Kwik Kopy Bondi Junction: A new dimension

It only takes one to plunge in and then others will follow. Like the first splash in the sea in spring, the initial cold shiver soon turns to excitement.

Or so it seems to Emmanuel Constantinou, owner and managing director of Kwik Kopy in Bondi Junction in the heart of Sydney’s eastern suburbs. He has dived into the untested waters of 3D print, and assures us that it feels just fine.

Constantinou has a printing background, but not in storefront retail. He was the owner of a packaging print company for 23 years, until a desire for a change of lifestyle prompted him to sell the business and look around for new ventures. He took on a job to build the business at Kwik Kopy in Bondi Junction, and saw an opportunity that was too good to ignore.

“I came on board here as a sales manager to help the previous owner build the business,” he tells ProPrint.

“My motive was to increase sales, build awareness and look at what Bondi Junction and the eastern suburbs had to offer the business.

“We discovered during that process that there is a lot of potential, there is a lot of diversification of work coming through, corporate print, banners, digital printing, design, display graphics and signage. I saw the potential and decided it was a business I wanted to pursue. It is a lot smaller than my old business, but it offers a change in quality of life, and lifestyle.”

That was just two years ago. In that time he has completely refurbished its production inventory with new technology from Fuji Xerox, a colour J75, 700i and mono D125 digital presses, Epson and Fuji Xerox wide format printers, and extensive Duplo collating and finishing options.

Revitalised, Kwik Kopy Bondi Junction pursued new business with a view to diversify product offerings.

“Part of my strategy for the business was to assess what we have internally,” says Constantinou.

“I had replaced a lot of old equipment that had reached its expiry date with Fuji Xerox technology, as well as large format plan and poster printers.”

The two sides of the business, walk-in retail and corporate, service customers from the local area right through to national clients, and even some clients from his previous business who have followed him to the new store.

“We have clients from the city, community based and eastern suburbs, and around the country. Our store offers a lot of different services: graphic design, business print, wide format including signage, marketing services, direct mail for personalisation and web-to-print. The eastern suburbs have a lot of architects, civil engineers and construction companies which require a lot of plans, as well as brochures and materials to assist in promoting their projects.”

The opportunities he saw in the beginning are coming to fruition with his efforts to broaden the company’s reach.

“I don’t feel there has been a shift in the direction of the business since I purchased it, but there has been an enormous culture change in customer service and presentation with our new refurbished shop and our offerings.

“I believe in diversification. So we are not shifting the business, we are diversifying it. We are still selling all the old services, but offering a lot more as well. We are adding additional services in print and online such as EDMs, graphic and website design, and online sales.”

Walk-in customers represent about 30 per cent of the business, says Constantinou. He presently has five other fulltime staff, but that number will grow as new ideas take root. He is now happy with the company’s fundamentals, and is ready for new challenges.

He says, “When any business changes owners you have to make sure people understand who we are and what we offer. At the end of the day what people really want is a quality job, at the right price, at the time they want it. We focused on those three areas, and how we could perfect them.

“We have a dynamic team here – it is the same team as when I took over – and we concentrate on those deliverables.”


Riding the new wave

Constantinou has now launched Kwik Kopy Bondi Junction on a new wave of what he is convinced is a logical, and momentous, new path for print.

He recently made a significant investment in a Projet 660 Pro 3D printer from ProZ3D, which gives the company the ability to manufacture 3D objects from a resin based material, in full colour.

Kwik Kopy Bondi Junction is one of the first franchise stores in the country to offer 3D printing, or manufacturing, which Constantinou considers is the more accurate term. It brings together his vision for the company, his appetite for new ventures and a love of new technology. The buzz and publicity around 3D printing in the US was a catalyst for his excitement, and ultimately his commitment.

“What really caught my eye were the developments in the US,” he says.

“3D printing in the US has set a new bar for manufacturing in the print industry. We had talked about and embraced many services in our store that offer online applications, augmented reality and web development.

“My vision was to create a market that will allow us to offer services that are different, to be a leader in our field. I want to adopt new technology and showcase it here in Australia at our store.

“We are only about 12 months behind technology leaders here now. If we observe how 3D printing in the US has allowed customers to bring their ideas to life in the medical and architectural industries, and the finishing variants that 3D has to offer, we have some catching up to do.”


Putting it out there

The company invited clients to an open house demonstration of its new capabilities in early October, and some 80 clients attended. That, says Constantinou, is a clear indication of the interest 3D printing is generating. The night was a great success, he says, and orders have started flowing in.

“We created an event that allowed our clients to see and feel the different products that 3D can provide, and a representative of the technology was also here to answer questions. Our clients all felt it was informative,” he says.

“There was a large range of products on display from architectural models to medical body parts and loads of promotional objects. Our clients now understand how 3D printing can help their business. Now they are starting to get ideas about how they can use it.

“We have architects looking for 3D models, and the medical industry is now starting to visualise how important 3D printing is. We are working on a product for a professor who does hip and knee replacements, and a cardiovascular professor who wants exact replicas of the patient’s heart before they actually operate, so they really know what they are getting into before the operation.

“We are doing work for some corporate clients who are rolling out a massive campaign – we are printing some 3D objects to complement that.

“There are many different service offerings for 3D accepted in the US. Chocolatiers are already manufacturing with 3D printing for edible chocolate models. There are circuit boards manufactured, unbreakable plastics for cars and so on.”

Constantinou has firm views of where 3D printing can take his company – and the broader printing industry if it wants to get on board.

“3D printing will always be an integral part of Kwik Kopy Bondi Junction, because we have a lot of architects, construction companies, medical companies and corporates around the eastern suburbs. It is one thing to go out and pitch for business, and approach clients to embrace this new technology, but we are not just going out and selling 3D products. We are offering a complete one stop solution for businesses to let their ideas come to life.

“Part of what I am trying to achieve is for local councils to encourage all construction and architect companies, when they provide their DA proposals, to produce a 3D model that has been printed to provide a more accurate visual impression of the development.

“Architectural models, medical devices and replicas, promotional products that help to brand companies, offering solutions to brand businesses more imaginatively – it is a wide field,” he enthuses.


Looking ahead

While he is not predicting a future for print based around 3D manufacturing, Constantinou is convinced that it will be another facet of printing that will contribute to its ongoing viability, alongside other new technologies that have not yet caught a popular wave here, like QR codes and augmented reality.

“I believe augmented reality is still at its early stages as businesses try to understand how this technology will help them in their offerings, but it will grow.

“I feel 3D printing is creating new markets for us in the printing industry. Today we print on paper, tomorrow we will print objects.

“Print is going to continue to grow with many opportunities to grow with it,” he continues.

“If you are going to be negative about print, of course you will fail. If everyone adopts a positive attitude to today’s print world then people will do well.

“If you look at where we are today with all the technology changes we have had in the industry, it is a showcase of people who are out there dynamically doing their best to adapt to change in the market. We are shifting into a whole new era of technology that is embracing the industry and offering new solutions for it. People are becoming a lot smarter and know more about print.

“It will not be too long before a lot of print shops have 3D printing. This is one part of print’s future. It is not replacing printing, it is an addition to print.”


Wholistic view of print

Constantinou is under no illusions about the immediate viability of 3D print. There are hurdles ahead, not least the need to build a market for it, but that challenge only excites him more.

“I want to be a 3D expert, not a follower. We want to be the company that really knows about 3D print. It would be foolish of me to predict that we can pick up lots of work for 3D printing straight away. I have done a lot of research. There is no immediate real market here yet. 3D printing is new, and it is so early in the piece that I believe 3D is trying to find a way forward in the industry.

“We are creating the path for it, based on the knowledge of what we have in printing, and the opportunities 3D printing has here, in the US, and around the world.

“For us it is all about that total solution, not just turning sales. It is giving customers the experience they need to get them coming back again. 3D printing is not the only thing we do, but it is one of the things we do here. We will continue our other services and grow them as well, but people always ask, what is next?

“We want to be able to answer that question.”

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