20 June 2023

Maizey Plastics and Grafityp: “the true spirit of partnership”

20.06.2023. South African distributor Maizey Plastics has stuck with Grafityp for more than three decades. Chairman Rikki Maizey, Herman Bosman Jr. and CEO Patrick Nijs look back on the years of cooperation and look ahead to the future.

Maizey Plastics & Grafityp

From one-man company to distribution group

Maizey Plastics is the largest, independently owned supplier of semi-finished thermoplastic materials in Southern Africa. The company is blowing out 73 candles this year. The South African family business has a rich history behind it. Rikki’s grandfather, Dick Maizey came to South Africa in 1947 and founded Maizey Plastics. Then still a one-man business from his garage. Soon Richard Maizey, Rikki’s father, joined the company as an apprentice. Not much later, Rikki’s uncle John also joined the family business, taking Maizey Plastics to the next level.

Rikki: “John played a vital role in the evolution of the company. Under his leadership, Maizey Plastics’ core business evolved from manufacturing to distribution and sales. It’s great to see how our company has grown over the years. All thanks to my grandfather’s entrepreneurship and foresight 73 years ago.”

One man company

“It’s great to see how our company has grown over the years. All thanks to my grandfather’s entrepreneurship 73 years ago.”– Rikki Maizey, Chairman Maizey Plastics

From farmer to CEO

Rikki (61) has worked in the family business since 1983. Despite the family name, his career at Maizey was not predestined. “I first wanted to be a farmer and studied Agriculture. After my studies, I actually joined the company by chance, where I started as an intern. On my first day, John gave me a broom to sweep out the warehouse (laughs). Gradually my duties evolved into sales and later I got a management position. I simply never left.”

Moving to Cape Town

Maizey Plastics grew into a distribution group with 24 branches. Each with its own stock, warehouse and sales department. Rikki single-handedly stomped the branch in the capital Cape Town out of the ground. “Shortly after my wedding, my wife and I packed up and moved to Cape Town. In that brand new environment, we opened a Maizey Plastics shop. Today, many years later, Cape Town is one of the branches with the biggest revenue stream, I am very proud of that.”

Maizey Cape Town

“After my wedding, we moved to Cape Town to set up a Maizey Plastics branch. Today, that is the branch with the biggest revenue stream.” – Rikki Maizey, Chairman Maizey Plastics

Spontaneous phone call

Maizey Plastics has now been working with Grafityp for 34 years. The start of that partnership? A spontaneous phone call from John Maizey. Herman remembers it well: “One day I received a phone call out-of-the-blue from South Africa. It was John Maizey. He was looking for a distributor. “I am here, in Brussels. How do I get to your company the fastest?” he asked. He jumped on the train to Hasselt and there I picked him up. The beginning of our long collaboration ánd friendship.” Rikki: ”John was just in the right place at the right time, so to speak. We found what we were looking for at Grafityp. A global manufacturer and supplier who is constantly innovating.”

Strong bond of friendship

The two families have always enjoyed a close relationship. John Maizey and Herman Bosman Jr. were business partners but above all friends. Herman: “It clicked from the first moment between John and myself. John Maizey is a special figure. He is a hard worker who knows how to get down to business and is not afraid to get into discussions. Besides, he likes to have fun. He liked to party. In that we had also found each other.”

John’s death was therefore a heavy blow for Herman and the entire Grafityp team, but the bond of friendship and close cooperation remains.

Herman: “John was ill and knew the end was near. We flew to South Africa in a hurry to say goodbye. Every time I talk about it, it remains difficult. John and the whole family have a special place in my heart.”

Strong friendship

“John Maizey was a special figure. A rock-solid businessman who was not averse to a party. He and the whole Maizey family have a special place in my heart.”– Herman Bosman Jr. Owner Grafityp

Collaboration that sticks

After more than three decades, it is fair to say that the collaboration sticks well. The reason? “We can talk about anything anywhere, we listen well and we look for solutions together,” says Rikki. “For me, our cooperation embodies the true spirit of partnership.”

Collab that sticks

“Working with Grafityp is a good example of the true spirit of partnership. We can talk about anything, we listen to each other AND we look for solutions together.” – Rikki Maizey, Chairman Maizey Plastics

CEO Patrick Nijs especially sees a strong strategic partnership. “As a producer of self-adhesive vinyls, we want to partner with players who have impact. Maizey is one of our top strategic key accounts and they have impact on the market. They think with us, see opportunities and introduce new products to the market such as Omega-Skinz and PVC-free films.”


“Maizey is having an impact on the market. They think with us, see opportunities and introduce new products there like Omega-Skinz and PVC-free films.” – Patrick Nijs, CEO Grafityp

Long-term relationships

Rikki: “We look for long-term partnerships with a supplier. Because of Grafityp’s family culture, you notice that there is a nice match between our companies. We understand each other.”

Patrick: “That family culture is firmly embedded in both companies. Maizey Plastics has the same philosophy as we do. This allows the people within our companies to work together very smoothly. That is the glue that keeps us together.”

Long-term relationships

“The family culture is firmly embedded in both companies. We share the same philosophy and can work together smoothly. That is the glue that keeps us together.”– Patrick Nijs, CEO Grafityp

Family ties

Maizey Plastics and Grafityp continue to evolve, both in terms of products and management. Where there used to be exclusively family at the helm, external parties have taken the reins.

Herman: “Since I retired, Patrick has taken over my management tasks. Rikki did the same after John’s death. My daughters are also in the company but work in sales and hr. The time when a family member had to be at the helm is over.”

Rikki: “Meanwhile, I have passed the torch to Wessel, a rock-solid CEO but not a family member. And he doesn’t have to be. You have to be careful not to become incestuous. New blood, external people bring new, fresh ideas. We need that to keep growing.”

Family ties Maizey

Looking to the future

The self-adhesive sector is changing at lightning speed. Keeping up with trends and anticipating them remains the message. What does that mean for cooperation in the future?

Patrick: “At Grafityp, we only see the cooperation with Maizey Plastics strengthening even more. As a supplier, we keep a close eye on novelties and evolutions. Together with Maizey, we look at which products we can produce and offer, to meet market demand.

Our common goal? To supply the right products for Maizey’s customers. Thanks to the trust we have in each other, we stand strong.”

“Our common goal? To deliver the right products for Maizey’s customers. Thanks to our mutual trust in each other, we stand strong.”– Patrick Nijs, CEO Grafityp