Trophex magazine talks to Jim Nicol from TheMagicTouch

TheMagicTouch are suppliers of image transfer papers, heat presses, laser printers, plotter/cutters, materials and equipment. For over 25 years they have prided themselves on building their extensive range of consumables and equipment for the personalised decoration of blank items.

How and when did you start working in the industry?

TheMagicTouch in the UK officially started business back in 1992, however the previous 12 months were spent formulating and planning the introduction of this new and very unique image transfer technology. In those early days is was very important to identify the different markets where the image transfer process would be best suited as the entry-level costs were in excess of £25K, over 10 times higher than they are today. 

In 1992 having exhibited together with our TMT office in the USA at the leading ARA Trophy show in Las Vegas we then fully understood and identified the many advantages this new technology offered to those within the existing awards market. Being able to show full colour photographic images on to a range of metals, MDF and acrylics for plaques was something that had never been affordably achieved before and certainly not personalised. Despite the entry-level equipment cost we are pleased to report that many companies and individuals embraced the technology and invested wisely.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

My personal highlight to date is the strength the company has in having great staff many who have now been with us over 20 years. Whilst all the products are great and continue to be developed the real strength is having the staff that support all aspects of the business both in a technical but also in a sales and marketing capacity. Our consistency and focus is the highlight.

What changes have you seen over the years that have had an impact on the industry?

The biggest change over the years is the advancement of technology, our only real competition is indeed technology where everyone wants to find the total solution. However, this will never happen due to the vast range of product requirements needed to meet the everyday demands of customers. The technology has enabled businesses to cross-over into new markets where products are in demand from existing customers who previously would have sourced elsewhere. A good example is the sign industry where the different technologies available offer sign companies the opportunity to add general print services and indeed promotional products such as T-shirts. In the past they just offered signs. The same today is evident within the awards and recognition markets where the range of products and services on offer must increase to maximize the opportunity with their existing customers.

How do you think your organisation has contributed to or influenced the industry?

TheMagicTouch is today represented in over 50 countries worldwide and have pioneered the image transfer process over that period. The innovation continues from the International marketing operations in Amsterdam where CEO Juergen Hagedorn continues to develop new and exciting new products and innovations. This year will have the arrival of new colour printers and new transfer paper innovations.

How do you think the UK leaving the European Union will impact the future of business?

To be honest, I was and still am very much pro-Europe. I feel anything that makes it more difficult in order for us to compete simply does not makes sense and the journey into the unknown is something I don’t relish in either the short or long term.

Do you think technology in the industry has kept up with consumer demand or exceeded it?

The technology available today in all aspects of the awards and recognition market has indeed exceeded all expectations. Having the ability to produce a myriad of products without the old traditional set-up and artwork costs makes the buying process so much easier. Customers can now have what they want, when they want.

Do you think 3D printing will become a cost effective way to create Trophies and Awards in the future?

In my opinion the 3D printing technology is still in its infancy and until the speed, costs and flexibility improves I believe that’s where it will stay.

What role in your opinion does the internet play in the industry?

Whilst the Internet has changed the world in which we live, the trophy market seems to have suffered where access to the products online has opened up making it tougher for retailers to maintain pricing and profitability.

Do you feel an online presence is essential to increase profitability and product range awareness for suppliers and retailers alike?

The web is like mobile phones, once you have it you cannot live without it. But let’s consider the web as an electronic brochure. In most cases award products need to be touched and felt to give the true value of the products quality.

How important is brand exposure in addition to product sales?

TheMagicTouch is indeed a global brand that is associated with quality, consistency and innovation.

Where do you think the industry will be in 10 years’ time?

In 10 years the industry needs to have grown organically by expanding the range of products and services available.

The market for awards and recognition will increase as the demands on businesses and individuals to aspire will continue. However, this must be driven by those involved in the industry and new ways of selling and marketing must be encouraged.

Telephone: +44 (0)1582 671444