Thu, Jan

Walk the Talk

You know the saying “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”. Well Displayways is doing just that with its new printed graphics flooring application.

South London-based Displayways has not only developed an ‘Ideas Room’ full of unusual digital inkjet large-format printed applications for customer perusal and persuasion, but to get to it they must walk through a space decked out with a new, printed speciality permanent flooring product introduced to the market just a few months ago. Talk about impact! What’s more, flooring specialist Senso - Displayways’ partner in the offering - is making the same stunning statement to potential customers by laying the bespoke flooring in its own showroom/office.

“Our approach is to grow new applications to differentiate ourselves,” says Displayways managing director Rob Kelly, who bought the company in September 2012 with existing Displayways man Peter Sheldrick. Since then they have invested around £500,000 in new kit (including a Mimaki JFX500 UV 3 x 2m flatbed printer and Agfa Anapurna 3200 3.2m UV roll-to-roll printer, workflow system and finishing) and expanded into adjacent premises in Earlsfield to increase capacity and enable it to develop new applications. Since buying the company they have seen a 28% increase in year-on-year sales and more to the point, “margins that have risen by hundreds of percent!” according to Kelly.

“We are all about delivering bespoke solutions because that’s where the money is,” Kelly says. “We spend an awful lot of time of R&D to find out what our printers can do with different substrates and inks etc, so that we can show clients something really different. And if you show what you’re talking about, rather than just talk about it, it makes all the difference.”

When you’ve ploughed the time and effort Displayways obviously has into getting a new product like the permanent resin flooring to market, it’s important it pays off. The first commercial flooring jobs are now B - HBTCS 013being installed, some of which will make nice marketing studies that can be used by both Displayways and Senso. But it’s that partnership approach that is also key to the product’s likely success. “We make a point of working collaboratively at Displayways,” says Kelly.

“We work collaboratively with clients – so we’re involved from the very beginning of a project and in talks between agencies, architects, contractors and sub-contractors to work out a total solution for an interior – whether that be in exhibitions, events retail etc… Effectively we become a project management partner, and that can mean redesigning or re-engineering a concept. So we’re always trying out new ideas.

“We also work collaboratively with others that we see can help us provide novel solutions. For instance, with the flooring project we could see there was scope for someone to deliver a photographic quality graphics-based permanent type flooring product so we sought out those we thought could help us deliver. We found Senso, which had a resin-based product but which at that time wasn’t of high enough graphics quality for what we wanted to do. So we started a conversation and found the right printable substrate and now work in tandem to provide the overall bespoke package because we’re not flooring specialists and they’re not print specialists.”

Importantly, both partners ‘sell’ the concept, widening the net in terms of potential customers - hence the dual strategy of having the flooring in-situ at each company. “We each bring in potential clients to our own spaces because when they actually see what can be achieved it has real impact,” says Kelly. By the time you read this, architects, contractors, interior designers and fit-out companies will all have been invited to open days at Displayways to see the possibilities for themselves.

Kelly adds that Displayways is now also considering attending vertical market shows, “such as 100% Design, or a dedicated museum show, things like that”, as well as “drilling down to specific people in specific sectors where we think we can bring something different to the table”.

And watch this space for something different again landing on that table sometime soon. At the time of writing negotiations were ongoing in regards to yet another new print application under development and with far-reaching potential. Once the project gets the green light, no doubt potential customers will get the same ‘wow’ experience produced for the resin flooring introduction.

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