Specialty printing—with great service, complete in-house capabilities, and exceptional turnaround times—spells phenomenal growth for Mississauga trade printer.
Their motto has always been “we help you grow, and as a result, we will grow with you.”
Well, quite frankly, that’s an understatement, given that family-run Mississauga-based Print 44 has grown tenfold—in income, staff, capacity, and facility size—in only three years.
The company was initially founded with only 3 employees—brothers Alex and Mazyar Ekbatani, and a pressman with 17 years of experience.
Initially, Alex was responsible for graphics, prepress, and customer service, while Mazyar was in charge of sales, marketing, providing quotations, project management, and overall operations.
Two more Ekbatani brothers—Arash, now in charge of production and estimating, and Ashton, currently overseeing financial and public relations—later joined Print 44. All had previous experience in the advertising agency business.
“While working at our former jobs, we all encountered problems in dealing with different prepress and printing companies,” says Mazyar Ekbatani. “After comparing notes, we realized that we had many opportunities to explore by creating a different kind of trade printing company.”
‘Different’ is certainly the key word here, as the company is an industry leader on many fronts, , such as eco-friendly printing, specialty printing and finishing, mailing and fulfillment and fast turnaround times. . As an example of quick turn-around times, Print 44 recently received an order for 20,000 presentation folders that was due for distribution the next evening. All the steps required to complete this order and deliver the final product—from prepress to printing, die-cutting, gluing, and folding—were completed in less than 24 hours. Just another day at the office, I guess!
“On a regular basis we hear from our customers that, by the time our competitors got back to them with a complex quote, Print 44 had already printed and shipped the job” says Mazyar.
Specialty Finishing , Mailing and fulfillment
The company also has comprehensive in-house capabilities. These include prepress and printing, standard and specialty finishing (e.g. die-cutting, embossing, foil-stamping), poly-bagging, mail processing, assembly and distribution and/or mailing to U.S. as well as Canadian cities.
“In many cases, our clients rely on us to handle sensitive, security-oriented or time-sensitive material, since they know that everything stays within the same facility from start to finish,” Mazyar adds. The company performs complete mail processing, fulfillment and logistics on behalf of its customers for a fair volume of the material it prints. For its U.S.-based customers, Print 44 processes and mails the finished products from Buffalo, New York. By taking the extra effort and handling the logistics for this added step, clients can still benefit from the postage discounts they would get from a U.S.-based mailing house.
Their online quoting is also excellent—they have one of the most user-friendly and comprehensive online quoting systems in the industry. It enables customers to get a quote on the most complex projects instantly without contacting Print 44 directly. This has helped the company to secure more projects and close deals faster than most of their competitors.
Unsurprisingly, their solid and dependable service record has spawned a loyal, repeat-business customer base that is growing week by week.
Even their choice of name is a reflection of their creativity. The name Print 44 comes from the fact that most major metropolitan cities in Canada are on or around latitude north 44, and initially, the customers they wanted to serve across Canada were concentrated around this latitude. Today, of course, Print 44 has expanded its geographical reach of service and has many clients in the United States as well as in Canada.
“We now have 36 employees and are operating 24/7 from a 20,000-sq.-ft. facility. As a full-service printing and finishing company, we provide a completely integrated set of products and services. These range from magazines and catalogues, to more customized and unique pieces that require die-cutting, embossing, foil-stamping, special effects, gluing and assembly. In addition to specialty work, we also produce the standard brochures, pocket folders, newsletters, flyers, booklets and annual reports,” says Mazyar.
“Most of our customers are from print-management companies, publishing houses, or graphic design companies. The rest of our customers are either small printers that don’t have our capabilities, or mid-sized printers that send their work over-flow to us, especially when it comes to jobs that need a quick turnaround.”
Fulfilling Market Needs specific requests
Many printing companies just keep adding more equipment and facilities on a regular basis, hoping to bring in larger volumes or print projects. Print 44, on the other hand, has grown by fulfilling specific customer requests in niche markets. Since they always listen closely to their clients, all they really need to do is to add a new division or piece of equipment based on jobs that are already lined up for these new customers.
They believe that the old approach of ‘build it and they will come’ no longer holds true in an ultra-competitive and rapidly changing environment such as the printing industry. Fulfilling all their customers’ needs has fuelled Print 44’s rapid and profitable growth, but has also maintained customer loyalty, which is a rare commodity these days.
“We are continually investing in the latest in printing and finishing technology, not only to diversify and remain competitive, but also to help our customers increase their business in various markets,” says Mazyar.
“We indeed want them to grow as we have grown. That’s not just our motto, it’s our mission. For example, we ask our customers continually what challenges they’re encountering in the marketplace and then we become pro-active, creating solutions-based strategies to help them be more competitive and profitable.”
Environmentally-friendly printing at its best
One example of the company’s foresight is its commitment to the environment. Almost from the company’s inception, they recognized that the trend to eco-friendly products and practices was not only important to their immediate community and the environment as a whole, but crucial to many clients of the printers who use their services, especially government agencies. They kept on the cutting-edge of this trend, receiving FSC Certification just a few days after they applied for it. Today, the company practices what it preaches and has invested heavily in eco-friendlier products and equipment and practices shop-wide, including FSC-certified printing, recycling of plates, paper and other materials.