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Most stories about how a company overcame the awful scenario of their workshop and all its contents burning to the ground would be dominated by 'phoenix rising from the flames' type rhetoric. With Prestige Press, it was more a case of 'how do we carry on business as usual?' With the help of some great partners, including Sihl Direct UK, that is exactly what the company managed to do.

On a chilly Friday night on February 3rd 2012, Stuart Finn received a call that would bring its own chill to any business owner. The premises of his family business, started by his mother and father way back in 1979, was aflame and the fire service was doing its best to save what they could. As it turned out, this was virtually nothing. Yet by Tuesday, the company was taking orders and fulfilling them with its usual prompt efficiency and high focus on customer service and quality.

"The response to what was really a complete disaster for our business was amazing. London-based Perfect Colours lent us a printer and cutter, our neighbour, Inklink, allowed us to move in to some of its spare space and Dean Keenan from Sihl Direct drove round to us with some materials that we needed," says Stuart.  "Most important of all, of course, was that our customers stuck by us, which I believe is testimony to the positive relationships we have with them, based on good service and trust."

Prestige Press is a litho printer, producing high volume, high quality materials for its customers. Over the last decade, the company has invested heavily into digital printing to provide a similar high level of quality and service for shorter run requirements. Wide format inkjet, which provides the next level of image quality for short runs is also key to Prestige’s ongoing business plans.

The company’s business model is based on delivering value for money through great quality and service. Stuart explains, "We are just not interested in getting involved in price wars. If people can find cheaper solutions and are prepared to compromise on the quality, reliability and service that we provide, we are quite happy with that. We have plenty of work that is appreciated by our clients and ensures we have a successful business model based on customer loyalty and retention.”

Prestige does a lot of work for catering companies, an industry where the look and feel of printed products is very important. Stuart explains, "I believe one of our strengths is that we don't take any of our customers' business for granted. We really bend over backwards to deliver exactly what they want to the highest quality and we work all hours to achieve it. We are also ensuring we have the equipment and materials to deliver all the requirements our customers are looking for."

With quality a much bigger issue than price, Stuart always looks for films and media that he knows will be reliable and guarantee customer satisfaction. He has been particularly impressed with the Sihl Direct range of media, particularly the Maranello photo paper and the Sihl range of pop-up films and light box films. "Sihl Direct media really is first class - you can feel the quality as soon as you take it out of the box. The image is crisp and sharp and the media dries quickly after printing. Most important of all is the consistency of the media. Every print provides the same quality and this actually means we can cut costs by getting jobs right first time."

Maranello Photo Paper from Sihl Direct UK is a microporous SuperDry coated media, based on a premium opaque white double-sided PE coated true photo paper with instant drying. It offers many advantages, including quick drying of all common inks, high ink limit for sharper images, wide colour gamut, soft gradients with high resolution and sharp edges. The paper is also especially suitable for laminating.

Sihl Direct's pop-up films include an opaque white, satin, microporous coated PET film with a grey back, which is impervious to light. With a special antistatic back, this film is ideal for premium quality printed images, such as those required for photorealistic posters, displays for the POS sector, high-quality photo reproductions, pop-up displays and for short-term advertising and indoor signs. The rigidity makes the product resistant to mechanical stress and is easily processed without the loss of special properties. The satin coating guarantees unique high-quality colour representation and the exceptionally wide colour gamut of the SuperDry photo paper range, especially in combination with modern pigment inks.

The translucent, SuperDry microporous coated polyester film for front print application is an excellent product for back lit light boxes. This film delivers impressive colour reproduction, a high transmission OD > 3 with pigmented inks and soft colour gradients with high resolution as well as excellent contour definition. The very high level of colour saturation achieved allows a wider colour gamut. Even the natural reproduction of achromatic colours combined with very deep blacks guarantees an exceptionally 3D picture and auniquely luminous quality.

Prestige is currently using an HP wide format printer lent to them by Perfect Colours, but they are looking to invest in a new solvent based inkjet printer for when they move back into their old workshop. "The site is nearly back to rights and we are really looking forward to getting back in there. The investment in new printers is essential to the long term growth of the business and knowing that Sihl Direct has a broad range of media to suit any new printer we invest in is very comforting," he adds.

"We have been really happy with the consistency of the Sihl Direct products and also with the service we have received. They are very knowledgeable in terms of what the best products are for specific printer/application combinations and we have valued their advice and guidance. Coupled with that, their service and delivery has been faultless. We know that if we are really stuck, Sihl Direct will pull out all the stops to ensure we are sorted out. This is how we run our own business and I believe it is essential that this extends to our suppliers," says Stuart.

Stuart Finn concludes, "This has certainly been a very difficult year for us, but I do believe we have learnt a lot about what we do and who we can rely on and trust. Despite the fire, we did everything we could to ensure minimal disruption to our service and many of our customers would have been unaware of our difficulties. It is thanks to the likes of Inklink, Perfect Colours and Sihl Direct that we have kept the business going and are now in an excellent position to move forward with even greater optimism and anticipation of exciting times."

[picture shown represents Sihl Direct's Maranello media used by Prestige Print]