Duplo UK has declared a successful seventh year of London Calling after customers signed for £750,000 in sales over two days.
The finishing machinery manufacturer, based in Addlestone, Surrey, sold two of its iSaddle Pro bookletmaking systems on the first day alone, to London-based Rapidity and Manor Printing Services of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire. A buyer who wished to remain anonymous snapped up a third yesterday.
In addition Spingold Design & Print bought a DC-746 Pro and Duplo notched up £525,000 in sales by the end of the first day of the event on 3 and 4 November.
UK marketing manager Sarah Crumpler said the iSaddle, a modular stitching system that retails from £125,000, had “been the main focus on the show, it’s been our most popular product.”
She added: "I think the show was great. It’s not really a show we’re aiming to grow. We’ve got something special for Duplo and our partners. We had a great time and great response. Our owners club meeting was the biggest yet, with 25 people attending.” The show welcomed 300 visitors in total.
Rapidity managing director Paul Manning said that saddlestitched books and catalogues are the company’s biggest seller, with 2 million produced last year.
The iSaddle will replace a Horizon Stitchliner, which requires a separate skill set not needed by the Duplo machine. He added that Duplo kit enables fewer staff to multitask and is also helpful for a connected, automated workflow using a barcode system, something Rapidity has put a lot of effort into streamlining, he said.
“We’re looking at bringing more products to the market. Customers just expect us to produce saddlestitched books. Products like the iGen have created demand for a longer print run. It’s all about automation with Duplo and we want to make life easy,” he said.
Managing director of Northern Print Solutions Craig Daly travelled from Gateshead for the show. He spent around £80,000 with Duplo around eight months ago and was thinking about buying more kit.
He said: “It’s the first year we’ve been. It’s good that they’ve got customers to try and buy into the brand. We're looking at perfect binding options.”
London Calling was held in two rooms in the Sunbeam Studios, a historic car factory-turned-event venue in west London. One room was dedicated to Duplo equipment and the other to partners Antalis, Apogee, BPIF, Fujifilm, Grafitec, Infigo Software, Neopost, PrintIT!, Renz and Vivid.
Apogee production print sales manager Alan Wall said: “These things are great for us; we bring our machines to the show and we can invite customers as well.” It was Apogee’s fifth London Calling, the previous four attended under its previous name, Balreed.
Duplo UK managing director Peter Jolly said: “We love this show, it’s our crown jewels. It’s gone from a room in the Hilton Docklands seven years ago with 38 people and only about seven customers, to a show of 400 people."
He attributed the show's success to the policy of asking customers what they wanted to see: "We genuinely seek direction from our customers about what the show can do. It would be very easy for us to bring what we think we should bring but we start with blank sheets of paper and ask them.
“The return on investment is quite complex, it’s not purely on the merchandise we sell. It’s very much about the added value we can give our customers. And the innovation and evolution we make every year is because of them.”