PrintFX Bursts onto the Scene with HP Printers and Media

For the last 10 years, Jayson Ownsby had been working for a local print service provider in the Knoxville, Tenn.-area. While he’s always dreamt of opening his own print shop, he didn’t make the leap until last year. Partnering with his cousin, Caylor Tallent, Ownsby started looking at equipment, and in early 2020, they opened PrintFX. “It was last January or February when we started pricing equipment, then COVID hit,” he says. “It threw a wrench in the plan, but through Dave [Grotkiewicz, LexJet sales representative], we worked it out.”

Their first investment was the HP Latex 335 Print and Cut Solution. Once they got up and running with the printer, Grotkiewicz recommended the products in the HP Adhesive vinyl portfolio. “I love that vinyl,” says Ownsby. “I go through about 7-8 rolls a month of the HP Prime Gloss CP.”

The price and the quality of the vinyl have given them the opportunity to print stickers for local nutrition shops. “Because of COVID, they are using disposable cups and hand applying the stickers,” he says. “They also give the stickers to their customers to put on their own coolers or tumblers and I’ve even seen the stickers on bumpers around town. It helps them advertise and it helps us turn a profit, because of the price point.”

Ownsby says it’s not just the great pricing that keeps his customers coming back to him.  The combination of the latex ink and HP adhesive vinyl means he can offer a quick turnaround on a more durable product compared to national online retailers. Getting his customers a durable product at a competitive cost with a short lead time helps make the nutrition shops more efficient. “When they purchased online, the stickers would come on rolls and the baristas can only do a few at a time. The stickers I give them are on sheets, which makes it easier to hand out so more people can knock them out in a few minutes.”

Printing stickers for the local nutrition shops aren’t the only thing keeping these cousins busy. They also use HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP for box trucks and recently, they used it on a racing truck. Once again, Ownsby says it’s the cost of the product that is helping improve his bottom line. “ I can either spend a few thousand on other brands to wrap a trailer, or a fraction of that on Optimal and the pairing laminate,” he says “I’m wrapping the same job, but only spending one-third of the money.”

As a small business owner, Ownsby relies heavily on the support of Grotkiewicz and the quality of the HP brand. “HP and LexJet make it affordable for me, as a small shop, with no employees and two owners. We are doing extremely big things as far as a two-person shop.” He says. “I think we go above and beyond and compete with the big boys who buy pallets of material.”

Tallent agrees. “The HP product line allows us to compete,” he says. “It is superior to other products and at a better price.”

Opening a new business is always challenging but starting a business and succeeding during a pandemic takes grit, determination, and the backing of customers and vendors. “None of this is possible if I don’t have the products and the support. Dave has been integral,” says Ownsby. “Going forward, I don’t see my shop surviving without HP, that’s how important the products are to my shop and to my business.”

Looking over their first year in business, Ownsby realizes his dream has finally come true. “It’s always been a goal of mine to be my own boss,” he says. “I could never have imagined, when we set out on this adventure a little over a year ago, that we’d be sitting here in 2021, having had a successful first year.”

 

LexJet Reviews: Hot Products to Watch in 2021

In this edition of LexJet Reviews, C.J. Forker discusses a few of our customers’ favorites, making them some of the hottest products to watch in 2021.

From signage to photo panels to temporary banners, here are the products that will help keep you at the head of the class, this year:
HP Adhesive Vinyl – The products in the HP adhesive vinyl portfolio have been some of the hottest since their release in 2019. Customers say that the vinyl line delivers the consistency, performance, and image quality they expect from the HP brand.

HP Prime Banner – Unveiled last year, the HP Prime banner family quickly became another line of products our customers can’t resist. Available in 13-oz matte and gloss, 15-oz blockout, and 18-oz pole banner, these products are perfect for long-standing indoor displays or outdoor displays and offer extra durability.

ChromaLuxe Photo Panels – Using dye-sub technology, this high-end alternative to photographic paper helps your images stand out in the crowd. While there are similar products widely available in the market, very few can match the combination of color, durability, and diversity that ChromaLuxe panels offer.

To learn more about these hot products, visit our LexJet Reviews library, give us a call at 800-453-9538, or visit LexJet.com.

What They’re Saying: “The HP Films are Good Quality and They Look Great”

Over 30 years ago, Tony Evans saw his childhood dream come true when he opened Evans Graphics in Monessen, Pa. “I lettered my first fire truck in 1985, and I started my business four years later,” he says. “Ever since I was a little boy, it was my dream to work with fire trucks, and I would say that now, around 80% of my work is on emergency vehicles.”

Throughout the years, Evans has changed the way he creates the graphics for his clients. He’s always wanted a printer, but he wasn’t spending enough outsourcing his printing to make it worth it. When he realized he was paying as much as $1,000 a month to have another shop print his graphics, he purchased an HP Latex 115.

“I wanted to give my customers prints that mimicked gold-leaf lettering, but I couldn’t do it without a printer,” he says. “Having a printer in-house saves my customers money, saves me from outsourcing, and it allows me to be more creative with what I can do.”

Once he got the printer installed, Evans knew he would need some material for commercial jobs and non-reflective products. Although he’d never purchased from LexJet before, he reached out to sales specialist Trey Kelly who was happy to talk to him about the HP Adhesive Vinyl line.

“I print with a lot of reflective material for the emergency vehicles and I use the HP Clear Gloss Cast Overlaminate,” he says. “The cast laminate is unbelievably awesome! It has a nice high gloss, with no silvering, and it cuts beautifully. It enhances the characteristics of the reflective vinyl and makes it a little easier to handle.”

Reflective Vinyl with HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate

Sometimes, certain jobs will call for a little thicker laminate and that’s when Evans chooses HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate. “Some trucks have roll-up doors and I have to trim between every slat and for those jobs, because the Polymeric is a little thicker, it makes it easier to use,” he says. “These are flat surfaces, so it works great.”

When he’s not working with reflective vinyl, Evans uses HP Prime Gloss CP and HP Prime Gloss Air GP for various projects like signs and stickers. “I used the Prime Gloss GP last year on a cargo van and I see that van around town all the time and it still looks great,” he says. “The CP, which doesn’t have the air channels, I use for labels. Since they get cut and handled by multiple people, I don’t want the air channels to possibly cause the label or sticker to separate from the backing.”

However, it was his recent experience with the HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP that really got him fired up. Combining the conformable Optimal with the cast laminate, Evans set out to install a ‘supergraphic’ on the side of a minivan for a local pest control company. “I wasn’t sure if the Optimal would conform well because it’s not a cast film. Wow! It was great,” he says.

Panel vans have recessed areas where rear windows would be in passenger vans, and Evans thought those recesses may require the use of the heat gun to soften the vinyl during installation. As it turns out, he didn’t need to warm it up. “Everything went on without a heat gun,” he says. “The entire application, including the gas filler door. I mean, the van looks like it came that way.”

HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP with HP Clear Gloss Cast Overlaminate

It’s not just the ease of installation that Evans loves about the vinyl. Because he’s working with the HP printer and inks, HP adhesive vinyl, and the HP laminates, he’s using quality products and getting quality results. “It prints beautifully, it cuts and weeds easily,” he says. “The HP films are good quality, they take the ink well, and they look great.”

Adding the printer last year has not only allowed him to expand his customer service and his creativity, but it also has kept him busy, especially as things started to slow down earlier this year. “With the work that I do, primarily emergency vehicles, I’m staying busy through COVID. Having the printer made me essential. I’m busier and more profitable than I’ve ever been,” he says.

If you are interested in learning more about the HP latex printers or HP Adhesive Vinyl, contact a sales specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Post-COVID-19 Prep: Optimize Your Inventory During Downtime

We’ve heard from some print shops that activity may be slowing down in some areas, so we put together some ideas of how you can use your downtime wisely. We all know that storage room inventory can get backed up, so now’s a great time to figure out what you’re using, what’s collecting dust and maybe identify some new, multiuse products that can save you both space and money plus you can earn up to 4X Edge Rewards.

“A good exercise is to put a list together of products you buy regularly and reach out to your vendor and let them know this is what I use regularly,” says LexJet sales rep, Ramiro Torrez. “And ask: Do you have something that is comparable at a better price point?”

Torrez worked with a customer who was buying 25 different products and he made recommendations to whittle the list down to 12 more versatile items. In some cases, the customer saved when buying more of the streamlined list.

“We saved her about $1,200 if she’d replenished one of everything in her old inventory,” he says. “Plus, when you buy in bulk, you’re going to get a better price for it.”

Next, we identified several applications that can be covered by one super-versatile product. Learn more about these products and stock up, so you’re a step ahead when it’s time to ramp up production once again:

VINYL: If you are stocking up on different products for self-adhesive window, signage and car decal graphics, HP Prime Matte Air GP is a one-size-fits-all option. Additionally, HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP can work across the board for wall graphics, corrugated plastic, windows and can even be mounted to Styrofoam.

SIGNAGE FILM: Another super versatile option for signage is LexJet’s Production Display Film, which can stand in for grommeted banners, retractable banner stands, and hanging signage, thanks to its lay-flat characteristics. It’s a cost-effective solution for indoor or short-term outdoor graphics, which is also available in a Solvent version.

POSTER PAPER: If you’re looking for a poster paper that works well outdoors and also doubles as a photo paper with good resolution, check out LexJet Satin Poster Paper 200g. At $0.12 per square foot, it’s a highly cost-effective, PVC-free option that delivers richly detailed, water-resistant prints.

FABRIC: When events start back up, you’ll want to have a fabric on hand that can work on a variety of applications. EnduraFab Frontlit is a 100% polyester knit fabric for Latex users that’s appropriate for lightweight and elegant table skirts, backdrops, step-and-repeats and flags. For aqueous printers, try LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth for a multitude of applications.

MULTI-PURPOSE: One of the most exciting product launches in recent years is LexJet FlexTek. This non-woven technical fabric is a winner thanks to its highly functional and versatile characteristics. It’s recyclable and PVC-free, making it an environmental win, too. FlexTek can be wrapped around stretcher bars to create canvas wraps (as an alternative to polyester canvas) or used for posters, banners or even hanging signage. It’s also available in a Solvent version, and both versions offer long shelf life.

For more ideas for versatile products and good-better-best options for your application, call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538.

Let’s Go Trade Show! A Virtual Tour with LexJet

On Friday, April 17, we’re bringing the latest news, tips, demos and product launches right to you with our LexJet Virtual Let’s Go Trade Show! We’ll have valuable insight for dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, as well as lots of insider tips and sneak peeks on the products and services you’ll need to prepare for when everyone returns to work.

During this event, from 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. ET, we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Live demo showing how HP Adhesive Vinyl can be used for almost any application
  • Best social media marketing practices now and post-COVID-19
  • Discover the hot new window textile, Squid
  • Dye-sub applications with the Epson F Series
  • A live demo of HP Latex Print & Cut

Sign up today and we’ll provide you with the links of each of the live sessions. Choose the ones you’d like to attend, and drop on by. We look forward to seeing you (virtually) April 17!

SIGN UP NOW

Create Easy Contour Cut Lines for Stickers, Decals & More

To create attractive, customized shapes for decals, stickers and signage of all types, you can easily adjust your graphic file in Adobe Illustrator to create cut lines in the shape of your choice that will be perfectly set up for when you’re ready to send the job to your printer and cutter.

Follow along as we walk through, step-by-step, in this short educational video to ensure your cut lines are set up correctly to print and cut accurately with your graphic.

This technique is often used for customized sticker shapes, but can also be utilized to create functional cutouts, like the graphics we created for the mini-Jeeps pictured below, in which the graphic is trimmed perfectly to fit around the hood hinges and clamps. For this project, we used HP Adhesive Vinyl. This technique would work well with other products, such as LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric and LexJet Simple Grip or other self-adhesive products with a release liner.

In the video above, we also show you how to convert JPEG and PNG files for optimal results. Rastor and vector files are covered, as well.

Once you follow this set-up procedure, you’ll be ready to send the file to your RIP software, which will prepare the file for printing.

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