A genuine passion for print and not being afraid of change are two of the essential ingredients for longevity and success in this industry. Christine Yardley has an impressive supply of both, as she demonstrates in this Podcast from the Printerverse, recorded at the FSEA #OdysseyExpo in Atlanta, Georgia.
Before evolving into Print Panther, her company began as Binderies Galore – her typesetting business began to dwindle became more dominated by digital, so she started a graphic design and marketing company that specialised in finding cool products for her clients to present with.
Partnering with a UK company, she started working with polypropylene (quickly becoming the Polypropylene Queen), making unique presentation materials, and Print Panther was born.
Christine describes the company as ‘completely tech-driven’, and says technology doesn’t scare her, rather she finds it exciting and inspiring. “I’ve always wondered why people are afraid of it. Perhaps I should be more afraid of it! I tend to dive in – but I’ve never doubted anything I’ve done.”
Perhaps she has found the perfect balance thanks to her partner, who comes from a traditional offset background, and who she says ‘reins her in’ when she goes out too far. Although she adds, “but I like to push the envelope – otherwise, why bother?” You can’t argue with that!
Of course, passion and fearlessness in spades is great, but you need a great many additional elements for success. A customer-centric approach, for example. “If you’re just a standalone print shop, you have to have more today. You need to be able to go to your client, and do a bit of marketing or design for them, you need a value add, cant just do print on paper anymore. Have to have a little more.”
You also need to know your stuff. There’s no doubt that Christine knows a thing or two about a myriad of substrates, but you need to have the right equipment, too. For Christine, a partnership with Konica Minolta was the right move based on her requirements. Print Panther was the first MGI install in Canada, and now the first of the AccurioWide 160.
“I did my research, and liked that the MGI is user friendly with one varnish, with the ability to use different foils, not just MGI, which is great for flexibility. It’s perfect for our all-digital print shop. With our work being high end, we have to be able to provide embellishment, and we wanted to keep it in-house – we want that control.”
Here’s another key ingredient – this one’s for the success of the industry’s future as a whole; a desire to inspire others, share your knowledge, and empower the people around you. Christine checks that box too, with her new initiative, Eat, Print, Love.
“It’s a nice way for me to share my love for print – I want printers, suppliers, or anyone that might be inspired to look at the site, eatprintlove.com. These days there’s not a lot of places you can go and be inspired for free, no catch!”
Fresh from the WomenConnect Networking Breakfast at the #OdysseyExpo, Christine wraps up with some advice for women in the industry: “People have put their belief in me and it gives me confidence, and I want to give that back. I’ve always been a strong woman. Don’t let people tell you you cant do it because you can. It won’t be easy, but it is worth it.”
For more from Print Panther partner Konica Minolta, listen to this Podcast from the Printerverse with Dawn Nye, Manager of Solutions and Services Marketing
Karis Copp is a UK-based writer, journalist and communications expert. With a background as an editor and public relations specialist in the print industry, she now works on a freelance basis covering events, writing on industry news and trends, and working with businesses to help them tell their stories and connect with their customers. Follow her on Twitter @KarisCoppWrites.