Wilson Lau is one of the co-founders of JoinPrint, a printing company operating out of Hong Kong that serves clients around the world. The company offers both design and printing services, primarily to corporate clients.
In addition to large scale printing for businesses JoinPrint offers other services for individuals, such as wedding invitation design and printing. Wilson started the company from scratch.
Wilson, how did you get the idea to found JoinPrint?
After finishing my Law degree at King’s College London I decided to start a new adventure in Hong Kong. At University, I was involved in a lot of event organising – in this capacity I was connected to a lot of UK based printers.
When I wanted high quality, customised printed products I used the local London based printing companies, but when I wanted standardised, un-customised, cheaper products I used companies like VistaPrint who are known for doing bargain products.
After a time, it became apparent that it was tricky to find that balance where I could get high quality products at affordable prices. So when I moved back to Hong Kong I wanted to fill this gap and replicate the quality and bespoke service of the local London printers but at good prices.
Do you have a background in the printing industry?
Yes, having worked with different printers in the UK allowed it me to develop an understanding and knowledge of the industry. As a former customer myself, during the production selection and the R&D process, I gained empathy with important things like paper selection, printing methods, and finishing options.
This is why during the R&D for our products we put extra focus on these things. With a semi-customisable production method, we’re able to provide high quality printed products, especially business cards at an affordable price.
Most of our customers love the quality of our business cards and it is very important to have high quality business cards as they are a representation of you as an individual, as well as your business.
Is this the first company you have founded or co-founded?
Yes. I am confident that it will continue to grow so long as we keep working hard and trying to offer the best possible service and products for our customers.
How many countries does JoinPrint operate in? And which one are you based in?
JoinPrint currently prints to customers all over the world but mainly; Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, UK and the USA. We are currently setting up a new factory in Australia and are planning a factory for the US too. The will help improve the turnover time of our products in these locations.
What were some of the challenges you faced in setting up your printing business?
As we own our own manufacturing site, we had to deal with a very tough financial situation whilst we tried to build our customer base. We had to invest money and resources into marketing to boost sales as quickly as possible.
Secondly, when orders started to increase rapidly our production site was not ready to fill the big demand. This caused delays to delivery whilst the company suffered through these growing pains. I treat this as a valuable learning experience.
Without these problems, I wouldn’t have designed the internal logistics program and developed the automated production processes that we have now. We are now printing over 50,000 business cards per day, and are only able to do this due to the lessons learned from these challenges.
Do you use any special software or technology in your design and printing?
We’re using the latest HP indigo machines. The printing quality is one of the best in the industry. With this, we also have an online business card design engine, which allows users with no designing experience to create spectacular designs that represent themselves.
Do you help people to design their cards, invitations and flyers as well as print them?
We encourage people to use our design engine or templates, but if they need additional help we offer a service in which our in-house designers will design products that suit the customers’ requests and personal objectives.