Setting up a new business in the print industry is by no means an easy task, especially when you do not have all the equipment required to produce the type of work you want to offer to customers. LFR speaks with David Purcell, Managing Director of Purcell Branding, about how the company’s decision to work with printing partners, rather than invest in all its own machinery, has helped pave a path to swift success during its first year in business.
One can only admire and applaud those industry professionals who choose to set up their own business in what is already a crowded market with hundreds, if not thousands, of companies vying for work. This applause should be even louder for those that walk away from senior roles with established companies and go it alone with their own venture.
This is exactly what David Purcell did last year when he left his position as Director for DIS Group, a print and signage company in Wolverhampton where he had worked for more than 20 years, to start fresh with Purcell Branding, a new company that offers graphics, signage, interiors and events work.
Armed with years of industry knowledge, which also included time as a graphic designer before his time with DIS, Purcell opened the doors to Purcell Branding in the middle of 2022. With a team of eight staff, the business, which is also based in Wolverhampton, has enjoyed something of a whirlwind first year, having secured a number of major contracts with several high-profile clients and produced all manner of innovative applications.
Among the highlights in year one for Purcell Branding was being named the official print partner of Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Premier League football team based just down the road from the Purcell Branding facility. The company has assisted with the production of new graphics for the changing rooms at the team’s Molineux home stadium, as well as attractive signage at the training facilities just over a mile away from the ground.
Add in projects with other leading brands such as creating signage for Virgin Active, as well as producing large-format pieces for major boxing events featuring Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, and you have to take your hat off to David for such a successful first year.
Aside from print, Purcell Branding also delivers signage solutions to clients.
No printer, no problem
However, if you consider that all of this, and much more, was achieved with just a basic in-house set-up, with no superwide or flatbed printers to deliver some of its more popular services, then the feat becomes even more impressive.
Rather than go down the route of spending large amounts early on to bring the required technology in house, David has chosen to utilise his tight-knit network of contacts, accumulated during his near-30 years in the industry, to help get the company moving in its early years.
“Throughout my 28 years in the business, I have established a very large UK and European network of some of the finest large-format printers around,” David said. “Through a shared passion and great work relationships, we deliver quality print anywhere and anytime.
“At present, all we have in place at our facility is a Summa 2 T160 T-Series cutter for vinyl work, a Roland Soljet EJ-640 and a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4100. All other work, including superwide applications and flatbed work, we will continue to source from the best.”
Focus on the customer
Naturally, the next question has to be how do you go about winning so much work from high profile clients without having the machinery in place to deliver what they require? David answers this in a simple, yet effective, manner – first-class customer service and a commitment to high quality in each job the company takes on.
“My ethos from the get-go was always providing quality customer service to go with quality products and advice,” David said. “In times of belt tightening and cost cutting, clients still want quality, and we always strive to achieve that in everything we do.
“For me, my unique selling point is that we take the customer on a visionary journey with exciting concepts. We then handhold the customer to ensure that we deliver the spec, the budget and, of course, the promised vision.
“This approach is something that has always been my focus. In launching Purcell Branding, this came about as a natural progression for me, with a long-standing ambition to run my own company. The first 12 months have been incredibly exciting and exhilarating for us; we have really hit the ground running and have picked up some amazing new clients on the way.”
Sense of pride
Looking at these clients, the importance of striking up a partnership with a global sports brand in the opening months of operation cannot be understated [especially a football club that this author has followed for more than 30 years]. David worked with Wolves for a number of years while with DIS, but for the club to make the switch to Purcell Branding while the business was in its infancy shows the confidence it has in David and his team.
Purcell Branding became the official print partner of Wolverhampton Wanderers after just a few months in business.
As for other work, as David highlighted, Purcell Branding has enjoyed working with a number of other large-name clients during the company’s first year.
Picking out some of the main highlights, David pointed to a project carried out with a Birmingham PR business. This involved re-creating the ninth hole at The Belfry golf course, not far from Birmingham, in the busy city centre – all with the aim of promoting golf’s British Masters. To make this even more interesting, this was located on the roof of the city’s Utilita Arena, and the hole was in the centre of Birmingham’s famous canal basin.
One of the more unusual projects from Purcell Branding saw it recreate The Belfry’s ninth hole in central Birmingham.
However, for David, his personal highlight was working with a smaller, local client that was close to his heart. Purcell Branding won the contract to design and build a new community shop and cafe in the heart of Wolverhampton. Incidentally, the building is one where David’s father had to sleep rough when he first travelled over from Ireland in the late 1950s.
“To then see this come full circle was an immensely proud moment for me,” David said.
Ongoing commitment to quality
With Purcell Branding having not long ago celebrated its one-year anniversary, David is now looking to the future and mapping out how the company can continue to experience similar success in year two and beyond. Very much one not to rest on his laurels, David has a clear vision for how Purcell Branding can go from strength to strength and win other major clients in the process.
“We are hoping to add more professional sports teams to our growing portfolio in our sporting division,” David explained. “We will also double our workforce in London as we carry on growing in the capital.
“My long-term aim is to continue growing while still providing the quality service and products to our current and new customers.”
Investment in equipment is often cited as a major stumbling block for new businesses looking to get ahead in the print industry. However, if we follow the example set by David and Purcell Branding, then this need not be the case; forming partnerships with trusted providers and putting together a business plan that suits all parties can help you deliver the high-quality service you desire, all without having to break the bank and still retaining a significant share of the profits.