With a 30 year history striping and detailing Minis, Sean Beeston’s heritage working with the iconic automobile brand as a sign maker is unique, and investment in a Mimaki CJV150 printer/cutter has fuelled the Stripes & Graphics business; developing new product lines, expanding the team and attracting new customers.
Starting out in the 1990s as a valeter with a box of car stripes, Beeston grew his business on recommendation, supplying and fitting graphics to a growing number of Mini dealerships across the Midlands and North West. When Stripes & Graphics purchased its Mimaki CJV150 towards the end of a turbulent 2020, the business soon took new directions as it reaped the benefits of bringing print in-house.
“We’d previously bought in our print requirement, but as the business grew, we needed to ensure we gained tighter control of our supplies,” Beeston describes. “The Mimaki has been central to our growth as, throughout the pandemic, we were able to offer a wider variety of products that met the needs of new and existing clients.”
In addition to supplying and fitting vehicle liveries, Stripes & Graphics enjoyed strong demand for shop signage and window graphics, with the addition of new products including floor graphics and safety signage helping boost profits and stem the downtrend of a depressed motor trade. However, when that side of the business picked up, introducing further new options such as pull-up banners and dealer branded facemasks brought new revenue streams along too. “Aside from the fact we can offer a wider product range, we’re saving around £4-5,000 a month by producing digital print on the Mimaki ourselves,” Beeston confirms.
Purchasing the CJV150 from Mimaki Authorised Reseller Partner, Granthams, Beeston appreciated the level of training and technical knowledge he received after delivery. “Granthams have been superb. We were up and running in a day, and the Mimaki, alongside the laminator that was installed at the same time, have been an integral part of the business ever since.”
Stripes & Graphics is now a true family enterprise, with Sean’s wife Jackie overseeing the accounts, and sons Robbie and Lewis joining the business to help cope with demand. “We pick up nearly all our customers through word-of-mouth,” he continues, citing a large order for wrapped point of sale units that benefits from the high print quality of the CJV150. “We’ve never previously been able to deliver full colour print at this quality, so offering high-end point of sale material is a real advantage for us.”
One client that’s benefiting from Stripes & Graphics expanded product range is Acorn Motor Group, the highly rated Kia, MG and Suzuki specialists with multiple dealerships across Staffordshire and Cheshire. “Stripes & Graphics handle all the vehicle graphics for their new cars, as well as branding and signage across the dealerships. We’re even involved in supplying and fitting the paint protection film for their high-end ‘Specialist Cars’ arm, working on Ferraris and Bentleys to ensure they stay looking as good as when they left the showroom,” Beeston notes.
With rising demand, Stripes & Graphics moved into brand new, 2,000sq ft premises in Ollerton, near Market Drayton, Shropshire in January 2022. “We’ve always offered a mobile service, fitting graphics and window tints on-site at car dealerships and vehicle accident repair centres, but the new premises give us a new angle on how we work,” he continues. “Providing a clean and controlled environment to apply graphics, along with a studio for handling our logo design and branding work elevates our service once again.”
Still supplying customers whose business he won over 25 years ago, Beeston sees a bright future for Stripes & Graphics. “Robbie and Lewis share my philosophy of delivering high quality custom designs and it’s fulfilling to see the business serving our motor trade customers so well, whilst at the same time, bringing new customers from other industries on board with innovative and exciting products.”