There was a time when it wasn’t so rosy for Carrick Signs when they were on the brink of disaster, but two years on business couldn’t be better.
Carrick Signs Ltd, a thriving large format printing business based in the Manchester area, was a very different picture at the end of 2015. What had been a dream of the MD, Mandy Roscoe, to own and run her own print business looked like ending in a disaster. A month’s worth of rain fell in just 24hrs overnight leading into Boxing Day, 2015, causing many rivers to burst their banks which resulted in some of the worst flooding ever seen in the Greater Manchester area.
Having taken over the business only 3 months prior, Mandy awoke to the news that her business premises had been flooded, but what she found when she arrived on-site was far worse than she could have imagined. The water had swamped the entire premises “everything was ruined, all the machinery and all the stock”. Mandy continues “nothing could be salvaged, and I wasn’t sure I still had a business to run”.
But with the family sprit that she has installed in the company Mandy didn’t give up, everyone from the company and their families turned up the next day to see what could be done. HP and Perfect Colours, one of HP’s leading reseller partners for large format, were quick to take action, securing new large format printers for Carrick to get them up and running within three weeks, “I simply couldn’t have done it without HP and Perfect Colours” Mandy says.
Mandy’s background was in screen printing, so she has extensive knowledge and a passion for the print industry, but she wanted to move to printing direct to substrate so was looking to purchase equipment that could help with that transition. Carrick had made their first HP hardware investment with a purchase of the HP Scitex FB550, hybrid large format printer, following a previous printing solution that had not been satisfactory with quality or in operation. They did not find these issues with the HP range and within twelve months of purchasing their first HP Scitex FB550 they had purchased a 2nd unit and they are now the busiest two machines in their business.
The HP FB550 runs with HP UV-curable inks, requiring no special ventilation and instant dry straight from the printer. Producing high quality printing on a wide range of media’s up to 2.5” thick, this highly productive printer with 3-litre ink capacity for long un-interrupted runs, simply allows you to do more. “The HP flatbed printers are pretty quick and can print on all different sorts of stock,” Kirsty Davies, Assistant Office Manager, “and the fact that we can print on all these different media’s means that we don’t have to turn jobs away.” The two HP FB550 printers are the two busiest printers at Carrick with the growth in foamex and corex applications which is their mainstay, but they have also printed on many more substrates even doors!
They continued their investment with HP, by looking into the HP Latex solutions and swapping to this technology from Solvent to achieve better quality printing for their clients. Using water-based HP Latex inks all prints emerge dry, and odorless free, making for a clean and productive working environment and allowing you to directly apply from the printer with no curing time needed – a world of difference from previous workflows needing at less 24hrs to dry before you could use. Now those last-minute requests can be turned around in a day.
The HP Latex inks are also scratch resistant and durable for outdoor use with high image quality so are suitable for a wide range of applications from billboards to bus shelters. Plus, you can reach sensitive indoor environments that solvent can’t with water-based HP Latex Inks that are in accordance with best-in-class indoor air quality certifications.
Carrick Signs have invested in four of the HP latex printers ranging from the 64” or 1.63m up to 126” or 3.2m wide production printers with the HP Latex 1500 printer. Mandy concludes, “I do believe the investments I’ve made in the HP hardware technology over the last couple of years has allowed me to offer better quality products to my customers, expand into new applications and get a much faster turnaround on print jobs.”
But the vision has just been about investing in the right equipment, creating the right customer experience online has been a major part of the success of Carrick Signs. Milosz Nasadowski, Office Manager and Alex Davies, Web Designer at Carrick Signs have developed a number of microsites for customers to navigate through the different applications and what can be printed. Amongst these new microsites are ones for corrugated plastic and foam boards and their newest site for ‘Selfie’ boards (www.selfie-frame.co.uk) capturing the expanding opportunity of the social media world.
“We look to guide customers through the different choices they can make”, Milosz explains, “when choosing their print product, and we are finding what they initial thought they might have wanted, once they look through all the options they change their minds and buy something completely different and more than they had planned!”.
Alex continues “the reason behind the microsites was a simple one, to make it easier for our customers to find what they want but also to inspire them with new ideas that they might not have thought of.”
And how is the future looking for Carrick? Well business has never been busier with the business growing year over year, so busy in fact Mandy is often found helping out on the production line when they up against timelines!
Mandy explains, “this year, we are looking to target the interior design sector with an incredible range of personalised wallpapers. We will continue to change our business to suit a dynamic market. By developing and strengthening relationships with our clients and suppliers, we will endeavor to provide high-quality, technologically advanced solutions for our customers’ everchanging needs. And to meet this new demand we are also hoping to increase our workforce and have plans to explore apprenticeship schemes over the next 12 months.”
“I can’t believe how things have changed since that day in 2015” Mandy concludes, “it seems like a distant memory now with how things have turned around, with the partnership with Perfect Colours and HP we are just going from strength to strength.”