Congratulations - you've done it! You've nailed the concept for your home-based printing business, and you're ready to get started. As you know, all kinds of factors go into making a printing business successful, but a critical one is choosing the right production equipment.
To find out more about what goes into choosing printing technology for a startup, we talked with Konstantins Dzedzels of Arteehub in Lake Zurich, Illinois. Dzedzels founded his custom printing business in 2016. Today, Arteehub provides drop-shipping services for artists who sell their custom designs on stickers, decals, and T-shirts. We asked Dzedzels how he selected his company's printing equipment and what changes he made to his production platform and workflows as his business grew.
How did you start Arteehub?
Konstantins Dzedzels: My wife and I started Arteehub in 2016 as a side hustle and soon realized there was big potential to grow our little hobby into a real business. I did plenty of research before we purchased our first printer, a Roland DG VersaStudio BN-20 desktop printer/cutter. It's a compact yet powerful 20-inch professional-grade device that provides superb print quality and is affordable for a startup like ours.
What are the factors you considered when you were researching printing equipment?
First and foremost, we needed a printer that would provide a good return on investment for us. The BN-20 is a printer/cutter, which saved us from having to purchase a second device for cutting.
Size also mattered for our business. The BN-20 has a small footprint and easily fits on a counter or desk, which was perfect for our home office.
Because this was our first printer, we needed to find a device that was easy to use and didn't require a lot of maintenance. Roland DG devices come with VersaWorks RIP software that makes production simple, even for new users. It's also easy to maintain.
It was also important to us that our printer manufacturer had a strong reputation for reliability and support. After all, this was the engine for our company, and we needed it to keep operating at full capacity. The BN-20 is backed by a One-Year Trouble-Free warranty, and the support and service we receive from Roland DGA is top notch.
How did you manage production as your company grew?
Initially, we were able to print and cut all of our orders on the BN-20. When we really started to grow, we realized we needed two devices so we could speed up production. We added the Roland DG TrueVIS SG2-300 - a 30-inch printer/cutter - which allowed us to expand our capabilities.
Having two printers made by the same manufacturer shortened the learning curve for us and has made servicing easier. Both of our printers incorporate print and cut functions, saving the expense and additional space needed for a separate cutter. As with all the Roland DG printers, the print quality is outstanding.
What advice would you give to other printing business entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
I definitely recommend choosing a high-quality smaller printer that fits your space and can produce at the level you need now and for the foreseeable future. The smaller professional-grade printers are a great investment – they can see you through the initial stages and will stay useful and productive as your business grows. Even now, we use our BN-20 as a backup device to our larger TrueVIS printer/cutter, and for special orders that require additional attention.
Having two printers that are absolute workhorses has also been important for us. We have a lot of other aspects of the business to worry about, so we need production power that can run unattended.
What do you see ahead for your business?
We are in the process of redesigning our website with custom order management software that will allow us to host our own drop-shipping orders. This will make the ordering process even easier for our clients and more efficient on our end.
We feel fortunate to work with a group of dedicated and talented artists, and we see a bright future for our company, backed by the power of Roland DG technology and productivity.