Here we are again; another year in the books and another issue of WRAPS magazine! 2014, by most accounts, looks to be a busy year for the industry as most of the ancillary industries our industry serves continue to grow their revenues.
And 2013 was the biggest rebound year we’ve had since 2009; and from my perspective as a media manufacturer, we saw more unique applications for our products than we’ve seen in a long time-which leads me to the point of this article.
Alternative wrapping films such as solid color and structured films took center stage in 2013 in the automotive restyling and commercial graphics markets, however, behind the scenes these films were also being used in not-so-obvious ways. Here we’ll meet some companies that leave wrapping the cars and trucks for the masses, and who instead wrap outside the box… er… outside the vehicle that is.
Designers are having a dynamic impact on the graphics industry-by designers, I don’t mean graphic designers; I’m talking about architectural, environmental and interior designers. These agencies and companies are embracing wrapping films in a big way and are using them in ways the typical sign company or wrap shop may not have thought of before.
One such company is C.O.A.S.T, an interior design firm in Savannah, Ga., that is owned by Wendolyn Sellers. The company specializes in interior design, lighting and custom furniture-the latter being the focal point for our discussion.
The restoration and re-birth process required for creating one-off custom furniture pieces to fit a particular client’s needs can be very time consuming and labor intensive. That’s why Seller began to look outside the normal options of paints and textiles.
“My process is time consuming, difficult and above all, messy,” she says. “Using some of the new textured vinyl films that are available has allowed me to create a unique look without all of the other baggage.”
When asked why she decided to look into vinyl, she said, “I live in a relatively small market, so I needed to create a niche with my designs. Because most people don’t know these products exist, my products stand out as being very unique.”
For those of you who may not be aware, there is now a large selection of the textured vinyl wrapping films on the market that are available in a variety of flavors-from carbon fiber and crocodile skin, to patterns that look like honeycomb, and even felt. These films not only have the look, they have the feel as well-which gives designers a whole new library of products to use in their creations.
“When designing a particular space, I would typically use textiles, flooring or accessories to create the depth,” Sellers says. “But with all the vinyl options of colors, textures and patterns, the furniture can now create the depth. This opens up a whole new avenue of creativity in my market.”
Now there may be some traditionalists out there saying, “Hey, that’s not a wrap!” but in my mind, if you are covering something with vinyl, and it makes you money, it is a wrap!
Convenience Store Wraps
Next, I want to introduce you to Signs by Joey, a company in Waycross, Ga., that uses the more traditional solid color wrapping films in a way that is not only smart, but also efficient, and his client loves it! Signs by Joey is a full-service sign company that handles projects both small and large-from vehicle graphics to channel letters. Joey Chancey owns the business and does a great job of staying current with the newest materials and technologies available to the industry. I actually had the pleasure of spending a day with Joey, and that’s when I learned of the unique way in which he uses solid color wrapping films.
Chancey’s company provides a turnkey sign package for a chain of convenience stores that has a consistent brand and uses every type of signage you can think of-which is where the wrapping comes in.
You see, Chancey has a variety of components that all need to match the same color while maintaining durability and cost-effectiveness. Oh yeah, and the business can’t be closed for any measurable amount of time.
“We use solid color wrapping film on gas pumps, gas pump canopies, aluminum filler panels, sign cabinets and even entire store fronts,” Chancey says. “We have found that when comparing vinyl to paint, the product has great gloss, it does not chalk out over time and it allows us the ability to fabricate, wire, wrap and install a sign cabinet in a single day.” Whoa!
Chancey’s product is now being used in more than 200 locations and historically the client would have its employed painter freshen up the stores with a new coat of paint from time to time. Now, when older stores need to be refreshed, the client’s painter now gets the vinyl from Joey and applies the vinyl rather than painting.
Chancey says that another added benefit of vinyl over paint-one that was the most important to the client-is that no business is lost during this process. When using paint, gas pump panels have to be removed, and the pump has to be shut off, for as long as it takes to remove, re-paint, and re-install the panel. That, of course, results in lost revenue for the convenient store owner.
Don’t Miss the Boat
I asked Joey was if he had any words of advice for those who might be reading this article, and his response rings pretty loudly: “If you are not already doing this, then you’re missing the boat,” he says. “We live in a fast-paced world, and we are trying to make as much profit as possible for ourselves, and for our customers. I am so glad I found this wrap product-it’s a lot easier wrapping gas pumps, canopies and store fronts versus wrapping cars.” Well said, Joey.
Push the Envelope
I’ve always said that it is the fabricators, designers, and installers who push the envelope of the materials that manufacturers produce for the industry. These are shining examples of how creative companies take products made for one application and then completely turn it on its head-and that is what drives the need to create the new products that eventually become the norm.
Remember about 10 years ago when you first saw this new and exciting thing called a vehicle wrap? I say, keep pushing the envelope. Stay in touch with your material manufacturers and offer your ideas and hurdles-trust me, we’re listening.