At the forefront of change: Samantha Bailey-Jensen

This article was first published in the July 2021 issue of Australian Printer

Having spent 29 years in the signage industry, predominantly in wide format printing, Bailey Print Group director Samantha Bailey-Jensen has seen the industry and her business go through much change. And the secret for her success is being able to keep up with the new and adapting to multifarious situations.

Bailey-Jensen joined the print industry fresh out of University, in an admin role within her family business. She quickly moved into a sales role under the mentorship of her father, Ron Bailey, who formed the business Banner Specialists in 1985.

After 15 years in the family business, she then moved to Copenhagen, where she worked for an advertising agency on the Dell Computers account for five years as account manager for the direct mail production across UK and Ireland.

After returning to Australia in 2014, Bailey-Jensen rejoined the family business in a sales and marketing capacity. In 2018, Bailey-Jensen took over as one of the company’s two directors (alongside her brother Peter Bailey) when her parents retired, following which the company was rebranded as Bailey Print Group to better reflect the diversity of the company.

Bailey-Jensen said she has seen how technology changed the business over the past 36 years, and for the better.

“It has made our industry more efficient, creative and cleaner. Before the days of email and fax, we used to dream about being able to send artwork electronically to clients in colour. At the start of my career, we created artwork with stencils and coloured pens, and hand painted banners using overhead transparencies,” she said.

Bailey-Jensen also said some trends have remained the same since her early days in the industry, like the male dominance within the wide format print industry.

“It’s still very male dominated in that field, and probably always will be, and that’s okay with me. I do have some fabulous women suppliers that are great to work with. I love the efficiency that women embody as they get the job done because they know how to juggle the various hats that a working woman has to wear,” she mentioned.

Bailey Print Group now leads in adopting digital print technology and has a diverse portfolio which includes interior wallpapers, printed panelled soffits, event and display signage and vehicle graphics.

“We were early adopters of the digital print technology as we saw the benefits of increased production and colour management. We are onto our 12th digital printing machine and are always looking for the next big thing in printing – we are now watching the 3D printing space closely,” she mentioned.

The biggest transformation for Bailey Print Group came during the emergence of COVID-19, when the business saw a rapid decline in sales due to event cancellations and lockdowns. The whole team worked cohesively to rapidly pivot to producing face shields.

“We worked with local doctors on the design and within four days we started manufacturing face shields. Our first order, for a Queensland hospital, came four days later. We obtained TGA approval in under three weeks and then secured an order from the Queensland Government for 20,000 face shields, which had us manufacturing six days a week, 20 hours a day,” she mentioned.

Bailey Print Group has now produced over 27,000 shields, predominately sold to Australia and New Zealand healthcare, retail and beauty professionals.

“I was awarded the 2020 HIA Queensland Building Women’s Award – Manufacturing and Supply for this initiative, which not only kept our whole team employed but also enabled us to support local suppliers through this challenging time,” she added.

2020 also saw the business nominated as a finalist in the Lord Mayors Business Awards for Outstanding Small Business.

Another highlight of Bailey-Jensen’s career was supplying signage to the 2018 Australian Commonwealth Games athletics’ accommodation.

Bailey-Jensen said the inspiration for her work comes from the people she surrounds herself with both professionally and personally.

“I connect with a lot of people from diverse walks of life and industries because they bring varied knowledge and experiences from which I can learn from. My team continually inspires me too as they always rise up to a challenge, continually think out of the box, deliver a quality product, are service focused, and reliable,” she said.

“My most influential mentors have taught me about confidence, having belief in yourself and not to be scared to have a go and to fail. As women, we need to share our mistakes and failures because that’s how we become better leaders and empower other women.”

As a woman in print, Bailey-Jensen promotes change within the business by being as accommodating as possible to her team’s family commitments, ensuring that they dedicate time to them. In addition, the company has joined the Trademutt men’s mental health campaign, amongst other community efforts.

“It’s important to me to create an environment where there is a balanced personal and professional life because ultimately, that is when employees feel more satisfied,” Bailey-Jensen said.

Moving forward, she aims to grow the business, as well as continue to educate, train and support those around her.

“I would like to make further improvements around the environmental sustainability of our business. In our recent fit out, we installed 204 solar panels and sensor lighting, which is helping to improve our energy efficiency. I would also like to find other opportunities to improve our upcycling and recycling of used signage substrates,” she added.

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