DEMAND FOR SPECIALTY CARDS ON THE RISE
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.
Checking to ensure all the parameters are correct.