Part of this year’s Awning Symposium at IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo, hosted by the Fabric Graphics Association (FGA), was a panel presentation entitled: “Add Graphics: Increase Value and Customize Products.” Discussion focused on how to bring graphics into businesses of all sizes, bringing in new customers or expanding your offerings to existing customers through diversification.
Nora Norby, MFC, president of Minneapolis-based Banner Creations Inc.-and inducted this year as an Honored Life Member of IFAI-talked about more economical and sustainable types of printing equipment and inks, noting that textiles are also changing to accommodate modern printers. Her company regularly produces prototypes for different local businesses (Target Corp., for example), and offers customized/personalized designs for bags, pillows, tablecloths, curtains and more, in addition to banners. Banner Creations often works with other fabrication companies to do the printing and graphics parts of jobs. Customers do request recycled fabrics, she added, and her company specializes in the exclusive Ecophab™ fabric made from recycled plastic water bottles.
Seattle’s Rainier Industries started moving from making traditional fabric products 20 years ago, said vice president of operations Brian Rowinski, bought an expensive and complicated printer, and ultimately branched out into more eco-conscious inks, processes and materials. The company also recycles approximately three-fourths of its waste. Rainier now produces sophisticated graphics for exhibits, signage, retail displays and a variety of customized fabric products, and has created a wood shop, metal shop, fabric shop and print shop to serve customers in a variety of industries.
See more about IFAI Expo 2014 in the full Expo Recap.