Based in the Chicago area, MagnetStreet for years was known for its promotional magnets, offering popular items such as magnetic business cards, calendars, and sport schedules. Founded in 1991, the family-owned company was one of the first to offer short-run, full color magnets and became successful catering to real estate agents and mortgage brokers, businesses, and schools.
When the housing market was at its peak in the mid-2000s, MagnetStreet entered the wedding industry with “save the date” magnets. A hit among brides looking to announce their wedding date with a memorable magnet, the product generated a soaring business in return and opened the door to additional opportunities. Bert Bunn, Production Manager at MagnetStreet, comments, “We began to look at custom, short-run wedding invitations next and realized we had everything for the design and printing and just needed to acquire the equipment to convert the printed paper into finished pieces.” According to Bunn, wedding invitations are a $2 billion dollar industry with about 200,000 weddings taking place every month. As the economy downturned and took their real estate business along with it, the company made use of their two digital production presses and cylinder die-cutter and began producing invitations for the growing bridal clientele.
The digital presses produced high quality, full color invitations right from the start. The company developed a series of highly customizable and color photo invitations of various styles and sizes to meet any wish but when the time came to finishing, the shop hit a bottleneck. “Our cylinder die-cutter takes about 25 minutes to do a changeover and if it has a score, it takes longer,” he adds. With the set-up taking as long as the run time, finishing became unproductive.
Delivering short turnarounds
Searching for a solution that could handle the issue, the company brought on Duplo’s (Booth 202) DC-645 Slitter/Cutter/Creaser. The DC-645 provides the automation and quick changeovers they require and made it efficient for finishing as it eliminates white borders and prevents toner cracking in a single pass. “On the DC-645, my changeover is 30 seconds. It allows us to save our programs, call them up and it quickly adjusts for the next job,” says Bunn. “It has slitting wheels and a small guillotine so we can cut in both directions and program them for a particular size, which is key for our rectangular and square products. It also creases without any secondary operations.”
Business only skyrocketed in the following years, prompting them to add a second DC-645 unit and then the high production DC-745 model. With the Slitter/Cutter/Creasers on hand, the company was able to reduce turnarounds and accommodate increasing volumes. “It’s been great,” he comments. “Two years ago we were running 15 invitation orders a day and now we’re up to 60 a day.”
Thanks to the automation the digital presses and Duplo equipment provide, MagnetStreet was able to transition without any personnel layoffs and easily train inexperienced employees.
Printing for life’s moments
The success of their invitations made it possible to provide for other life moments and MagnetStreet has since added baby shower, graduation, quinceañera, and anniversary announcements to their product lineup. With about 60% of their customers now brides, there is no doubt they’ve made up for the loss of business that came with the recession. “We’ve made the transition to the direct consumer, which of course means better profit margins and a better opportunity for growth,” says Bunn.
Transforming any company during a recession is never an easy task. Yet, MagnetStreet used innovation to turn an economical challenge into an opportunity for growth and success.