Sun, Oct

Hatching a plan

Gary Toomey’s fledgling vegan PSP is on track to turnover £1m in its second year of business. The numbers seem to stack up, but is that what it’s all about?

“No one lives isolated and every action we take affects others and nature. We believe we need to protect the planet we live in, so we have made conscious decisions about how we run our business.” So says Gary Toomey who gave birth to Hatch Print in July 2017 - and why it’s vegan. Yes, vegan - since March this year it has held Vegetarian Society Approved vegan status. But that’s not all.

“Offering 100% animal-free products is a great achievement for Hatch as well as the printing industry. But it doesn’t stop there, we also offer recycled paper options, recycle our waste, have CO2 neutral press and LED lighting in our factory and are Gophr partners, meaning customers’ orders can be delivered by bicycle (no pollution) the very same day,” adds an enlightened Toomey, prompting PSPs to: “think of your product, suppliers and location and search for options to make it more sustainable and green.” As he sees it, “running a business in an environmentally-friendly way is becoming less of a choice. Nowadays, I believe it’s a necessity.”

Doing that has paid off for this innovative Bermondsey-based company that only this autumn reinforced its green credentials by offering a fully recyclable roller banner to the UK market. With a cardboard constructed base, paper based display and printed with vegan accredited processes, Hatch believes the product to be 100% recyclable due to its fully compostable materials. Its full size is 800 x 2000mm and, if carefully dealt with, it can be used multiple times. Oh, and its base has a lining of seeds so users can bury it when done with and potentially have a bed of flowers to mark the spot! 

It might sound whacky, but it’s based on commercial nous - as well as on an ethos to do the right thing. The company had a sales target of £500,000 in its first year and “we were just short by a couple of quid so, all in all we were very happy. Our average order value and daily order count are all where we need them to be and growth is steady with the target for our second year being £1m,” says Toomey, explaining that online orders (processed directly through the website) account for around half of the work Hatch produces in terms of job numbers. Of those, 60-70% are for large-format roller banner orders. “With the ability to deliver same day into the city [London] and next day internationally we are in a great position to hit so real crazy turnaround times, enthuses Toomey, who says: “I would expect that figure to grow as we plan on releasing more roller banner options.

“’Adapt or die’ has never been more relevant. Keeping products and services relevant is imperative - reacting, revising and innovating is key. It’s about listening to customers and transforming opinions into insight about the market and acting on that,” says Toomey. “I’ve been in print for good decade, I’ve worked in lots of areas, artwork, printing, large-format sales, marketing, so I guess I have developed a very well rounded set of skills. A lot of companies seem to be becoming more and more automated but you’ll notice through that, the customer service side of things begins to tale of so... if we wanted to Hatch to be a success we knew we had to make sure customer service was a key part of our operation. And that meant being greener.”

Given it uses HP large-format printers for its roller banners and HP Indigo for all of its small-format work, Toomey says “we had to work with HP to have all the inks signed off as vegan. We also worked with the Vegetarian Society, discussing our products, the materials we use, the packaging, tape we use, everything. It was a great to really go back to the roots of a product and tick off every aspect to ensure everything is as green as it possibly can be.  

“I think in a world which is waking up to being green and ethical we need to work together as an industry to develop products that are just that - ethical, green, recyclable.

“We have lots of ideas, lots of products ready to release, lots still in R&D which we will release when we know we are ready and have the ability to deliver and hold our ground. We are very excited for the year ahead and what we can bring to the market.”

It will be interesting to see how this works out and whether being vegan is good for business longer term, but it’s not all about he money. As Toomey points out: “The main thing is that we did it for ourselves, for our impact on society and earth, and I think that’s the main thing, right?”

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