Brief history of RAJA, the European leader in sales and distribution of packaging,
supplies and equipment for businesses
The creation of the company RAJA came from a simple, yet pioneering idea: the sale of reused cardboard, a smart alternative to the sale of new cardboard. In 1954, Rachel Marcovici started the company Cartons RAJA with Janine Rocher - the name “RAJA” is an acronym formed by the first two letters of the first names of the founders.
Through Rachel Marcovici’s entrepreneurial spirit and energy, the commercial offer very quickly found success and the product range expanded: new cardboard boxes, kraft paper, undulated cardboard and adhesive tape were added to the line of reused cardboard boxes. At the end of the 1950s, the company already had ten employees and its revenue reached one million French Francs.
In 1962, Danièle Kapel-Marcovici was just 16 years old when she starting working as a sales representative for the company that her mother founded, Cartons RAJA. In 1965 the company reached a new level when it discovered a padded envelope in Germany.
Cartons RAJA entered into an exclusivity agreement for the territory in France, a deal that boosted the company’s success. Marketed under the name “the padded sleeve”, it was the star of the first direct mail campaigns, which was a new sales and marketing method, and one of the first steps towards RAJA’s mail- order catalogue.
With the emergence of different plastic materials in the 1970s, new opportunities came into view for the company, ones that were put into motion with the launch of new packaging product ranges intended for the protection and transport of a wide variation of products for our customers: adhesive tape, foam, bubble wrap, loose-fill packing particles, etc.
1975 marked the entrance of Cartons RAJA into the age of mail-order sales with the company’s first catalogue that complemented the work that the sales team did out in the field. Two years later, the company purchased a 2,000m2 warehouse in Gonesse, located North of Paris, and in 1978, the company obtained its first accolades in packaging products for it Rajamousse envelope, launched exclusively in France.
At the age of 36, Danièle Kapel-Marcovici became general director of Cartons RAJA in 1982. With unequalled energy and a continually innovative strategic outlook, she structured the company’s organisation by the introducing computers into the business, setting up operational teams, and by making catalogue sales the driving force of the company’s sales.
The distribution centre in Gonesse expanded and the company had the goal of providing delivery to anywhere in France within 48 hours and becoming the national leader in packaging. This strategy paid off, as seen in the increase in revenue
from 64 million Francs in 1983 to 316 million Francs in 1992 and an increase in personnel to a team of 190 employees.
The company emerged as the leader in mail-order packaging, and in 1990, Danièle Kapel- Marcovici decided to rename the company RAJA in order to accentuate the diversification of its offer of products that complemented its range of packaging.
A new shift in the company took place in the 1990s when it took on an international dimension by expanding to: Belgium in 1994, The Netherlands in 1997, Great Britain in 1998, Germany in 1999. Then in the 2000s: Spain in 2003, Austria in 2004, Italy in 2006, Czech Republic in 2007, Switzerland in 2008, Norway and Poland in 2010, Denmark in 2011, Sweden in 2012, Slovakia and Portugal in 2016.
The acquisition of a site that paralleled the company’s European ambitions became vital. It came to pass in 1995 in the Business Park of Paris Nord II, near Roissy. This site then became the distribution centre for France as well as the European headquarters of RAJA Group. The acquisition of different companies also opened up the Group to new markets in France.
Equipier, a specialist in distance selling for hygiene and cleaning products (acquired in 2007), Welcome Office, the leader in discount office supplies and furniture on the internet (acquired in 2008), Cenpac, a major player in the packaging distribution market in France with near 130M in revenue (acquired in 2010).
In 2015, RAJA purchased the UK company MORPLAN, a leader in the British market for distance selling of store equipment and supplies. In the same period, RAJA continued to strengthen its multi-channel strategy based on e-commerce with their website raja.fr, the catalogues and the effectiveness of its sales force. Undeniably RAJA provides the market’s largest and most comprehensive commercial offer relating to packaging equipment and supplies for businesses.
Today, RAJA, an independent French group belonging to Danièle Kapel-Marcovici and her family, is the European leader in packaging products. It operates in 17 countries in Europe, has 21 subsidiary companies and 10 distribution centres, and employs 1,600 employees. In 2016, RAJA had a revenue of 500 million euros, 5,000 customers, and a range of 35,000 products. Active and committed to her work, Danièle Kapel- Marcovici has always openly supported and promoted the values of diversity, fairness, and conviviality.
These values are represented in the concrete commitments, particularly within the company, made through the RAJABest programme that places priority on the quality of life at work to ensure quality work, and offers RAJA employees services, events, and sports and leisure-time activities through the RAJASport association.
One of the company’s prized organisations is without a doubt the RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation for Women, which has the support of the Fondation de France. It was created in 2006 and supports associative projects benefiting women in France and around the world, with one of its programmes being “Women and the Environment”. This year the foundation will celebrate its 10th anniversary, including the 345 co-financed projects in place around the world since 2006.
A lover of the arts, Danièle Kapel-Marcovici is also committed to supporting creative endeavours and artists. In 2010 with her partner Tristan Fourtine she created the Villa Datris Foundation, an endowment for contemporary sculpture in Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue in the Vaucluse region that exhibits and promotes young emerging talents as well as recognised artists to the public through free access to the exhibitions.
Through these values held by RAJA, ones based on service, sharing and diversity, openness and fellowship continue to be spread in the most creative of ways.