Increased productivity of new generation offset presses and the decreasing number of total print volume are leading commercial offset printers to search for alternative methods to generate additional revenue. Many offset printers resort to digital printing alternatives and consumable trade as a way to source more income. Promotional gift article printing business is one such area that can help printers rope-in that extra revenue. MTC aka Magic Trading Company comes in picture at this point. In addition to providing personalized printing solutions to its clients, the company supplies various printing machineries and consumables to a wide range of entrepreneurs and printing companies in the region. They distribute heat transfer, sublimation machines and supplies, and printed materials to customers across the Middle East. ME Printer Magazine talked with Sina Haghi, General Manager of MTC to know more about the company and the services they offer.
Sina explained in detail about the possibilities of the printing and promotional articles market. “Yes, I believe it’s a good way to add revenue to the business. Most machinery in the gift printing business is relatively inexpensive, and require very little space, expertise and their payback period is also short. So, it’s an ideal way to generate additional revenue.”
MTC started business under the name of ‘Magic Plastic’ in 1989, and later took the name of Magic Trading Company in 1999.Explaining more about the company, Sina Haghi said that MTC is also the master distributor of promotional gift items in the Middle East. MTC also operates a printing and branding division for the production of promotional products. “Though the market for promotional gift items is very competitive nowadays, I believe that the market is still lucrative. It’s because in this industry each and every requirement or order placed will be unique. The gifts are usually tailor- made and are produced according to the requirements of the customers, and when customization is made in products, the price margin will always be high.” comments Haghi.
Sina pointed out that the market for promotional gift items has changed recently. “Earlier, companies used to give gifts either at the end of the year or during religious holidays (like Eid Al Fitr/ Eid Al Adha), but now the case is different. Promotional gifts are given during exhibitions and events, mainly to promote a product or a brand.”
MTC supports more than 1500 advertising companies in the Middle East and they have tried to establish themselves as a brand. Sina explained, “Our clients have great confidence in us. They are assured by our quality and punctuality that we provide through our services.”
The major services provided by the company include – commercial screen printing, heat transfer printing, indoor signs, commercial & industrial labels, button badges, producing pins, tie clips, name badges, ID solutions, rotary engraving, laser engraving, epoxy coating, sublimation printing, digital printing, acrylic awards & wooden plaque, vinyl printing & cutting.
Digital printing is gaining popularity and is gradually replacing screen printing in some markets. Expressing his views on this changing trend, Sina said, “Digital printing has cast some effect on the screen printing market, but the market for screen printing is not going to diminish in the near future. For example, you can witness the effects of screen printing in different areas like the Direct to Garment (DTG) Printers. Though many companies have tried to introduce direct to garment printers for printing t-shirts, they were not been able to penetrate the market yet. I think, that not even 0.01% of the promotional shirts that are printed today make use of DTG printers. The major reason behind this is that mostly DTG printers are not reliable, and the printing speed is very slow (it takes 15 minutes to print one shirt), and the cost of printing is also very high.”
He added, “The next method of printing employed is Heat Transfer. In this process, the pattern to be applied is first printed on a paper (using a laser/inkjet/wide format printer) and then through applying heat the pattern is transferred to the shirt. This method has been around for many years and many shirts are printed using this method. However, this method of printing is not going to replace screen printing either. MTC specializes in providing heat transfer printing services to its clients. Another method that can be adopted is sublimation transfer. Here, paper is printed using sublimation ink and by using heat, the image or the pattern is transferred to various items like metal, sheets, ceramic tiles, fabric, glass etc. The popularity for this method of printing has increased over the past 5 years. Screen printing was affected to a large extent by sublimation, and although it has taken a large market share from screen printing in some areas, it has not been able to replace screen printing. MTC had introduced sublimation transfer for the first time in the Middle East and since then we have been pioneers in this field.”
Pointing out the growth areas in his business, Sina said, “As mentioned earlier, sublimation transfer is an area that is showing growing popularity. ” Pointing out to the challenges that they face in the market, he said, “Using Internet anyone can find a supplier very easily and therefore bypass the local supplier. However, by providing good quality products and a reliable service to our clients at a reasonable price, we have been able to keep our position as the leader in this industry.”