Managing expectations of demanding clients and making last minute changes to an event set-up is part of a day’s job for Blackvine, a creative events management agency in Singapore. While many such agencies rely on a subcontractor to print the set-up and fixtures for a potential launch event, Blackvine has taken the decision to manage the entire set-up and construction themselves, including the printing process.
“We had previously subcontracted out our print jobs. With the volume of jobs we have, we decided to invest in a printer for our printing needs after comparing the quality of printouts from different brands,” said Ken Chiang, Managing Partner at Blackvine.
This led them to purchase the Epson SureColor S50670 signage printer, one of the fastest roll-to-roll solvent printer in the industry that prints at up to 51.8 square metres per hour. “Speed, precision and quality of colour are the key considerations for us. We often face a situation where we have to deliver or reprint within several hours. Our Epson printer has enabled us to respond to changes right up to the day before the event, which helps us deliver on our clients’ requests,” he said.
Starting from a two man team in 2007, Blackvine has grown to 50 persons today. Today, the company delivers a variety of services, including event management, creative conceptualising, visual merchandising, logistics and warehouse management and large-format printing. Their clients include those from retail, fashion, lifestyle, banking and technology sectors.
The volume of print jobs they receive mean that reliability and productivity of the machines are critical to their business. “Our printers never sleep. We print a lot of posters for IT shows in Singapore, up to 500 or 600 A0 sized posters, which takes 3 to 4 days including calibration of artwork and mounting of the poster. For our jobs, we leave the printer running overnight as demand is huge. The ink capacity is large enough for us to print overnight without the need to refill,” said Mr Chiang.
Materials and fixtures that Blackvine prints for their events include an array of signage and display materials for visual branding for their clients such as retail shopfronts, event backdrops, banners, posters, wall and floor stickers, display pedestals and more.
Reaping the benefits of cost savings
Printing the materials for their events and owning the entire printing process has led to cost savings of about 20% to 30%, after deducting manpower and materials.
And it is with the success of their in-house printing foray that led to Blackvine’s expansion into the large format printing business. With Epson’s support, printing for them has become more than just a support for their business; it has become a key contributor of revenue for their business as well.
“Once we experienced the robust support of the sales team, and compared Epson’s colour and printing quality to other brands in the market, we were convinced that Epson could take Blackvine to the next level of business. Our in-house printing arm has contributed to our revenue growth by an estimated 15% to 20%,” said Mr Chiang.
A key differentiator to their business is the precision and quality of their prints. “We have customers frequently asking us what printers we use. Some of our clients require colour proofing, and we have received numerous compliments on the colour reproducibility and the vibrancy of colours. Moreover, a printer that can print white colour is rare. Every single event set up is printed by Epson. We now have a lot of new business,” he said.
Experiencing Epson technology and support
The SureColor S50670 prints with the wide gamut five-colour Epson Ultrachrome GS2 ink technology for vibrant high quality printing and extremely fast drying of colours. It comes with the high density white ink with patented sedimentation reduction technology to eliminate cartridge dry-out. The printer prints with the PrecisionCore Thin Film Piezo printhead technology that comes with 1440 nozzles per colour, allowing for unmatched accuracy in photographic print quality.
Servicing is straightforward and simple with Epson’s support. “When the printer needs servicing or is out of alignment, we call the Epson servicing team and they will be down by the next day. We have two printers and when one is down, we can still continue the work.”
Despite the intense competition in the industry, the company has plans to expand the business further, to Thailand and Myanmar. They also plan to buy another Epson printer. “I am planning to get a new SureColor S-series printer to enhance our business operations, which will be exciting,” shared Mr Chiang. “Thanks to Epson, the number of our clients has been increasing,” he added.