DE­MAND FOR SPE­CIALTY CARDS ON THE RISE

Australasian Timber - - FRONT PAGE -

There’s a rel­a­tively new busi­ness op­er­at­ing in Melbourne with a be­lief that you “wooden” be able to say it better than with their spe­cialty cards! GreeniGo, brain­child of Vivek Pan­chak­shari, is us­ing wood ve­neers for spe­cialty mes­sage cards ... and, he says, the cards are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar by the day. How­ever, it hasn’t been all clear sail­ing to get to this stage. Vivek had a ca­reer in IT Con­sult­ing for more than eight years but he al­ways be­lieved he could do more than a 9 to 5 cor­po­rate job. Af­ter com­plet­ing post-grad­u­ate stud­ies in Busi­ness and IT at The Univer­sity of Melbourne in 2008 he tried set­ting up busi­nesses but failed in a cou­ple of ven­tures like im­port­ing roses from Ethiopia to Aus­tralia. In early 2012, he came across a niche prod­uct from the USA which was printed on pa­per thin wood ve­neer. He then im­me­di­ately felt the need to in­tro­duce it to Aus­tralian mar­ket as he could see a big po­ten­tial in eco-friendly prod­ucts. In his favour he had pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in print­ing in­dus­try as he grew up work­ing in his father’s print and copy busi­ness in In­dia. In 2013, he went part time at his day job as he was try­ing to fig­ure out the right print­ing tech­nique and ma­chin­ery re­quired in Aus­tralia to print on wood ve­neers. By early 2014 he went full time into the busi­ness and founded GreeniGo - an eco-friendly designer wood cards busi­ness with a vi­sion to be an eco-friendly designer sta­tionery and lifestyle prod­ucts brand in the next 10 years. “In 2013, we used to im­port stan­dard prod­ucts such as wood book­marks, cal­en­dars, coast­ers, jot­ters, note­books, etc,. which were printed overseas by the sup­plier and were sold in the week­end mar­kets at Fed­er­a­tion Square in Melbourne. “Soon cus­tomers showed in­ter­est in print­ing cus­tom de­signs such as wedding in­vites on wood ve­neers, how­ever, we could not print lo­cally as no printer had printed on this ma­te­rial be­fore and were hes­i­tant to feed com­mer­cial print­ers with wood ve­neers! “This led us to bor­row money from overseas and pur­chase an ex­ist­ing print­ing busi­ness in Melbourne so that we could start of­fer­ing print­ing on wood ve­neer ser­vice lo­cally and not rely on overseas sup­plier for print­ing needs. We launched our busi­ness at Bridal Expo in mid-2013 and cus­tomers loved the look and feel of wood ve­neer which led to many cus­tom print or­ders,” said Vivek. Eco-friendly al­ter­na­tive Early 2014, Vivek de­cided to en­ter the gift in­dus­try by of­fer­ing wood greet­ing cards as an eco-friendly al­terna-

“Many govern­ment clients in­sisted on get­ting lo­cal wood ve­neer so GreeniGo has worked with a ply­wood com­pany lo­cally and suc­cess­fully man­u­fac­tured print­able Hoop Pine ve­neer”

native op­tion com­pared to pa­per cards. “It was a very suc­cess­ful launch as we got many stock­ists on board who were will­ing to pur­chase our cards in bulk at whole­sale rates and sell them at re­tail prices. Over the next two to three years GreeniGo was pro­moted via social me­dia and also through graphic de­sign­ers who were able to get cor­po­rate and govern­ment clients on board.” Ob­vi­ously Vivek was a bit ret­i­cent when it came to di­vulging any de­tail about the process but he added ... “we have a com­mer­cial printer that has been mod­i­fied to our re­quire­ments to print on wood ve­neers. Print­ing on this new ma­te­rial wood ve­neer is a very hard process com­pared to pa­per but this for­tu­nately gives us an op­por­tu­nity to be a leader in the in­dus­try”. Cur­rently, GreeniGo im­ports wood ve­neers made from Birch, Cherry, Maple and Oak wood logs in the USA. How­ever, many of their govern­ment clients in­sisted on get­ting lo­cal wood ve­neer so GreeniGo has worked with a ply­wood com­pany lo­cally and suc­cess­fully man­u­fac­tured print­able Hoop Pine ve­neer. More lo­cal con­tent “We are work­ing on in­creas­ing the num­ber of lo­cally sourced wood species for cus­tomers to have a wider range to choose from and print their art­work on lo­cally made print­able wood ve­neers,” he said. When asked whether the cards had been well re­ceived so far, Vivek was quick to re­ply --“Def­i­nitely YES. “Cus­tomers are be­ing more cau­tious about the en­vi­ron­ment like never be­fore. “Wood ve­neer be­ing 100% bio-degrad­able and us­ing very less re­sources com­pared to pa­per, has made it more pop­u­lar for the right rea­sons. Most im­por­tantly wood ve­neer man­u­fac­tur­ing process uses far less chem­i­cals com­pared to pa­per. In ad­di­tion, our cus­tomers love the real wood grains com­pared to plain white pa­per.” Vivek said that, at this stage, the man­u­fac­tur­ing process of wood ve­neer takes more time as no other com­pany in Aus­tralia has in­vested in spe­cial equip­ments re­quired to pro­duce wood ve­neers which are as thin as pa­per (0.6 mm). Right equip­ment “We are cur­rently work­ing with in­vestors to raise cap­i­tal so that we can get the right equip­ment to stream­line the man­u­fac­tur­ing process and to make the prod­uct af­ford­able to ev­ery­day peo­ple. In ad­di­tion, print­ing on these wood ve­neers can be made more ef­fi­cient as well by hav­ing right sys­tems and pro­cesses in place,” he said. And what of the fu­ture ? “Af­ter six years of hard work we are now ready to take the busi­ness to next level. Cur­rently, we are speak­ing to po­ten­tial in­vestors who can be­lieve in our vi­sion and be a part of our jour­ney.” With the right in­vestors on board GreeniGo in­tends to com­mit to the fol­low­ing plans over the next three to four years: Ap­ply for In­ter­na­tional Pa­tent and Ac­cel­er­at­ing Com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion Grants Set up man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity to pro­duce wood ve­neers and sup­ply to pa­per mer­chants lo­cally and overseas. Or we can also use ex­ist­ing ply­wood man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany’s fa­cil­ity and set up ex­clu­sive li­cense agree­ment White la­bel print­ing on Aus­tralian wood sheets ser­vice to ex­ist­ing 150 + com­mer­cial print­ers around the coun­try so that they will act as job col­lec­tion and dis­patch lo­ca­tions and we will have full con­trol over print­ing ser­vice Of­fer lo­cally de­signed, printed Aus­tralian Wood Greet­ing cards to ex­ist­ing Aus­tralian de­sign­ers and Indige­nous artists fol­low­ers/cus­tomers Get more stock­ists on board to of­fer Aus­tralian de­signed and made wood greet­ing cards in do­mes­tic and overseas mar­kets by at­tend­ing gift in­dus­try trade ex­pos in Aus­tralia and overseas

Some of the spe­cial­ist card sam­ples.

It’s all down to the de­tail.

The de­sign team.

Vivek Pan­chak­shari.

Check­ing to en­sure all the pa­ram­e­ters are cor­rect.

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