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Tusacciu, the father of Supermag
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - It is considered an extraordinary business phenomenon, perhaps unique in the international panorama of recent decades; it is studied by economic research centres and is increasingly under the media spotlight. Today, Supermag is an undisputed international success, with 5 million boxes sold in 2003 and 7 million predicted for 2004, in over 40 different countries worldwide. The dream of Edoardo Tusacciu, chairman of Plastwood, the company that produces the most famous magnetic construction toy in the world, not only came true, but far exceeded his expectations. "The first time I saw that bar and ball," says Tusacciu "which with a great deal of hard work we then turned into Supermag, I could tell that it had enormous potential. But not even I could ever have imagined how successful it would be".
In the past you always ran the family's cork factory, in Calangianus, in the heart of Sardinia. How did you get the idea of moving into the toy industry?
"It all began in 1998. By pure chance I saw a magnetised metal bar and a steel ball. I started playing, and the idea came to me. I was instantly hooked, because the only rule that could be applied to this kind of toy was creativity. I realised that I could launch a universal pastime, which would appeal to both children and adults. Basically, something that was easy to understand and to use and which, in videogame age, offered a new stimulus for the inventiveness in each one of us, which could help us rediscover our taste for imagination and manual skill".
But it's no short step from an idea, however brilliant, to building in only five years a business which in 2004 had a turnover of around €50 million and exports 70% of its products. How did you do it?
"I have always been an entrepreneur; I'm 46 and I started working in the family business when I was still a boy. And I have always believed that everyone has the possibility to realise their dreams and aspirations. But, above all, I chose not to listen to those who didn't believe in my idea. In 1999 I decided to start producing Supermag: I set aside a small space in the family cork factory and installed the first machine, which managed to produce 6,000 magnetic bars per day. Six people dealt with production and I travelled around Italy and the world to sell Supermag. I was obstinate, and I was proved right. And now we can produce 2 million bars per day".
There are great risks involved in growing so quickly, from nothing to 200 employees in the space of only five years. How did you face these risks?
"All I can say is that was I never interested in turnover alone, but always respected a certain business philosophy. I decided not to use external distributors and to do everything in-house, at our factory in Calangianus, from producing the bars to magnetising them, from packing the finished product to publishing the Supermag magazine. And then, I have to admit, I was also very lucky, because I found myself with a group of assistants who work with extraordinary enthusiasm and skill".
You have opened branches in many countries, and have also launched the Supermag magazine in Italian news stands. What are your goals for the future?
"The market potential of Supermag, above all with the introduction of a few innovations, such as the new fastening system which will make it possible to produce stronger constructions, is enormous. There is, for example, the American market, where so far we have only scratched the surface. When we enter the large-scale distribution system of the US, we will have extraordinary room for growth. But as I said before, I'm not just interested in turnover. I am also interested in Supermag's potential to spread a new and different way of stimulating people's creativity, in an age where Playstations and computer games seem to predominate".
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