Q+A WOMEN IN PRINT - MEET VICKI SWINDEN OF THE PRINT COMPANY AND HER TALENTED TEAM
In the heart of Warrington, Cheshire resides the perfect family business - The Print Company. A specialist Digital print service provider serving both the Events, Promotional and Fashion Industry with a whole host of products and custom printed Digital fabrics. With a suite of Digital tools Vicki Swinden and her talented, homegrown team often provide miracles on request where necessary!!
Servicing small clients and big brands alike with the same friendly service.
AS fellow Women in Print we caught up to talk Digital Textiles….
How did you begin your journey into digital print?
I set up a textile printing company working with national and international brands. We print for exhibitions and events - essentially I saw a gap in the market and moved - quickly!
What inspires you?
Training our staff and seeing them grow - our ethos is to take on unemployed, unqualified staff where ever possible - we usually start them as apprentices - in fact our production manager, Danny, who isn't 30 yet, joined us 8 years ago as a screen printing enthusiast and has made the job his own.
Tell us all about The Print Company
We set the company up in the middle of a financial crisis and with only £2500, so everything was an uphill struggle with so little funding. There were three of us, my wife, myself and Mark who had some digital printing experience - there are now 14 of us so we juggle a lot of wages every month.
How do you think the Industry has changed over the last 2 years?
We experienced a difficult year, turnover wise last year, which has suddenly turned into a great year this year - we spent a lot of time educating potential clients about digital print and in particular about working with polyesters - this has driven a whole new side to the business with That Cat Ltd where we print predominately roll to roll for our fashion, interior design and stage wear clients.
Where do you see your businesses unique opportunity?
Both The Print Company and That Cat Ltd are nimble, we are market disruptive and you'll never hear anyone here suggest that a job cannot be done -we work to tight deadlines, and our systems and customer service offering are without compare.
What has been the biggest challenge in your PSP journey so far?
Finding sources of sustainable funding - women in print are still quite unusual and it's a sector which traditional banks find difficulty in funding (there's the old adage that printer's simply like buying big machines which possibly are not required) Our funding has always come from Peer to Peer lending sites (Funding Circle etc) but there's never quite enough of it to make life easy - but if entrepreneurship and running a business was easy we'd all be doing it wouldn't we!
How important is sustainability in the Print Sector?
Vital - not only for The Print Sector but for our own personal ethos as well.
Have you seen a big swing in requests for sustainable textiles?
Absolutely - in fact at a recent exhibition (Make It British) it was the MAIN question we were asked.
Sustainability is not only about the product, it's about how the business is run and maintained - and that's not all about profit. There are many economists now asking whether financial profit ought to be the only driver and measure of success in business. Personally I would rather be running a business like ours, using sustainable methods across the board and growing a happy team
What’s next for the team at the Print Company?
Along with our sister company, That Cat Ltd we're very interested in continuing to work with polyesters. We currently stock some which are 100% recycled and some which are 50% recycled. I'd like to find more polys which are going to be recyclable and to fully understand their life cycle and how it can be best utilised for human use. We're innovative and disruptive and happy to be so! Long may that continue…..