The Orchid Story
Hello. My name is Mitesh Sanghani. And if you are reading this, you are probably curious about the people and the philosophy powering Orchid Digitals. Our history, how we got to where we currently are and what we see in our future.
I started Orchid Digitals in 2005. But worked in a number of jobs and a variety of industries before that. These included stints in a couple of finance companies. I also used to help out in my father’s paper business. Apart from this I taught IT, back when computers were still a novelty and I worked as a helper at a paper mill in Saharanpur. Heck, I even washed cars briefly, at a garage in Mumbai.
But two of my jobs helped plant the idea of a business in printing, in my mind…
- I acquired on-field training at a packaging unit at Mumbai
- And I worked as an apprentice at a large offset press in Pune
The offset printing industry had been around for decades. But the digital printing industry in India was fairly nascent, at the dawn of the millennium. Players in this field were few and far in between and I felt that making my mark in this field should be fairly easy.
But this assumption of mine turned out to be both right and wrong. Yes, Orchid did make a profit. But running a digital printing business was anything but easy.
Digital printing is not as difficult as lets say, rocket science. But it probably isn’t everybody’s cup of tea either. To run a digital print bureau, you need…
- A background in printing technology
- Some computer knowledge
- Basic skills in designing and layout
- You also should be willing to run and maintain some pretty complex equipment
So when I started this business, I had no idea what I was getting into. Some skills I had. But most of the remaining, I had to learn on the fly.
Orchid Digitals – The Journey So Far
The journey of Orchid Digitals (and with it, my own) has gone through several important milestones that got us where we are today. Let me take you on a quick stroll through this long and eventful journey that changed the City of Poona, and with it, Orchid Digitals and me.
Circa 2005 – 2009 | Sheet Fed Printing
Orchid Digitals started off with me as the owner and one employee. Our first job was processed on a small, second hand, black and white digital printer. Honestly speaking, it was just a glorified photocopier converted into a printer by virtue of being connected to a computer.
But the response was good. Digital printing was still at a nascent stage in Pune and there weren’t many players in the field. Demand was good and sales were booming. It made sense to expand into color printing and later on… to full blown digital presses.
As demand for digital printing surged, Orchid opened another branch in Pune to serve customers at a different geographical location. We also had a brief but ultimately unsuccessful foray into designing.
Circa 2008 – 2015 | Wide Format Printing | Opening of Branch II
High speed digital presses print on sheets of paper. But our customers also started demanding large banners, posters and hoardings. This prompted us to expand into the wide format printing space and bring in large sized industrial printers.
Our first couple of investments in wide format printing machines were pretty disastrous because we unknowingly brought in the wrong kind of equipment. But we learned from these (costly) mistakes and moved on. Currently we have an entire stable of cutting edge, wide format printers to service our client’s needs.
10 years into the business saw our employees gain a lot of experience in the digital printing field. This emboldened us to expand. It was time to send these employees into other markets and leverage Orchid’s strength further. So we opened a second retail outlet plumb in the center of Pune’s print bazaar – Mehunpura
Circa 2014 | Signage Division Started at Branch III
Educational institutes and heavy engineering factories have always been the economic backbone of Pune city. And the early 2000s saw a spurt in two more industries, IT and construction. All these sectors created a demand for high end signage. And so, having a presence in shop boards, logo boards and LED signs made sense.
Our third branch kicked off in 2014. This division specializes in fabricating sign boards made of materials like LEDs, acrylic and ACP sheets. A couple of laser cutting machines and CNC routers were deployed to cut and shape the above mentioned materials.
Till now we were only selling prints across our counter. But now, we also developed teams of fitters to install these signs and prints at end-point customer locations in and around Pune.
Circa 2015 | Flatbed Printing
Digital printing on paper and rolls of plastic became pretty commonplace by 2015. All our competitors were doing it. But there was one emerging technology in the field of printing that many were unaware of. And this was UV or ultraviolet printing. In more simpler terms, UV printers give you the ability to print directly on objects like wood, tiles, glass, leather, stone, etc.
We installed a couple of UV printers to cater to the specialised jobs of our customers. Flatbed UV printing, as a niche market service, was widely welcomed by our clients.
But the technology has yet to gain traction and widespread adaptation in the market. So while we have yet to make money off our UV printing division, I am happy that Orchid has covered this vertical in the digital printing field as well.
Circa 2020 – Covid & Changing Rules of the Print Industry
Orchid Digitals has always been blessed with a strong retail presence. The counters at our various branches in Shaniwar Peth see a respectable customer footfall. But the advent of universal broadband has opened up another market for us. We now aspire to cater to the online customer who may or may not be present in Pune city.
2020 saw Covid-19 and an unmitigated disaster for businesses all over the world. But it also taught us an important lesson. That is… that the future profitability of our print business depends on a strong online presence. Towards this end, we are currently porting a whole lot of our products to an online store.
While the Pune market has been taken care of, the boundaries of India are our new limits. And the rest of the world is a dream we look forward to converting… into a reality.
Looking to Chat? Reach Out.
You now know about our rather young legacy. If you have some questions or just want to chat, feel free to reach out.
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