John Fisher, looks back on 21 years of Aspect Labelling from its creation.
1. What led to the creation of Aspect Labelling?
After working for a label printing company for seven years, managing the area office and sales I decided to do it for myself.
2. What did your first base for the business look like?
I started Aspect Labelling on my own working as a broker. I had good connections and was well known. I did this for two years.
3. How did Mark come to join you as Co-Director?
I then had a particularly complicated label to quote for with specific print requirements and needed some technical advice. I contact Mark Jenner who used to work with me. Mark had experience in thermal transfer printing and expertise in manufacturing and machinery so he joined Aspect Labelling in 1997. This was a stepping stone from broker to printer. We created the limited company two years later in 1999.
We sought initial premises in High Wycombe and bought our first flexo press. After 12 months we then moved to a permanent base in Warren Row, Berkshire. We stayed there for 15 years and then moved to our current premises in Wooburn Green (tipped off by a customer) over four years ago.
4. What do you wish you’d known then that you know now?
A crystal ball is helpful isn’t it! I wish we’d known how much the market would change and allow us to invest more quickly in new equipment.
5. What dramatic changes to the printing/labels world have you seen?
Digital, digital and more digital but also the frequency and quantities of customer orders. There are more short runs, higher frequency and tight turnarounds – ‘just in time’. Customers have become used to asking for a job to be turned around in 2-3 days, it’s become the norm rather than a ‘special’.
6. How have the markets and clients you serve changed in the 21 years?
Some of the clients Mark and I started working with when we set up are still clients today! We remain strong to our original key sectors in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, technology and engineering as we have built up expertise and knowledge of these markets.
7. Often in business things go round in cycles and come back in fashion, have you seen this within the label world or business in general?
Larger companies have lost the ability (if they ever had it!) to respond promptly to customers queries or react to different needs. Small businesses are still in fashion. We can respond to their needs, give advice and find the best solution for them not provide the same for everyone. It’s not one size fits all for our customers!
8. The print industry has its ups and downs in the past. What about the future of print?
Yes I remember the financial crisis in 2008/9 when many companies (not just printers) went bump. I am concerned that the print industry isn’t attracting young blood and it could become a lost skill. Many in the industry have years of experience just like Mark and I and it would be great to pass this knowledge on.
9. What inspires every day?
Our customers. I enjoy creating new relationships and calling clients I’ve known for years. I enjoy a challenge so helping customers solve their label problems!
10. What advice would you give to someone about to start up their own business?
Make customer service your priority and look after your customers. Put as much effort as you can into marketing and invest both your time and money in people and new equipment to stay ahead.
Finally, a huge thank you to each and every one of our customers for your continued business and support. Without you, well, it would all be a bit pointless really!