Unlocking Paperlike's Potential in Retail


Paperlike was born of frustration. Their founder Jan always wanted to work paperless and was excited when the iPad Pro and Apple pencil were launched. But the feeling of hard rubber writing on glass was awkward and he wanted a better solution.
A kickstarter campaign in 2017 demonstrated Jan wasn’t the only one with this frustration. After successfully launching the first product, they got to work on the next generation. Jan and his small, dedicated team returned to Kickstarter in 2019 to help bring Paperlike 2 to market. Today thousand of artists, creators and doers use the product on a daily basis.


By early 2020 Paperlike was already a very successful business. The team had the foresight to partner with enthusiastic product evangelists. These YouTubers and social media influencers really helped. Sales on Amazon and on the Paperlike website across Europe were strong. However they wanted to be in retail. They knew if they could secure placement in the right stores, sales would accelerate generating greater brand awareness. What mattered most was that the retail business did not disrupt their existing channels.


Like many startups Paperlike had a dilemma. 

  • How do we launch in retail with limited resources?
  • How long will it take to recruit the right person or team?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Who are the right distribution partners?
  • And in the meantime, could one of our competitors beat us to it?


Unlock EMEA are a team of channel sales experts who have launched dozens of brands over many years. We have the right contacts in distribution and retail to give our brands the best chance of success in the region.
We were very impressed by Paperlike’s achievements when we started talking to them in early 2020But we also knew that if products were available in some key stores selling iPads, sales would grow significantly, simultaneously raising the brands profile.
In a category as competitive as this you’ve got to be first to the shelf, so speed was important. We were able to secure retail placements quickly supplying retailers through our tried and tested network of distributors.
Throughout 2020 we worked closely with the Paperlike management team to help them realise their potential. A comprehensive retail channel across Europe gives them a great foundation on which to build. And now, in the second year of our partnership together we’re excited to see the continued results of all our efforts.


In spite of the global pandemic keeping large numbers of stores closured we were able to deliver some great results.

Paperlike is now available in:

  • 25+ countries

  • 75+ retailers

  • 1000+ stores

"Paperlike and Unlock EMEA began working together in 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic; and since then, our expectations for what was achievable have been exceeded. Together we have setup a stable distribution network, servicing retail partners across Europe; giving us a considerable amount of incremental revenue. The connections, expertise and experience Unlock EMEA have at their disposal proved invaluable as together we've navigated through some tough challenges within the industry. We would recommend them highly to everyone, except our competitors!"
Jan Sapper
Find out how we can help unlock your brand's potential in retail.
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