This year, Kayell Australia is celebrating 50 years in business providing a one-stop-shop for the digital imaging, video & audio, fine art inkjet printing and graphic art industries.

From humble beginnings that focused on still photography and professional photo labs, Kayell has grown to be a leading supplier of the latest technologies in new growth markets.

Kayell Australia managing director, Robert Gatto (pictured below) joined the company in 1993 as sales and marketing director and was promoted to his current position in 2009 with the retirement of Johan du Preez.

He said it has always been a privilege to be part of Kayell Australia and to represent a company that has been in business for 50 years.

“It is a rare feat these days, but I feel our culture of service and solutions has helped preserve and maintain our strong position in the marketplace,” Gatto said.

“Our dedicated staff is the heart and soul of our strong and innovative company, adapting to changes in the market and continuing to make it the success it is today. We also have a bank of professional suppliers who strive to develop new technologies that enable us to be at the forefront of our business.

“And of course, it’s our loyal customers that motivate and drive us to meet their every need. We pride ourselves on delivering a standard of service that is second to none and look forward to continuing to meet their needs for many years to come,” he added.

The history of Kayell

Co-founders, John Koens and Hans Leijer, created the name Kayell in 1970 using the first letter of their surnames. They began trading from small premises in Druitt Street, Sydney and within a few years acquired agencies for the photography, darkroom, and laboratory divisions.

They forged exclusive relationships with professional suppliers and agencies, before opening a Victorian showroom in 1973, followed by a Brisbane showroom a few years later.

Kayell became the first professional product distributor for Kodak in Australia – not long before Ilford, Fuji, Polaroid, and Agfa – and were marketed by Kayell through the Big Five Incentive Program.

By the early 1980s, various overseas manufacturers appointed Kayell to distribute amateur products to photographic retailers in Australia. Seizing a business opportunity, an Amateur Products sales division was established which represented 30% of total sales within a few years. The increase in business resulted in larger premises in North Ryde, north-west of Sydney in 1981.

In 1992, Kayell became part of international trading company, Hagemeyer. After four years together, the Professional Products division of Hagemeyer was offered as a buy out to the three Kayell state managers.

A new business was then born – Kayell Marketing – which became the importer and wholesale company with the three Kayell state companies becoming exclusive distributors. Three years later, the Kayell Marketing products were shared between Adeal and Kayell Australia. The Kayell NSW operation then took control of Kayell Victoria and relocated staff to Brisbane in 1999.

In 2001, Kayell collaborated with US experts, Pixel Genius, as they moved into workflow and colour management solutions. Overnight, they became the largest Epson Pro Graphics dealer in the country.

Following success in colour management, inkjet printers and consumables, Kayell was looking to continue its growth strategy and established a Graphic Arts division and Video and Broadcast division.

In 2009, Epson Australia representative, Andreas Johansson, joined Kayell as a director and head of the Graphic Arts division, bringing more than 30 years of industry experience, and remains with the company today. “After seeing Kayell from the ‘outside’ while working at Epson, I knew joining this exceptional imaging solution provider would be a positive move.”