Industry Exposed | Future Grafix
Our industry is full of great people with great talent, doing innovative and inspiring things. Our NEW Industry Exposed segment aims to uncover these industry legends, with the purpose of “getting-to-know” our fellow NZSDA Members and be motivated and inspired by one another.
FUTURE GRAFIX | Logan and the team at Future Grafix are our very first candidates as they have stood out for their recent #shoplocal incentives that some of you will have already seen. If you haven’t, check them out here
This week, we asked Logan to share how this shop local incentive inspired a local councilor to pledge $10,000 of their council income to local businesses, his advice on being in business in this industry and the most clever use of advertising he’s come across. Get to know the “Traffic Controller” at Future Grafix a little better:
Hi, I’m Logan, my wife Krystal and I own Future Grafix in New Plymouth. Around here I’m known as the traffic controller due to the number of jobs in the air that I’m juggling each day. Everything from meeting clients, quoting & measuring, project management, a bit of design, and occasionally I even get out on the tools.
Tell us how you got into the sign industry?
Wow, that’s a really long story that actually starts when I was 13 years old, but the short version which starts several years later goes something like this…
Future Grafix was started as a partnership between my uncle and I in 2002. I was cash poor, I had just purchased my first home, and my uncle had 5 kids at home and wasn’t exactly cashed up either. We went to the bank and borrowed $5000, just enough money to purchase a new PC, with a 19-inch monitor (that was huge back then!) and some second-hand copies of some design software. We both worked other jobs while we grew the business. We took on any project we could designing day and night and then brokering out print and sign production to local providers. As the business grew, we purchased printing and print finishing equipment and continued to broker sign projects.
A lot of our clients were coming to us out of frustration with their own sign providers not getting back to them with quotes and taking a really long time to turn jobs around. We were having the same problems with our own providers, so we made the decision to bring it in house. We purchased a used plotter, ran an ad in the Herald and employed our first sign writer. The sign side of our business quickly outgrew the print side, and pretty soon we had a team of people and a heap of gear. I grew more and more interested in signs and production methodology and continued to focus on growing that side of the business. 18 years later, here we are.
Tell us about your “shop local” incentives, what exactly are you doing, and what do you hope to see from this?
I spent the last week of lockdown on the phone calling all of our regular customers. I wanted to see how they were faring with their physical and mental health, and financially gauge their outlook on business over the next 30-60 days. I spent hours chatting to some great people, sharing ideas about how they could adapt and pivot their businesses to make the most out of the move to Level 3. The common theme was that everyone (myself included) felt a sense of relief, but many were also feeling quite anxious, not really knowing how they were going to bounce back. There was a lot of concern about how much longer they could go with reduced turnover before they were going to lay off staff or in some cases close their doors permanently. I offered encouragement and our services and time to anyone that needed it.
Then my wife stumbled across a video on Facebook of someone putting a tab on at a local coffee shop to try and encourage people to go in and support the business. We both agreed that this was a fantastic idea and got started the next day.
So far we have visited a number of our clients and set up tabs and promoted them through our social media channels. These initiatives include…
- Free coffee with purchase at a cafe.
- $10 off your takeaways at an Indian restaurant.
- 2 FREE broccoli with purchase at a fruit and veg shop.
- Free cupcake with purchase at a local cakery.
- Free frozen yoghurt when you purchase another at a local frozen yoghurt place.
- Free bowl of curly fries with purchase at a bar and bistro.
The hope was the we might help even just one more business stay open or keep one more person employed because someone had made a decision to #shoplocal instead of buying from a chain store or online. We also wanted to see others #payitforward.
Once we started a number of people in our community reached out to see if they could borrow the idea to help support their local businesses. We even had some other signees around the country jumping in on the action. But, the most humbling moment was when a local city councilor posted on Facebook saying he was so inspired by our efforts that he would pledge $10,000 of his council income to help local cafes and restaurants $200 per week, 1 business at a time.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about what I do, is when a customer reaches out to share their success stories. Knowing that the design work and/or the signs we made have had a positive impact on their business is an amazing feeling.
It gives me a purpose and keeps me focused on the next project.
What motivates you?
I’m super passionate and enthusiastic about the work we do at Future Grafix. I’m driven by an un-wavering commitment to serve our clients well and deliver meaningful projects that push boundaries and ultimately have a positive impact on their organisation.
When someone finds out what you do, what question do they always ask you?
It normally starts with, “…my son/daughter is really good on the computer and they want to be a graphic designer, can they come in and work with you after school or in the holidays?…”
What advice do you have for someone starting their own business in the industry?
Don’t undersell yourself by trying to win every job on price. Find a niche, something you are good at and you love doing, focus your energy on growing that, and concentrate on doing an amazing job. You’ll feel good about what you do and you’ll look forward to going to work each day.
What is the most clever or funniest use of advertising you’ve seen?
I am a big fan of guerrilla marketing and Americans definitely do it best. When we took a trip to Los Angeles quite a few years ago I saw a very large floor graphic in a mall of a dog advertising some flea treatment. From the higher levels when you looked down the people walking over the graphic looked like fleas. It’s stuck in my mind every since.
What big problem do you think technology will solve next?
In the wake of Covid-19, it has become really evident how a global virus can bring the entire planet to a grinding halt and devastate the world economy. A universal vaccine that protected people against all variants of virus’ would be fantastic. There are some clever people working on this right now, and technology is a lot further ahead now then when the last pandemic hit. I would like to think this isn’t out of reach.
What is the best event you’ve attended?
I attended PacPrint in Melbourne a few years ago. That was pretty awesome. The next big event I’d really love to attend the EntrLeadership Summit in SAN Diego.
Any final words of wisdom?
I’ve recently finished reading a book by Roy T Bennet, called The Light in the Heart. It’s about the importance of nurturing your mind with positive thoughts. Something he writes that has really stuck with me is this
“Attitude is a choice, Optimism is a choice, Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
Thank you Logan for taking part!