Magic for business
CWB catches up with TheMagicTouch's MD, Jim Nicol.
By Laura Turner
23 January 2014
Since its formation in Germany in 1989 by founder Juergen Hagedorn, TheMagicTouch has been pioneering the digital image transfer process, and today offers full-colour image transfer paper and heat presses, together with laser colour copiers and printers. Its aim is to open up new and innovative opportunities for businesses through full-colour, high-quality image transfer printed onto a limitless range of application products; everything from textiles, metals, glass, leather and acrylic through to PU folders, mugs, wood, POS board and umbrellas. Additionally, TheMagicTouch not only produces and supplies the products enabling entry into this market, it also backs the applications with training and marketing support. Essentially, TheMagicTouch can put printing back into the hands of a business, allowing it to deliver promotional merchandise and create new commercial opportunities.
TheMagicTouch has chosen now to actively targeting the school sector, having made its debut at the Schoolwear Show in Solihull in October. This is simply down to customer demand – a requirement from suppliers to schools for a marketing tool to improve contact with customers and make more money from what is considered a very competitive market.
“Over recent years, TheMagicTouch has received an increasing number of enquiries from the school sector, with the combination of technology becoming easier to understand and the low-space requirement and affordability of printers making the process very attractive,” says company MD Jim Nicol, who, in partnership with his sister Alison Nicol, opened TheMagicTouch’s UK office under licence in St Albans in 1991 before relocating the business in 2000 to its current UK headquarters in Dunstable.
“The school market is changing, creating real opportunity to get closer, improve contact and create new business,” he continues. “I believe suppliers to schools need to widen the product range and better engage with schools.”
As Nicol mentions, entry level cost of printing equipment has dramatically reduced over the years and is a considerable factor in the increased demand for TheMagicTouch service. To put these cost differences into context, in the early 90s the only printing device available for full-colour transfer production was that of colour copiers costing in excess of £25K. Additionally, if the user wanted the colour copier to communicate with their computer, the cost could easily increase by a further £10K. With entry level printers now available for less than £500, cost is no longer restrictive, and the opportunities to gain new channels of business are much more readily available.
“The introduction of TheMagicTouch process to any business helps to sharpen up the user’s marketing and sales efforts,” he says. “Having the ability to market-specific products to target customers really works, and has a great crossover towards the B2B market. Our process also creates the opportunity for the user to assist schools with the many enterprise schemes now operating, giving the pupils an insight to operating a business within the school environment.”
With developments in technology, experience in training, support for all of its products and by sharing its marketing and sales programmes, TheMagicTouch is able to efficiently assist its school-sector customers in creating new business opportunities. For any company supplying to schools, being able to produce a personalised sample for evaluation is important, especially if an event involves PTA groups or any third-party sponsors.
So, one real key advantage of digital image transfer is the ability to produce bespoke “one-offs” and short-run production quickly and cost-effectively, avoiding the traditional artwork and set-up costs normally associated with traditional print and decoration methods. Also, the process comes into its own for the increasing number of events, projects, shows and field trips organised by schools, where the demand for printed products is increasing but the order size is lower. The overall demand for quicker turnaround with increasing requirement for full colour, or even photographic imaging, is apparent to TheMagicTouch. So, by ensuring all the relevant departments in schools are made aware that they could have any product produced with no minimum, and the ability to have a sample for evaluation without the traditional set-up or artwork costs normally associated, is an attractive prospect.
TheMagicTouch has a clear mission statement, which is to create and develop new products and ideas that offer marketable products and applications, something it does via the help of two full-time chemists at the company’s head office in Dieburg, Germany. One such development helping the company stay at the forefront of the game is its new WoW7.7 for garment decoration, which Nicol describes as a real “game-changer”. The new transfer process offers a multitude of potential, creating notable interest from the school sector due to the ability to individually personalise school leavers’ hoodies.
TheMagicTouch has been recognised over the years with various industry awards for innovation, gained ISO recognition and maintaining consistent reputation for customer service and support. With over half the company’s staff having almost 20 years’ service, the company seeks to offer stability and clear direction in a complex technology industry.
“To this day we still have over 50 clients who have traded with us for over 20 years,” says Nicol. “Back then the technology was simple – you could only print on white colour textiles – whereas today, we can decorate any colour textile or garment plus a host of non-textile products and applications. We never have, and never will, consider ourselves to be the total solution, but we are a ‘risk-free’ piece of this personalised and product decoration jigsaw.”
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