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Fantasy Prints capitalises on Lockdown

Fantasy Prints capitalises on Lockdown

During his 27 years at Fantasy Prints, Paul Martin, Marketing and Social Media Manager has never ordered multiple pallets of the same product for the Berwick-upon-Tweed signage, printing, clothing, and gift business. Nor has he had any demand for floor graphics but the COVID-19 Lockdown has changed all of that. 

In the last eight weeks, Fantasy Prints has consistently reordered large volumes of materials from CMYUK’s Safe Spaces range to meet the unprecedented spike in demand for external and internal floor graphics.

With just one individual customer placing an order for an entire large consignment of CMYUK UTACK Multi-Surface Textile for installation across 350 of its UK sites, Fantasy Prints has also produced floor graphics for both large and small companies nationwide, while its trade service for this type of application has seen heavy demand too.

The company traditionally services holiday parks and leisure centres, both sectors that were immediately impacted by COVID-19. With 90 percent of its business disappearing overnight, Fantasy Prints shut its doors for the first four weeks of Lockdown.

However, despite appearances, it was a month well spent. MD, Sarah McMorn recognised that social distancing would be the new required norm and requested that Paul and another colleague design a clutch of social distancing products for the Fantasy Prints’ website. In turn, Paul applied the SEO principles he had learned on a Google Training course the year before and began to promote the items online. Before long, Fantasy Prints was top of Google rankings.

Paul takes up the story. “What I discovered from Google was that no matter how many buttons you put on your website, what really matters is what happens behind the scenes.  That’s what I did for social distancing. I looked at what people might be typing in. I didn’t spend anything on Google advertising. It all been through organic searching,” he observed.

The business was reopened, initially with just one machine operator to service the orders, but before long, he was joined by several others.

For assistance, Paul relied on CMYUK, which he describes as the ‘best supplier’, to keep the materials coming, so Fantasy Prints could meet its large order volumes.

In an unprecedented turn of events, 95 percent of the customers Fantasy Prints is currently servicing are new to the company, attracted in the main by their need for floor graphics.    The company has now printed floor signage and other related safeguarding applications for hundreds of schools, churches, and hairdressers, all of which are preparing for their re-opening this month, as well as large numbers of businesses from Northern Ireland.

“We’ve had every sort of business you could think of, big and small, including single retail units, multinationals and everything in between,” reported Paul.

Once Fantasy Prints has delivered a floor graphic, it’s finding that the same customers are curious to know what else it can provide, leading to even more work.

Paul added: “The industry has changed as to what people are asking for and we’ve adapted to that.”

Traditional customers now are also preparing to continue trading too and thus It is likely that holiday parks will also be opening again soon, meaning that floor, wall, and other safeguarding applications will be required to help visitors to maintain social distancing guidelines.

“We’ve had this idea of producing large stickers that seal a caravan door so that when a new set of holidaymakers arrive, they break the seal to enter, secure in the knowledge that their caravan is clean and safe,” commented Paul, who has no doubt that it was Fantasy Prints’ hardware portfolio that enabled it to step up to fulfil these new opportunities. The company purchased an EFI VUTEk GS2000LX from CMYUK in 2017 that runs alongside two other wide-format digital printers, and also installed an ESKO X24 digital cutting table, again purchased from CMYUK, in early 2018.

The floor graphics are being output through the VUTEk due to its high production speeds and industrial capacity, while the other machines in the company’s arsenal are outputting banners and wall graphics. In addition, the ESKO Kongsberg X24 Edge is cutting all day, every day.

Currently, the company is working with CMYUK to implement an intelligent workflow system that efficiently combines its growing online orders with work coming through more traditional channels.  It is also planning to take advantage of CMYUK’s guidance with regard to the latest update to the Government Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which now directly supports capital asset finance.  CBILS is designed to boost the UK’s digital printing sector by enabling it to invest in capital equipment at highly advantageous terms of between 0 to 10 percent low deposit finance, with no interest or fees payable in the first year.

Fantasy Print’s Lockdown experience has set a blueprint for how it will do business in the future. Focussing on how it optimises its website to effectively present products and services has already generated revenue. Understanding marketing cycles and pre-empting events, displaying products in situ to inspire customers, and presenting templates that can be easily customised to make purchasing as simple as possible are the useful insights that it has gleaned during the COVID-19 crisis.

It plans to further collaborate with CMYUK and will be evaluating new applications from the latter’s extensive textile, fabric, and materials portfolio to assist its go-getting mindset.  This will enable it to better handle the ever-changing conditions and demands of the market.

The final word goes to Paul, who said: “Thanks to CMYUK we have the wherewithal we need to sustain and grow the business – now the rest is up to us and we’ll be capitalising on every opportunity that comes our way!”

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