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The Sweet Smell of Success at JEP Productions

(April 2005) posted on Fri Apr 08, 2005

Read on to find out how the company's inventiveness led to a new ink product that's as appealing to the nose as it is to the eyes.

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By Lori Leaman

The next challenge surfaced when JEP moved its newly acquired "screen-printing shop in a truck" to the new facility, only to realize that the shop was not equipped with the proper electrical service to support operation of all of the equipment. Expanding the electrical service was a proposition that would have set the company back $20,000, so JEP invested in a smaller, used electric dryer that wouldn't overextend the breaker box. A year later, they added a larger, gas-fired M&R Sprint dryer, which is still in use today.

"When starting a screen-printing shop, you really better know what you're doing," Watson says. "I just don't think the average screen printer utilizes the industry. There's so much knowledge out there, whether it's how to run your small business or how to make your press run better. [Suppliers] are falling all over themselves to give out that information."

Once the equipment was set up and ready to go, JEP was faced with yet another obstacle. They wanted to equip their automatic press with an M&R registration system; however, the press was an older model and the printheads were located too close to each other, making it impossible for the registration system to fit. The only practical solution was to weld extensions onto the arms of the press. They hired a welder and, in a single day, disassembled and moved the press out of the shop, added extensions to the arms, returned the press to the shop and reassembled it, then bolted it back onto the floor.

With a Rolodex containing only one business card, and no business cards of their own, Watson and Hewitt knew it was time to begin pounding the pavement and drumming up business. They began by contacting their sole client, a broker who represented the 25 Hooters restaurants for which they printed garments.

"We always wanted to be in the niche of knowing how to do all the latest and up-and-coming styles of prints," Watson says. "This forced our hand because [Hooters] always wanted something new and different. We were doing a nice piece of business with this one customer."


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