Spotlight: Debbie Gilbert of PRX Print

PrintAction Staff
October 30, 2018
By PrintAction Staff
In August 2018, Mississauga, Ont., full-service label manufacturer and print agency PRX Print announced it had installed the Mark Andy Digital One, an investment it says will result in 50-percent growth. PRX Print Owner and Co-founder Debbie Gilbert researched a variety of digital label printing technologies and product offerings, and her search led her to the recently launched Mark Andy Digital One hybrid label press.

Why did PRX Print decide to go with the Mark Andy Digital One?
DG: We began as a brokerage in 2010 and identified a need in the marketplace for a single-source packaging company that could integrate all of the packaging services clients need: Consulting for form and function, concept, design and printing. Using a traditional “push” strategy, we created sales opportunities by looking at packaging we thought could be improved and going to see the clients, rather than just trying to sell labels. We were brokering most print services but adding value by being a packaging consultant [with the goal of] helping customers market their products on the shelf more effectively to increase sales and market share.

Over the last four to five years as the [global] digital market has exploded, demographics and the market for retail products have also changed dramatically. We now have a retail landscape that demands just-in-time products, a demographic with a desire for specialty and ethnic foods, and [trends] such as small-quantity, multiple-version printing and specialty effects, which have all combined to make the perfect storm for digital printing. To answer the demand for fast turnaround times and economical yet high-quality print solutions, last year we decided to look for an in-house label printing solution.

People today are bombarded with special effects in everything they see — whether it’s video games, movies or packaging on the shelf. We’ve even had the advent of virtual reality packaging. Now that consumers are getting used to it and are expecting it, wherever we can add these elements to labels creates a great opportunity-solution for customers. We have a blended desire for short-runs that can [accomplish] that, so flexo isn’t the only solution any longer — new digital presses offer embellishment like cold foils, spot colours and virtual reality.

What makes PRX Print unique?
DG: We take a consultative approach with our clients – looking at everything from the way their product is packaged and labelled, to the way it’s displayed on a shelf or in their tradeshow booth. And we have the expertise to help them increase sales or penetrate new markets through improving their packaging. We also offer solutions that are cost effective for their specific needs – sometimes digital printing is best and sometimes flexo suits their needs better – we offer both solutions. Sometimes a label is best, and sometimes a printed cardboard sleeve is more suitable, or even a uniquely designed box – we provide solutions for any of them and guide the customer within their budget.

How important is the print+design collaboration?
DG: Very — and it really wasn’t a collaborative [effort] for a long time. You had designers sitting in one area, print people in another and the marketing department down the hall. Everything has now become one. [The key is] for everyone to work together in an integrated approach. Design isn’t isolated; it is integral to the form and function of the finished product. Having the marketing resource collaborate with designers and a knowledgeable print resource ensures there are no surprises for customers and they get exactly what they need and want. [All parties have] to work together from the start.

How does print fit into a digital future?
DG: I think print will [continue to hold] a big role in packaging, and in our lives in general, going forward. Print is a primary means of communicating a message or a brand. People can see [a product] online but they still want to feel it and see it on the shelf. [Consumers] are savvier than ever today — they demand information quickly, and it is important to provide clear and compelling information that conveys benefits to consumers as soon as they pick an item up of the shelf. With just a few seconds to do that, there is no better way to accomplish that than through effectively designed printed packaging.

What’s next for PRX Print?
DG: We’re in rapid growth mode right now and are still exploring the full features of the Mark Andy Digital One. We’re definitely going to focus on digital because we believe there’s so much potential out there and that’s only going to grow. [If you look at] the capabilities of the new digital presses coming to market today, they continue to offer [faster] speed, more and more features, and increased high-quality output – all of this means we can offer customers what they want at a price they can afford.

This Q&A was originally published in the October 2018 issue of PrintAction, now available online.

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