Mr. Cricket knocks the competition for six
Sporting equipment supplier, Mr. Cricket has brought lucrative personalisation services in-house following an investment in Roland DG printer/cutter technology, saving more than £10,000 every year.
The company purchased a TrueVIS SG-300 printer/cutter in late 2016, which has helped it to streamline its business processes, boost profit margins, and exert greater control over the quality and delivery of personalised apparel and equipment.
Merrick Fuller opened the Mr. Cricket store specialising in cricket equipment six years ago in Burwell, near Cambridge, in order to serve local cricket-mad customers as well as supplying personalised sportswear and uniform to a local independent school. By 2016, business was booming, with a huge increase in demand for personalised uniform, sportswear, match apparel and cricket kit from more than 100 sports clubs and six local schools.
Managed by Merrick, a keen cricketer and Sky Sports Cricket Coach of the Year 2009 and supported by Paul Redfarn ex-England U19 Captain, alongside five members of staff, Mr. Cricket is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of cricketing equipment. The team provides expert help and advice for all cricketers, regardless of age, experience or ability, either face-to-face, over the phone or via its online shop.
As business grew, the cost of outsourcing personalised printing services soared to approximately £20,000 per annum. Merrick Fuller explains: “Whilst we supplied the kit ourselves, we had to outsource the personalised print services and as the business boomed, we found it increasingly expensive. We also had less control over the quality of the finished products and turnaround times, so we decided to bring printing in-house.”
A self-confessed ‘total novice’ when it comes to printers, Merrick met with Grafityp, an approved Roland DG UK dealer, which recommended the TrueVIS SG-300 printer/cutter that offers a wide range of production capabilities at an attractive price point.
Since its installation Merrick estimates that the printer has already saved the company ‘thousands of pounds’ while facilitating new print services, including the production of banners, sponsor boards, branded items and more, to Mr. Cricket’s portfolio.
Merrick explained: “We mainly use our Roland machine for printing names, numbers, club badges and logos to personalise sports and schoolwear and we’ve seen a big uptake in that part of the business. However, we’ve also recently created a cricket scoreboard-style wedding table plan, and printed sponsor-branded wrap-arounds for cricket stumps!
“We’ve more opportunity for growth now we are able to offer more services and, in addition, everything is now under our control and we can confidently meet customers’ needs quickly, while also guaranteeing the quality of the end-product.”
Happily, despite his ‘novice’ status, Merrick reports that there were surprisingly few problems when it came to learning how to use the machine. He said: “For us, the main challenge was learning how to use the design software, but the technical support from the Roland DG team has been very important to us. When we’ve made a silly error, they’ve helped us to sort it out – they’re very accommodating and helpful and you never feel that you are asking daft questions.
“I also went on a Roland DG training course last month, the Intermediate Digital Print Course, which was really useful, as it’s our first experience using this type of printer. We’ll definitely be attending further courses as our confidence grows.”
It’s not just Merrick’s confidence that is growing though. Following on from the success of the Mr. Cricket business, he has launched the Mr. Hockey website, with a Mr. Custom Clothing site in the offing.
He concluded: “These new sites have been established due to the natural growth of our customer base and their expanding requirements, plus the additional services that the Roland DG TrueVIS SG-300 printer/cutter has enabled us to offer, so it’s fair to say that the TrueVIS SG-30 has been a key part of this success.”
For further information on Mr. Cricket, visit: www.mrcricketshop.co.uk