Espero: established in 1939 - 75 years of Dutch workmanship
2014 marks an important anniversary for Espero. In three quarters of a century, Espero has evolved from a small wooden toy company to an internationally leading supplier and manufacturer of mobile wall systems. In the Benelux region, Espero is the market leader in flexible space solutions, while Espero’s mobile walls are being used in a growing number of fascinating projects – small and large – all over the world.
Where does the name “Espero” come from? How did the company evolve and what are the plans for the future? Read all about Espero in this interview with Mark Delany, Espero’s Director.
“Espero is short for Van Es Speelgoed Rotterdam”, explains Mark Delany. The company was originally established as a manufacturer of wooden toys but saw new opportunities in the production of wooden crates and pallets after the Second World War. After long-standing collaborations with Heineken and other companies, Espero realised, in the sixties, that their wooden crates were being replaced by plastic ones.
Once again, they set out a new course with a greater focus on the construction industry, in particular, supplying wooden folding walls and ceilings. “That’s when we created the first versions of the Uno and Duplo – and we still produce those types of walls today.”
This new focus aroused the company’s interest in mobile walls and consequently the range was expanded, supplying panel walls from America. For about 25 years – the last eight with Mark Delany at its head - the company has been producing its own mobile panel walls, which have proved a huge success.
With a glow of pride, Delany reveals that the efforts of the past years are starting to bear fruit.
“We have always invested in new markets and new developments, but more especially, we have always invested in our employees and their workmanship, in more opportunities for our R & D team so that our present products have become even better and new ones have been developed, even though we have been cutting costs.” Last year, Espero’s range was extended yet again, thanks to an exclusive dealership with Skyfold – electric vertical walls – from Canada.
“Of course, we’re going to celebrate this anniversary; we will be reflecting on the past but mainly we are looking forward to the future.” The director does not want to give much away yet, but says that new brochures are being prepared and the website, launched last year, is to be expanded. Espero will be more active in the social media too. Casually, Delany mentions that the company is about to be awarded a prestigious project and then he, very deliberately, drops a hint: “We’re going to introduce a new glass wall, the Visio 100, very soon!”
Like many other companies, Espero has trouble seeing very far into the future. In the current economic situation in the Netherlands, the company is attempting to hold on to its market position.
Moreover, Espero sees plenty of opportunities and options abroad: “For years, seventy per cent of our walls were sold here in the Netherlands and only thirty per cent were sold abroad, but now those proportions have swung round.”
Having conquered Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, Espero has set its sights on the rest of the world. Espero already ranks among the top five players on the European market and wants to be a global top-five player in mobile walls within the next decade.
If Espero stays focused on supplying prime solutions for flexible room division with convenient and practical designs, great service and high-grade products for the right price, Mark Delany is convinced that current and new customers will see the advantages of working with a professional and ethical company with 75 years of history: Espero.