This month's featured business is Big Quince Print, which now incorporates Duck Duck Goose Print Design Signs.
Stuart Dawes and Alice Teasdale have recently bought Duck Duck Goose and added it to their existing business in order to create a branding and signage "hub", which produces signs, banners, garments, car decals, brochures, business cards, and other promotional items and signage. Most items are printed here on the island.
They are working hard, like us all, to be competitive in spite of freight costs. They are also steadily expanding the scope of the business by researching new print media and processes.
It's an adventure worth reading about!
"We help sell the KI brand by helping tourist and export businesses to market professionally, and we also keep things ticking for island businesses. We are on display to tourists in park signage and at historic sites such as Reeves Point. It's important this all looks as good as possible for as long as possible."
Briefly tell us about your business
Big Quince Print began out of hardship in 2007, when Stuart lost his job a week after our second child was born. Over the next few months of struggling to find work in Adelaide's inner north, we developed an idea for a business in innovative t-shirt printing, jumping in on the new digital printing technology which enabled full colour designs to be printed directly onto garments and fabric.
In Adelaide, we did unusual and varied jobs for everybody from Simon Bryant (The Cook & the Chef) to Mark Thompson (writer of Blokes & Sheds and ABC TV series The Lost Tools of Henry Hoke). We printed handkerchiefs, silk for bespoke garments, and thousands of t-shirts.
Unfortunately, the digital technology repeatedly let us down with financially crippling printer breakdowns, but we always seemed to have a body of loyal customers and a constant flow of enquiries.
The evolution since then has been monumental. In 2012, we moved to join family on Kangaroo Island, bringing technology and stock with us. We resurrected the business here on a smaller scale, with a view to serving the tourist market.
In 2016 after our main digital t-shirt printer finally and catastrophically turned up its toes, we decided to move across to sign writing and fill the gap left by Tiffany Bell after the birth of the gorgeous Archie. Tiffany sold us her business, Duck Duck Goose Print Design Signs, and the wonderful goodwill and portfolio she had built up over several years since she bought it from Luke Conaghty, who had also served the island well. A hard act to follow!
We had recently moved the old art room from Kingscote campus to our farm, and this provided a perfect workshop for both businesses to work side by side. The business has grown very rapidly since then, with large sign and banner orders from Parks and a range of island businesses.
The equipment we have includes a wide-format printer and a plotter cutter, so we are able to create all manner of signs here on the island. We outsource small paper print jobs to Darry at KI Paperworks, and large jobs (e.g. 250+ business cards) to trade printers so that we can offer rock bottom prices for quality work.
We also design logos, brochures, business cards etc. While not trained graphic designers, both Stuart and I have been drawing and designing for most of our careers. If we know we're out of our depth we have some very artistic and accomplished local designers we can call on.
We also have a 6-station screen printing carousel. Going backwards technologically turned out to be the best bet! In addition, we can use the big sign printer to offer some very high quality digital options for garments. We can supply garments from most of Australia's blank garment suppliers, and can also supply workwear.
What is new in your business worthy of news?
We have decided to bring Duck Duck Goose Print Design Signs under the umbrella of our previous business name, Big Quince Print, for smoothness of operations - even though people are so familiar with Tiffany's brand! People will be able to find us either way still, but both are under one roof and operating as one business.
We have been busy investigating equipment and supplies which will widen the options for customers. For example, we now stock vinyls for every circumstance - short term for a tight budget, through to premium cast vinyl for where ultra-longevity is needed.
Our latest fad is car wraps. We're about to put an all-over colourful print on our own car (we'll make our first-time stuff-ups at home!) and have a customer car booked in straight after that.
How does or can your business contribute to the business community (ie provide employment, function room, catering, hire equipment, support services etc)?
A lot of work is being done at the moment to sell the Kangaroo Island "brand" to the rest of the world, and we as islanders should be proud of that. World class coffee, wine, beer, cheese, meat, produce, art, architecture and more is being recognised widely, with its unique and refreshing origins as part of the mystique. Tourists are having experiences they'll never forget.
There are also the everyday businesses and organisations serving islanders - refrigeration, flooring, curtains, plumbing, electrical, groceries, employment, education and so forth.
We serve both cohorts. We help sell the KI brand by helping tourist and export businesses to market professionally, and we also keep things ticking for island businesses. We are on display to tourists in park signage and at historic sites such as Reeves Point. It's important this all looks as good as possible for as long as possible.
At the moment, we're trying hard to make our prices as competitive as we can so that businesses already disadvantaged by freight costs don't have to struggle to pay for necessary signage. In most cases, we can offer a product at the same price it'd be if shipped from a printer in town (i.e. we try to match shipped prices). It's not viable for us to ignore our freight costs, but we do try to buy stock in bulk to get free, or at least combined shipping. We also work from home to keep overheads down.
Why did you join Business Kangaroo Island and how do you see it helping your business?
Networking is a key part of growing a business. More of our jobs come from personal connections and word-of-mouth than anywhere else. Innovation is driven by connections like this.
I attended some BKI events and not only learned a lot from visiting speakers, but felt welcome among people all trying to build strong businesses in the local area. I made important connections which stand to benefit Stu and I in our ability to serve island businesses with professionalism.
Joining BKI in the light of this was a no-brainer! I even put my hand up to be on the Committee, in the hope that I can learn more about how the island's business community ticks.
It's also essential to stay in touch with development on the island, with the airport and other developments providing opportunities for businesses like mine to provide products and services. BKI provides a way to be "in the loop" and to make sure we're in the right place at the right time!
What are some positive opportunities you see for Kangaroo Island businesses in the future?
I feel as if there's a buzz of development at the moment, which should result in some sort of growth, whether it be visitor numbers or residents. The airport development is visibly on the move. The Wilderness Trail is open and gaining national recognition. We have a Commissioner and a Brand. We also have representative bodies like BKI and a refreshingly active Federal Member!
I still believe the biggest obstacle for everything on KI is that a trip here costs about the same as a flight to Bali. The trickle-down effects are felt in every part of our lives - petrol costs more. Groceries cost more. Businesses must pass crippling freight costs on to customers. Travel for health care can be an ordeal. People stuck in welfare dependency are even more stuck because their payments just don't allow for these extra costs.
I know that Rebekha Sharkie is lobbying hard. We need to stand behind her and keep informed, putting pressure where we can. If so much money was not going into getting everybody and everything across that little passage of water, there would be more dollars flowing around for us all to enjoy!
~ Alice & Stuart