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AGGRESSIVE EXPANSION: SinaLite growing services to help customers succeed


March 30, 2020
By Andrew Snook

Topics
Celebrating SinaLite’s 21st birthday: Michael, Oscar, Fara and Brian Meshkati with Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti (second from right).

Growth through the successes of others. This is essentially the business model of Markham, Ont.-based SinaLite, which recently celebrated its 21st year in business. The wholesale trade printer has partnered with more than 10,000 businesses since 1999, when Oscar and Fara Meshkati opened up a 1,200-sq.-ft. shop with a small single-colour offset press for printing flyers, pamphlets, NCR forms, and other promotional products that their clients needed.

According to Brian Meshkati, vice-president of SinaLite, their company’s entire business model and focus is about helping others succeed. “As a trade printer, our only focus is to help distributors, print brokers and other commercial printers be able to compete in such a difficult industry. We want to help them succeed,” Brian says. That business model has served the company well over the past two decades. SinaLite has grown to approximately 150 employees working in a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility and boasts more than $20 million worth of state-of-the-art printing technologies.

In addition to the company’s more traditional promotional print offerings, SinaLite recently developed a label printing division and an apparel division with dozens of different apparel offerings. “One of the things our customers have been requesting is, ‘How do we compete with the billion-dollar online printing companies out there that are offering not only traditional business cards and marketing collateral in a wide format, but they’re also starting to offer stickers, labels and apparels?” Brian says. “It’s hard for them to compete against that.”

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Rolling up their sleeves

SinaLite started up its label printing division a couple of years ago to expand its product offerings. Brian says this was a sound business decision since label printing makes up a good percentage of the printing market and it isn’t showing signs of disappearing. “You won’t see labels going anywhere soon,” he says. For the production of the roll labels, the company purchased an HP Indigo 6900 digital press, which was installed in January 2020. “The main reason was because of the quality that it outputs,” says Mike Meshkati, president of SinaLite. “It is meant for high-end label printing. It’s meant for short-run printing for the label market – consider the short-run anything below 50,000 pieces. At the same time, HP offers great service in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and in Canada, and we like our equipment to always be up and running so we can fill our clients order and ship to them the next day, if we need to.”

The company currently produces 19 different substrates of roll labels and different adhesive types. “The substrate can be anything from fluorescent green colour or could be for applications for a freezer, outdoors, indoors or wine bottles. Some of the adhesive types we offer our clients are permanent adhesive and there’s also removable adhesives,” Brian says, adding that one of the big things that differentiates SinaLite’s offerings from competitors is that they’re not charging additional for custom shapes. “We do offer our customers circles, ovals, rectangles and squares, but we also offer them any shape that they really want. So, if what they’re buying needs the shape of a star, we can do it, and we don’t charge additional for it.” “I know that anyone we talked to was excited about this new area developing within the company,” adds Lisa Ratanprasad, manager of public relations for SinaLite. “To be able to offer this to their client base, they feel like it’s over and above.”

A good fit

SinaLite made the decision to jump into the apparel market at the same time because they see apparel as one of the most popular promotional materials available today. “It’s something that’s in style and hip with the younger generations,” Brian says. “For apparel we currently have 67 options for apparel, which includes tank tops, sweatshirts, t-shirts and hoodies; and we’re hoping to add on to that. In the next month we’re going to be adding on tote bags.” To build up the apparel side of the business, SinaLite invested in a brand new Kornit Storm HD6. “The reason why we went with the Kornit is because of the quality of the print that it does on the apparel products. It’s very close to silk screening, which is the traditional way of printing on garments. It allows us to control colour quite heavily, so it can allow us to match other logos and brands that people are looking for,” Mike says. “At the same time, it is a very durable piece of equipment. It’s not a ‘mickey-mouse’ tabletop printer that will break down quite often. It’s an industrial piece of equipment that allows us to have it up and running, as needed, 90 per cent of the time.”

New products, new people

With the additions of the label and apparel lines, SinaLite has brought on additional staff at its Markham headquarters. “For the roll labels right now, we’re running two shifts. So that alone is four additional individuals that we’ve added to our team in production. Apparel just came out last month, but we are running one shift, and that’s three individuals in total, Mike says. “As demand increases and we get more orders – and we are expecting that in these two departments – we are looking to expand that team.”

The addition of the roll labels and apparel products lines are only two of several recent investments made by SinaLite to grow their brand. The company also invested in two HP Indigo 12000 digital presses installed in October 2018 and October 2019; and a new ABG Digicon Series 3 installed in late 2019. Mike says his company’s investments in new equipment have allowed SinaLite to offer great quality at a very economical pricing model with quicker turnaround. “It’s increasing our speed to market, which helps our clients win more work,” he says. “It’s allowing aggressive customers that want to grow their businesses to be able to tap into new markets. For example, if someone was traditionally selling postcards to their clients, now they could start selling roll labels to their clients, and then they could start selling apparel. We’re investing heavily in our gear so our clients can increase their profits and increase their revenues. We’re already seeing that a big percentage of our customers are taking advantage. For example, I have a graphic designer that I was working with two or three years ago who was struggling with his business. He was just selling business cards, postcards and traditional marketing collateral. As soon as we introduced roll labels, he tapped into the cannabis market and he’s getting a lot of orders. He never had that revenue before, plus now, because he got all of those roll label products for his cannabis business, his postcard marketing and marketing collateral business automatically grew too, because he attracted new customers.”

Mike says he has already started to see SinaLite’s new apparel lines help clients grow their businesses. “Operationally, it’s helping us increase our revenues by helping our customers’ revenues to increase,” he says. The company expects these new products continuing to grow as more and more of the younger generation move towards an e-commerce model for their businesses. “Anyone that’s selling print can jump on our platform and within hours start making money,” Mike says, adding that there is extra security that comes with doing business with SinaLite. “With us, they have the security that we’re not going to the end user.”

Going forward, SinaLite hopes to continue expanding in the future, bringing in top technologies and offering the best services for their customers. “We’re thrilled to be celebrating 21 years in business,” Lisa says. “It shows the dedication and growth that this company has been through. We’re keen to develop new ways to help the customers – whether it’s shipping times or getting a new portfolio of products to sell, or just finding ways to make things simple.”