A fine focus
Focussing on what it does best has been crucial to Print Monkey’s success and Lucy Ratcliffe and her small team, who operate out of impressive modern premises in the Shropshire market town of Whitchurch.
The company now provides wide format print services to customers in the North West and Midlands, making full use of an enviable line up of printing, cutting and finishing hardware that includes a Mimaki JV5 wide format printer, a Mimaki CJV30-160 printer/cutter, a standalone Mimaki CG-160FX plotter and a laminator, the latter of which will shortly be superseded by a new RollsRoller flatbed applicator.
Commenting on the growth of the company, Lucy, a former leisure centre manager, explained: “We’ve come a long way over the last few years and whilst my original plan was to supply sports teams with bespoke kits, we soon realised that we could make higher profits by offering a broader range of products and that’s what propelled us into the wide format market.”
Investing first in the Mimaki printer/cutter and thereafter the high end production JV5 printer, Print Monkey’s product portfolio swiftly evolved and it now supplies high volumes of banners, exhibition displays and posters, as well as prints on rigid substrates, with Lucy revealing that a retail order for 300 boards has already paid off a chunk of the company’s planned investment in the RollsRoller.
When Lucy recently spotted another niche, Print Monkey developed a sub-brand in order to exclusively assist design agencies, without the requisite in-house printing capabilities, to supply wide format printed products and it has thus become a key partner for a number of high profile organisations that produce work for well known brands.
In both this new venture and its core business, it has been assisted by an investment in Clarity’s workflow software, which has helped it to keep full control of the increasing volumes of business, plus its geographical proximity to Signmaster Systems, the authorised Mimaki reseller from whom Sign Monkey purchased its wide format hardware and which continues to provide on-going support.
Future expansion will include the recruitment of an apprentice and lots more local networking, which Lucy claims has so far proved more effective than any other form of promotion, but she concludes: “Some new key accounts have brought in regular volume business, but since our focus on popular product lines has proved to be highly beneficial so far, we’ll just carry on doing what we do best!”