Printcious revives the art of gift giving through technology
By Anushia Kandasivam December 7, 2016
- Home-grown platform and design tool proves effective
- More opportunities for artists and SMEs through marketplace
IN ANY gift-giving society, people want personalised object that they feel are special. The founders of Printcious Gifts (M) Sdn Bhd found two big problems in the market: gifts are too conventional and shopping for gifts is troublesome.
“I myself have received things like decorative items as gifts. Looking at a photo frame a few years later, I would not be able to remember who gave it to me,” says co-founder Vincent Tong, who is also CEO and CMO of Printcious, which runs Printcious.my, now the largest DIY printing supplier in Malaysia.
Vincent and his brother Henry Tong, who is CTO, started Malaysia-based online gift store Printcious.my in Oct 2015 to solve these problems and help gift seekers find better gifts. With an online design tool, customers are able to customise the items they buy into personalised gifts. The store allows customers to personalise anything from mugs, cushions, phone cases and button badges to t-shirts, caps, bags and lanyards with pictures, colours and text.
Marketplace aids growth
There are, of course, other online stores that offer customisable gifts. What makes Printcious different is the second objective for which the Tongs created it – the website is also an online marketplace for graphic artists and designers. This means that not only are Printcious customers able to use their own photos, designs and text to customise the gift items they purchase, they have access to hundreds of ready high quality designs by graphic artists.
Since July this year, artists from around the region have been able to join the marketplace for free, upload their designs and promote them on their own social media channels to their friends and fans. Once a purchase is made, Printcious prints the product and delivers it directly to the customer. The artist earns a royalty fee of at least 30%. There are now about 450 designers selling their work on the website.
“There are many talented artists out there who are not being rewarded for their work. We want to discover artists not just in Malaysia but in Asean, appreciate them and reward them with our royalty programme,” says Vincent.
This system has provided Printcious a circular growth model: access to unique designs drives up customer traffic, which attracts more artists to sell their work on the website, pulling in more customers for Printcious.
Spreading its reach
In volatile economic times, Printcious has found a way to diversify its revenue stream while providing a little boost to other SMEs through a dropshipping programme wherein photo studios or bridal studios become Printcious dealers by promoting the idea of Printcious’ personalised gifts to their own customers. The customers pay the dealer directly and Printcious deducts the payment, at a 60% discount, from the dealer’s Printcious account. The gift items are delivered directly to the customer.
Henry explains that nowadays people only take professional photos and have them printed by these studios at important points in their lives, such as for weddings. “The partnership with Printcious allows the opportunity to have their photos printed on canvas or a puzzle to hang as a unique picture, or on mugs to give as gifts,” says Henry.
“Business for these studios is usually very competitive. By becoming our dealers, the business owners can differentiate their services, earn extra income and provide added value to their existing customers.”
Printcious has amassed more than 100 dealers since January this year and the number is steadily growing. These partnerships show the Tongs’ understanding of the importance of their digital business still having a foot on the ground; the brick-and-mortar SMEs drive a large amount of customer traffic to them, as do Printcious’ branding awareness campaigns that take the form of art festivals and competitions, and sponsorships for events.
Vincent reveals that the company’s art competition in April – July allowed them to acquire a lot of quality designers for their marketplace.
As a graduate of last year’s MaGIC Accelerator Programme by the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre, Printcious actively supports local startups by sponsoring customised promotional items. To push brand awareness, Printcious sponsors art-related events such as Malaysia’s doodle and graffiti art festival Contenglah.
“We talked to hundreds of exhibitors at the festivals. The artists were very excited about the designer marketplace and eager to join up even before we launched it,” says Vincent, adding that the marketplace had about 250 designers at launch because of the interest Printcious had previously built.
Next page: Holding a steady course