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Ahead of the Curve

AMD Promotions

Rob Fletcher talks to Julian Brown, owner of AMD Promotions, about the firm’s first 18 months in business and how its attention to detail has helped bring in a wide range of customers

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AMD Promotions was recently named in the top ‘Small Biz 100’ by Small Business Saturday UK

Maximising your growth potential

The Chancellor’s most recent Budget did little to address the concerns of small- and medium-sized businesses around the country. Companies like this already have a monumental task on their hands when it comes to competing with the larger firms for work, and often need to showcase to potential customers why they would be the better choice.

The print industry is not short of examples in the SME market, with many small printing firms successfully holding off the challenges of the big businesses and winning profitable work. Such firms do this by maintaining a quality level of output with their printed work and building strong relationships with their customers.

One such company is AMD Promotions, which, based in the historic market town of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, was recently honoured on a nationwide scale when it was named in the top ‘Small Biz 100’ by Small Business Saturday UK. Launched in 2013, the initiative celebrates the work of 5.5 million small businesses in the UK, highlighting their work over the past 12 months.

Julian Brown, owner of AMD, says: “We were thrilled to be selected as one of this year’s Small Biz 100. Our spotlight day was the September 28th, 2018, and we chose to pay our win forward and promote other small businesses we work with across our social media platforms. We even got a mention on twitter by ex-Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis!”

Gap in the market

AMD Promotions officially began life 18 months ago as a development out of its retail arm, Alfie Moon Designs. The company started out using entry-level cutting and printing equipment to decorate bags, t-shirts, clocks and mugs in character-led and personalised designs to sell online and at a local market.

(Above & below) AMD Promotions offers a one-stop design and print services such as stickers, labels, signage, point-of-sale, branded workwear, merchandise, banners and marketing materials


However, as Brown explains, the firm soon built on this early success to expand into other areas: “Our quality and attention to detail of our products caught the eye of fellow market traders and we started to produce more workwear and other promotional materials.

“We began to realise there was a real gap in the market for design, print and promotion services specifically for one-man bands, micro businesses and small charities; businesses on a budget who needed more hands-on support, struggled to engage online and who wanted to talk to a ‘real’ person.”




 
This push for growth has been accompanied by a commitment to investment in new technology, which Brown says remains an important part of its expansion plans.

Brown comments: “We continued to invest in new commercial print equipment and technology, which has included large-format digital printer cutters, sublimation equipment, as well as screen-printing facilities to support larger bulk merchandise and clothing orders.

In recent months, AMD Promotions has invested in new large-format digital printer cutters, sublimation equipment and screen-printing facilities


“We now offer a one-stop design and print service ranging from stickers and labels, signage and point-of-sale, branded workwear, merchandise and banners, right through to marketing materials.

In recent months, AMD Promotions has invested in new large-format digital printer cutters, sublimation equipment and screen-printing facilities


“We have needed to create a separate screen-printing space, away from the digital print studio in Lasyard House Business Unit in Bridgnorth. We definitely maximise every inch of our 30sq m and are always looking for creative space solutions.”

The next level

While some businesses would find it a challenge to work with a small team of staff, Brown says his squad of two, with support from specialist help at busier times, is actually beneficial when it comes to offering customers a more personal service.

He explains: “We have developed and grown in parallel to our loyal customers. We offer personalised and bespoke services; helping customers go to the next level in terms of their growth. We haven’t forgotten our own market selling roots and offer special package deals designed for market traders.

We have developed and grown in parallel to our loyal customers


“With a background in corporate retail, a big part of our success has been our ability to create low minimum volume order packages at highly competitive prices for small business.”

Looking back on what he says as a been a “busy” year for the AMD business, Brown picks out a number of major highlights for the company, citing one project that is particularly proud of.

Brown says: “2018 has been a busy year, expanding our customer base and consolidating our core offer; working with some large businesses as well as being approached by the trade to offer some white label printing services.

“All our customers and projects are important to us, but we’re particularly proud to have secured a number of theatre and performing arts groups contracts for activity and promotional wear. We were also delighted to support a disability charity in producing all of their marketing materials following a rebrand to celebrate 21 years.

“We’ve won a number of awards and competitions this year including one by the trade – Roland Hero – and being selected as one of the Small Business 100 as part of the national Small Business Saturday campaign.”

And what does the future hold for AMD Promotions? Brown is key to continue the hard work of the past 18 month and push for further growth: “Our goals for 2019 include expanding the screen-printing and direct-to-garment operation to enable us to broaden and diversify the range of products and services we can offer, specifically to micro and small businesses.”


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