Martien Jonkers was born in Helmond, the Netherlands, on December 4th, 1924. On his 21st birthday, Martien started as a self-employed entrepreneur. In 1945, his founding of Jonkers’ Handelsonderneming (‘Jonkers Trading Company’) formed the basis for the modern-day Plato Group. He was one of the first parties to introduce (fountain) pens and mechanical pencils with promotional imprints to the Dutch market. These popular writing instruments were sold under the name ‘Clipper’.
Martien’s ambitions went far beyond the Dutch borders and, in 1961, he founded the International Gifts Organisation (IGO). IGO focused on the sale of gifts made to improve business relations for companies, foundations, institutions and governments on an international level.
In the 1960’s, Martien came across the concept of ‘direct marketing’ in the US. His belief in this concept changed IGO’s market strategy, which saw IGO move away from personal sales to the use of catalogues. As such, IGO developed the ‘IGO-POST’ catalogue: the International Gifts Organisation via Post. This turned out to be a stroke of genius…
In 1970, the Jonkers’ Trading Company changed its name to Clipper. Martien’s initial focus of Clipper was to produce office supplies to sell to companies and bookstores. Later on, he expanded the range to include promotional gifts for business relations, which were imported and then distributed by Clipper.
Thanks to the success of the IGO-POST catalogue, IGO’s name was changed to IGO-POST B.V. and became a full-fledged mail order company in 1988.
In the meantime, Martien opened the first foreign sales office in Belgium in 1984, and another one in France in 1990. In recent years, his successors have opened even more sales offices all over Europe – namely in Germany (2003), the UK (2008), Austria (2009), and Denmark (2011). We currently operate from these centres across the broader European market. It includes: Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
After various moves, IGO-POST established its headquarters on the Haverdijk in Helmond in 1992, with Clipper as an extra partnership service. Back then, IGO employed around 100 employees and had its own printing works, a packaging department and a large warehouse, all in Helmond. In 2015, the logistics department was expanded by an impressive 10,000 square metres, allowing production to be expanded and enabling the company to prepare for the future. By that year, the number of employees had risen to 350, printing techniques were developing rapidly, as was the expansion of warehouses.
In 2016, Clipper repositioned itself in the Nordics as Promotiv. By being on the doorstep, so to speak, we have been better able to appeal to our target audience in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
On January 1st, 2017, Plato Group acquired a majority share of Compacon B.V. premiums. This takeover has since resulted in considerable strategic advantages and opportunities for the future for both parties.
On June 22nd, 2007, Martien Jonkers passed away at the age of 82. His successors, Frans-Jozef Maas (CEO) and Ron Boer (CCO), joined the organisation under a single umbrella in 2017, for the first time in 72 years.
Nowadays, the independent companies of IGO-POST, Clipper and Compacon all operate under the Plato Group umbrella.
In Memory Of
Founder Martien Jonkers (*4/12/1924 – †22/06/2007)