On the 21st of September this year, Kaizen Print will be celebrating it’s 9th Birthday and our 10th Year of Business! That is some achievement for us, and sometimes we can’t quite believe how quickly we have grown in such a short space of time. But in some other ways, we can believe it. This is what Connor and Martin set out to achieve when they began Kaizen Print nearly 10 years ago and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. In that regard, we thought we would take a look back at the previous 10 years, at the journey we have had, and a look forward at what is to come for Kaizen Print.
In 2009, Connor and Martin McCauley came up with the idea to begin printing posters and flyers from Connor bedroom. No fancy printers at this stage, just a laptop and a bog standard printer, but they made it work. When they started they were printing them for bars and nightclubs, such as Limelight in Belfast. By the end if that year the team at Kaizen had nearly doubled in size, meaning Kaizen Print was well on its way to becoming the brand it is today.
In 2010 as Kaizen Print was continuing to grow and get more and more clients, it was decided that a few things needed to happen: First, moving to bigger and better premises and second buying a bigger and better printer. Luckily both of these things happened very quickly. In 2010 Kaizen Print moved to its new premises above The Limelight in Belfast. 2010 soon became 2011 and with the new year, came another new change for Kaizen Print: the purchase of our first large format printer: Ed-209. That printer did its job well, and really served its purpose throughout its time in operation. At one point, it was responsible for most of the A0, A1 and A2 posters that you saw all over Belfast. Throughout the year we again continued to do what we did best and print whatever our clients were after, all the while continuing to grow our team. Both Connor and Marty could see their vision for Kaizen beginning to take shape.
Coming into 2012 saw two interesting changes for the company, that played their part in different ways. Firstly, this was the year that all deliveries being made by Kaizen Print were made in a Yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Not your typical delivery vehicle, but it certainly worked for us. It made us noticeable and put us in the minds of customers, both old and new alike which is exactly what we wanted. Whenever people saw the car, they automatically new it was the Kaizen Print car.
The second interesting change that presented itself in 2012 wasn’t quite as good, as fly posting became outlawed in Belfast, through the Clean Neighbourhoods Act. There was also the fact that printing posters for phone boxes became illegal in 2013 as well. While they did have a bit of an impact on us, it wasn’t thankfully detrimental. However it was sad, as when we began printing posters way back in Connors bedroom this was what our clients were doing and where the posters where going. It was how we got our start in this business and to see it be taken away brought a bit of an ache to our hearts. But we couldn’t afford to dwell on it too much, as very few businesses don’t change even a little from where they started. And Kaizen Print was definitely changing for the better, getting bigger and bigger and offering more products to our customers.
But 2013 also saw a big change for us, as we began printing posters for Belsonic! This was fantastic for us, as Belsonic is huge in Northern Ireland. One of the biggest music events that we hold, bringing people from far and wide, and we were the one’s printing the posters for it! To say we were happy would definitely have been an understatement. But great things happen, and to this day we are still doing work for Belsonic and couldn’t be happier, as they are one of our best clients.
2014, saw another upheaval. But a good one, as we moved premises again. This time we were moving to the Lisburn Road, (where we still are) into a 3 story house, being larger and just as accessible as previous premises, it was a no brainer for us. The extra space was great, and allowed us to continue doing what we had been over the years: Growing. Our team grea, our print setup grew. Everything grew, and continued to build Kaizen Print.
With this, in 2015 we bought Talulah, which meant we could begin large format printing. Now, we had already been doing large format in the way of posters for a few years, but this printer meant we could begin to print the really big ones such as banners, forecourt overbags, contravision and presentation cheques. It really opened up a lot of different avenues for us, helping us to gain more clients. But it also allowed us to promote ourselves better, as now we could print nearly everything that you could want, at a high quality but also a low price.
In the same year, we decided that we would take part in our first Culture Night. Culture Night is a fantastic event, that takes place around the same time every year and has been since 2008. It’s an event that aims to bring everyone with artistic talent or artistic ideas together, and get everyone in the city out and about and joining in all the fun. We thought it would be a great opportunity to get our name out there, and also join in the fun ourselves, so came up with our ‘What The Pollocks’ idea. This involved paint, water pistols and lots of paper! Needless to say it was very messy, but we had an excellent turnout for it, and it definitely prompted us to continue having events!
2016, a big year for Kaizen Print. And the reason? We decided it was time to rebrand. We had the same logo and brand image since our inception, however over the years there was no denying that Kaizen Print had evolved, and as such we needed to bring the brand in line with what we currently were. The most obvious change was the K that we used, such as on business cards, letterheads and on the car itself. Beforehand it was different from the K on our typeface, looking a little more quirky and fun. Replacing this, we decided that we would instead use the K that we had on our typeface. To us, it represented more of a professional image. While we still wanted customers to know that we were still the same company as before, who could print your A4 nightclub posters on the day of a big event if needed, we also wanted them to know that we were a professional company. A print company that we involved with the biggest clients around, and who wouldn’t let you down, no matter what the job.
During the same year, Connor wrote their Kaizen Prints first book! Called ‘1hundredtips’ it is a sales and marketing ebook. The book was created in response to many customer requests and questions, asking for small tasks they could undertake on a regular basis to supplement and support their larger sales and marketing strategy. Each of the tips by itself would make a difference, however combining them together over the course of the year, the results could be staggering. The book also became a success over the course of the next year, with many clients downloading it and providing feedback to Connor, telling him how much it had helped them in their day to day business. So it’s safe to say that 2016 was a very good year for Kaizen Print!
In 2017 on the other hand, we had a loss within the team. Unfortunately we had to retire our long serving printer, Ed 209. Ed served us well, and it’s retirement hit us all hard, but Connor most of all, with him reluctant to see him go. However, it was time for Ed to move on, and in his place we gained Ed 309. We were in the position then that we needed to upgrade our printing technology, as our business had continued to grow over the years. Our new printer would speed up our printing process, while also allowing us to get a better replication of colour. This meant more orders for our clients, done quicker and to an even higher standard. It was also necessary because we were printing across more than just one type of print, as we had moved into printing litho, digital printing, and large format printing. While dealing with these print types, colours may vary somewhat, and so we needed to reduce the differences by gaining new technology that would “match” the colours as best as possible.
And now we are into 2018, business is flying and our team is ever growing. In fact, we have 25 people making up the Kaizen Team now, and couldn’t be happier to have all of them on board. Since our inception, we have completed over 50,000 jobs and are ready and eager to complete the next 50,000. We’re constantly looking and moving forward here at Kaizen, it is in our name after-all. But it’s true, and we are already planning for the next 10 years here at Kaizen Print, and the 10 after that, and the 10 after that and…. You get the idea!
But to fo finish, from all of us here at Kaizen we would just like to say thank you for being with us. Whether it was from the start, or whether you’ve just started working with us over the past few months, we’re always more than happy to help and always very appreciative of your custom! So give us a call on 028 902 2474 or get us by email via our contact form and start your journey with us!