Local award winning company, Signs Express (Peterborough), has recently appointed Paul Errington, a vehicle graphics specialist, to further expand their experienced team to cope with increased demand.
Whilst the centre has always offered an excellent vehicle wrapping service, franchise owner Anne Hitch knew that her customers would benefit from such an experienced specialist. We spoke to Paul to find out more.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm a 37 year old sign and vehicle graphics professional. I live in Peterborough and I'm happily married to Mariam, we have a daughter Mia who is five and a new born son, Luca.
I am a sales professional and pride myself on going the extra mile for my customers. Outside of work, I'm an accomplished vocalist and enjoy song writing as well as playing the guitar, electric organ and piano.
Tell us about your experience in the industry
I became interested in the industry when I was 11 as my parents owned a mail order CAD (computer aided design) cut lettering business. In 1992 I joined them as a part time apprentice sign maker.
Following this, I set up what became the General Banner Company, offering a next day blank banner manufacturing service to the UK sign trade.
What made you decide to specialise in vehicle wrapping?
I had unknowingly part wrapped in my father’s business using Mactac calendared vinyl in 1995. But the Idea was first planted in my head whilst working for Anne as her production manager and head fitter at Signs Express (Peterborough) throughout 2003 and 2004.
We had a project to fully wrap taxis for a company called Car world. This was my first attempt to wrap vinyl with my other two vinyl fitters, after which I felt frustrated with how difficult it was, but at the same time was intrigued by how lucrative it could be. Based on my artistic skill sets and growing need to develop beyond being just a good vinyl lettering fitter, I flew to Avery HQ in Holland to start specialising in vehicle wrapping.
Tell us about how the industry, and specifically vehicle wrapping, has changed over time
Originally the early wrap vinyl's (KPMF VWS Avery 900SC) were extremely aggressive and difficult to fit. Then the bubble free technology films slowly started to change the market forever, allowing fitters to get to grips with the techniques a little easier and quicker. In the last two to three years the colour ranges and finishes of wrap materials have boomed. Also wrap tools in particular have more of a presence, for example knifeless tape. There are currently a lot of developments in the non-cast soft contour part wrap vinyl products. These tools enable us to be competitive when used and placed with great consideration and fitting experience.
Tell us about your decision to work with Signs Express
I had previously worked for Anne and she became an increasingly good customer of my vehicle wrapping business Wrapido and I enjoyed working in her team. I had built up my own client base but the travelling frequently took me far from my young family. We had a lot in common in regard to our business outlook and experience in the vehicle graphics field so over time we discussed the idea of working together. It became very obvious that I would be stronger as part of Anne's business than as a Sole trader, so here I am! It’s fantastic having a team to work alongside, and I enjoy the support and flexibility that I now have.
Why is advertising with your vehicle so important?
Everyone says using your vehicle to advertise is the lowest cost medium per customer impression. Making the right impression on your customers or potential customers is a subtle and important thing for any business.
I liken the visual impression of vehicle graphics to turning up to a meeting in a well-fitting suit or a worn out one. You can make a big impact; in my experience it's like a tailoring a great suit for a vehicle. Excellent material choice is crucial but the most important rule is less is more.
You’re moving into a role which will include both a sales aspect as well as sign fitting, tell us about this:
My skill sets evenly cover this role perfectly. I can be engaging with clients at the front end as well as seeing the whole process through from intelligent design to technical hands on completion.
The role is perfect because it allows me to instil customer confidence at the start point using my in depth experience, akin to the way an architect would, then I have the luxury to actually deliver what I say by flipping in to my project manager role.
What are your hopes for the future?
I have had a great start in this role as vehicle specialist. As a key player in the team and within this role I see no boundaries for driving the Peterborough centre to even greater success in 2014 and beyond.
Signs Express (Peterborough), based on Saracen Business Park, offers a full range of signage and vehicle graphics to local businesses and has recently invested in machinery to be able to offer engraving as well as braille and tactile.
The centre recently fought off strong competition from the nationwide network of 70 Signs Express franchises to win the coveted Innovation accolade at the company’s 2013 convention. Anne and her team continue to offer high quality signage as well as high quality service to businesses in Peterborough, King’s Lynn and the surrounding areas.