29€ for a pack of three 60-sheet-count rolls – a higher positioning with respect to normal kitchen towels but, quality makes the difference.


“THE FUTURE IS CHANGING AND COMPANIES MUST DECIDE HOW THEY WANT TO POSITION THEMSELVES ON THE MARKET. We are suppliers mainly of private label products and believe that these will grow further despite the fact that they have already attained good results. Our objective is to supply the best solution in terms of innovation, service and ideas,” continues Krengel.

Wepa’s business is the supply of private label products, mainly consumer rolls in which 70% of the market share is detained by toilet rolls and 20% by kitchen towels. The latter is a low percentage that also reflects the trend of the German market. From this picture stems the desire to revolutionize supermarket shelves, arousing interest towards the kitchen towel. “In discount retailer stores, we find 4 or 5 different types of toilet rolls and maybe just one type of kitchen towel. Why? And here is the intuition. To make a product that creates a new need in the mind of consumers and, at the same, is able to satisfy an already existing one: the use of the kitchen towel as a napkin,” continues Krengel. Wepa’s approach underscores how the tissue product, even though it is a commodity, can be considered and managed as a normal consumer product capable of growing the market, bringing added value to the final consumer and arousing interest in the entire category. Surely the magic formula for survival today, in an increasingly more aggressive and competitive market, does not exist, but the key word in the converting industry is synergy, the possibility of building long-term relationships with customers, offering not only the merely technical aspect of production, but also proposing vanguard ideas.

“Our philosophy is to consistently offer our business partners solutions by researching new ideas and researching with suppliers, too, new technology capable of developing these ideas. In the short term, under the constant pressure of profit margins, it is difficult to think about innovation because the attention is focused on costs. This fact, however, has not kept us from putting a long-term strategy into place by investing in Kitkins. Innovating also means risking,” states Benno Hungburt, Business Manager Wepa Professional.

Kitchen towel or napkin? Why have to choose? Kitkins is the new product that is simply twice as good! Looking forward to what will be the next product innovation from Wepa!

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