Women in Manufacturing
Spotlight: Sibylle Cox, owner, Hubbub Paper
February 12, 2024 By PrintAction Staff
Hubbub Paper, Cambridge, Ont., created a buzz at this year’s Canadian Printing Awards. Besides winning four awards, this husband and wife-owned company impressed the jury with their unique printing work. While Sibylle Cox is the primary specialty printer, Steve Cox oversees the digital and finishing side of production. We interviewed Sibylle about the state of the industry as well as the story behind Hubbub.
What is the state of the print industry today, in your opinion?
SC: Exciting! The technology is forever evolving, and the possibilities continue to expand. While the majority of our business is weddings, our customers are continuously pushing us to learn new techniques and adopt new technologies to bring their designs to life. We continue to add technology, and subsequently, new capabilities. This is in addition to our core strengths, which remain in specialty print and finishing. Technology is allowing us to deliver more complex projects quicker with a greater degree of accuracy.
What attracted you to the print industry in the first place?
SC: I went to school for fine art. I specialized in printmaking, and then I kind of left that for a while. I started working more in digital and web design. It wasn’t until I was working with a letterpress printer to create our wedding invites that I was re-introduced to physical print. I started a greeting card company in the back bedroom of our house in Toronto, and eventually started designing and printing wedding stationery. Word got out that there was a new specialty printer in Canada, and we started to get requests from other wedding stationers to print their designs. That side of the business grew so quickly that the decision was made to focus on production and move away from greeting cards. The single garage became a double garage, then 1000 sf, and most recently, several thousand along with a handful of employees.
How can the industry attract more young people?
SC: The industry serves young people. The more they can become part of the process, the more they will come. The entrepreneurial spirit seems to be alive and well with young people, and because the cost of entry into the industry can be low, more youngsters are starting businesses printing on all kinds of things from clothes and wood to acrylic. We have friends who have started businesses in their apartments with a laser or silkscreen and now have scaled to the point where they have converted from side hustle to full time. In many cases, they’re providing a living wage to others.
In such a competitive landscape, how can printers win more sales?
SC: It is important to understand your business and strengths. Printing is no longer only about paper and ink. We recently attended a print show and were amazed at how people were able to do one thing really well and building a very lucrative business around that one product or service. We happen to focus on specialty printing on a wide variety of papers using both digital and analogue techniques. We don’t print t-shirts, mugs, or vehicle wraps. However, there are plenty of shops doing just that and making a decent living doing so. If you are good at what you do, you will attract the people who are seeking what you provide.
What are some of the biggest opportunities you see in the print industry?
SC: The constant evolution of technology is opening up possibilities for creators. The idea that small runs and one-off products can be created very easily and inexpensively is allowing creators to prove concepts and establish need prior to investing or printing massive runs. Additionally, platforms like Etsy and Amazon Handmade are enabling makers to test the market and maintain manageable inventory levels. They are also allowing those same creators to reach audiences that they never could have hoped for 10 years ago.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about print today?
SC: The sheer volume of print products that are available today are creating opportunities for the creators. Innovation in technology and creative minds pushing the limits of their capacity make for an interesting combo that perpetuates this cycle.
Sibylle Cox’s response was edited for length. For more Q&A Spotlight interviews, please visit www.printaction.com/profile.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2023 issue of PrintAction.
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