“Second acts” are becoming more and more common as people extend their working years with a career change. Kathy Schneider, owner of Instant Imprints Fullerton in Fullerton, CA, never expected to be a sign shop owner. After 20 years at an insurance company, a change in healthcare laws eliminated the product she worked on and with it, her job.
Schneider spent a year trying to decide what to do next. “It was too soon for me to retire,” she said. She picked up a job consulting on social media software for franchisees, and while attending a conference, was introduced to Instant Imprints’ franchise opportunities. “We liked their ‘do it all in one place’ concept,” she said.
Instant Imprints Fullerton opened in late 2013 with a staff of two and a Roland VersaCAMM VS wide-format printer/cutter. So far, they are off to a great start. Kathy’s son, Stephen, runs the shop. Her husband Jim and kids Hayden and Christine also help out when needed.
Schneider appreciates the versatility her Roland VersaCAMM VS provides. “One of the main features for us with the VersaCAMM VS was the versatility and margin of profitability it allows. We can produce just about anything,” she said.
Instant Imprints Fullerton offers decals, posters, banners, door and window graphics, and vehicle graphics. “The print/cut feature saves space and speeds up our workflow,” she said. They also use the printer to produce heat transfers for garments including hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts and bags to promote businesses or special events.
“The quality of the printing from our VersaCAMM VS is spectacular,” she said. To demonstrate the VersaCAMM’s print resolution, Schneider asked several print shops with different manufacturers’ equipment to produce the same graphic. “We have all the prints hanging side-by-side in our store—it makes it easy to see the quality we offer with the Roland,” she said.
Instant Imprints Fullerton’s clients are primarily mid-size businesses and entrepreneurs, though their larger corporate sales are increasing. Their customer list also includes many photographers, authors, and artists seeking to promote their work. “We really value working with the small businesses that make our community so special,” said Schneider.
Instant Imprints Fullerton also provides signage for two local colleges and the arboretum. Schneider noted that her shop uses only Roland inks. “The quality of the inks is very important for us and for our clients. Especially for our artist clientele—they want their work accurately reproduced,” she said.
“Our customers usually start out asking us to print out one or two things, then they come back for more,” said Schneider. Instant Imprints Fullerton has a full time graphic designer on staff to help its clients design logos and other marketing essentials.
Schneider feels her corporate career and consulting work prepared her well for running her own shop. She has confidence in her staff and equipment and sees a bright future for Instant Imprints Fullerton. “We have an all-in-one printer for our ‘do it all in one place’ shop,” she said. “The VersaCAMM is the perfect output solution for our business.”