How Prinfab built a community-based brand in customised textile printing

by Debbie McKeegan | 29/02/2024
How Prinfab built a community-based brand in customised textile printing

Debbie McKeegan speaks to Prinfab about how they built their brand and the significance about building a community. Printfab have helped empower their design community and have successfully built a loyal customer base.

In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of textile printing, building a brand isn't just about producing high-quality textiles; it's about creating a community.

Since starting their business in 2016, Oliver and Harry Mustoe-Playfair of Prinfab, have empowered the design community and built a loyal customer base comprising of many 1,000’s of creatives by supplying custom-printed textiles on-demand, with no minimum order.

Their community-based business is a strategic imperative in today's competitive landscape. For organizations like Prinfab, that have carved a niche in the digital textile printing industry, the focus on community is a foundational element of their business model. Let's unravel the fabric of this approach and understand why it's essential for sustainability, profitability, and innovation in the fabric printing sector.

The Essence of Community in Fabric Printing

The traditional fabric printing industry has been characterized by large volume orders, high-stake barriers to entry, and a lack of transparency. The advent of digital printing technology has disrupted this status quo, enabling companies like Prinfab to offer on-demand printing services that cater to both B2B and B2C markets. This shift has opened up opportunities for designers, fashion brands, and interior decorators to bring their creations to life without the need for substantial upfront investments.

Prinfab stands out in this revolution by not only providing exceptional print quality and rapid turnaround times but also by fostering a sense of community among its customers. This is evident in the way they handle orders—from small bespoke designs to hundreds of meters for customers. Their ability to maintain a high level of print quality and print consistency, regardless of the order size, has built trust and loyalty among their clientele.

Management team at Prinfab. From left to right: Oliver Mustoe-Playfair, Co-founder and Director. Emma Goatham, Operations Manager. Harry Mustoe-Playfair, Co-founder and Director. Credit Printfab

Cultivating Efficiency and Innovation

Efficiency in any textile printing process isn't just about speed; it's about reducing wastage and ensuring profitability without compromising on quality. Prinfab's obsession with the minutiae of their operations is evident at all levels of their business. Selling online, their website is customer focussed, transparent and authoritative. Knowledge is share freely and information delivered in a clear and consistent format. Customer service is paramount to their online success, and they have invested in their workflow systems to enable the meticulous tracking of each order—demonstrating their commitment to excellence.

By focusing on the small details, they've managed to scale their operations without unnecessary overheads, staying lean and agile in a market that's known for its complexities.

Innovation is another cornerstone of Prinfab's approach. Their dedication to exploring new technologies, such as AI, and staying abreast of the latest ink and digital textile printer developments, has kept them at the forefront of the industry. However, they're careful not to be swayed by every new trend. Instead, they prioritize the technologies that align with their core competencies and enhance their ability to deliver consistent, high-quality prints. In partnering with Epson, they continue to ensure that their printed textiles are created using sustainable, efficient technology – with no compromise on quality.

Oliver Mustoe-Playfair explained further “Prinfab had grown from a single printer to a fleet covering thousands of square feet. In 2021, we recognised the need transition to larger industrial printers and became the first company in the world to put an Epson ML-8000 into production”.

“The ML-8000 was the first of the next generation of textile printers from Epson. The GOTS certified Genesta pigment inks produce exceptional quality prints and helps us to meet our sustainability objectives. Furthermore, the workflow fits perfectly with out busy textile print on demand service”.

The direct-to-textile production line at Prinfab offers organic pigment printed textiles, manufactured on-demand. Credit Printfab

Embracing Sustainability

Sustainability isn't just a buzzword for Prinfab; it's woven into the very fabric of their business model. Their digital and waterless print processes are the building blocks of an environmentally conscious operation. By publishing a sustainability report statement and focusing on small orders that align with their capabilities, Prinfab is contributing to a more sustainable future for the textile industry. This commitment to eco-friendly practices resonates with a growing segment of consumers who prioritize sustainability in their purchasing decisions.

“In 2023, we assessed the environmental impact of every part and process in our business. It revealed fascinating insights and helped shape the business going forward. The combination of responsible sourcing and technology means our environmental impact is far lower than many of textile printers. Not to be complacent, we recognise there are opportunities to improve, and we set out a series of targets in a sustainability report published on our website” commented Oliver Mustoe-Playfair, co-founder at Prinfab.

The Road Ahead

Looking to the future, Prinfab has its sights set on further reducing turnaround times and expanding their services. With plans to deepen their focus on the custom print-on-demand market and explore opportunities in other sectors, Prinfab is poised for growth. Their people-first approach, coupled with a keen eye on sustainability and innovation, positions them well to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

In conclusion, building a community-based brand in the fabric printing industry is about much more than producing textiles. It's about creating a culture of trust, efficiency, and innovation that resonates with customers and sets the foundation for a sustainable and profitable business. Prinfab's journey is a testament to the power of community and the potential of digital technology to transform an industry. As they continue to weave their narrative into the broader tapestry of the textile world, their community-centered ethos will undoubtedly remain their strongest thread.

Discover the latest innovations in interior and textile printing at FESPA Global Print Expo 2024 Europe’s leading print and signage exhibition. Taking place from 19th – 22nd March 2024 at RAI Amsterdam, Netherlands. Register here and use code FESJ401.

by Debbie McKeegan Back to News

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