Narayan had been bindery manager at London-based Rapidity for nearly four-and-a-half years, but the downturn in business caused by the virus crisis meant the firm had to make some cutbacks.
“Obviously I was gutted. I could tell that Paul [Manning, Rapidity managing director] was genuinely upset about it. But I can understand that they had to make tough decisions for the future wellbeing of the business,” Narayan said.
He is currently working his notice, with new venture Bensons Bookbinding set to officially go live on 1 August.
Narayan has acquired the specialist binding equipment from Rapidity and will work from the firm’s London premises rent-free until the end of the year.
Manning told Printweek: “Chris is such a lovely bloke and does such a good job. It was a horrible process to go through. We are all trying to figure out what the new normal is and what size we need to be for the future.”
He said Rapidity had taken the decision to focus on its core services while the pandemic was impacting trade, whereas specialist bindery work had a tendency to be “feast or famine”.
“The standard of Chris’ work is so high, I’m sure he will do well. And he can do work for every printer now,” Manning added.
Narayan will also continue to handle work for Rapidity, which is Printweek’s reigning Company of the Year.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’ll never get a chance like this again, so I thought I would give it a go – sink or swim!” Narayan added.
He said the ‘Bensons’ name came from “a very old nickname from school” and had a nice ring to it.
“I thought it sounded good with bookbinding,” he added.
Bensons Bookbinding’s services include case binding, fine binding, restoration and box making.
Narayan has spent 40 years honing his skills. He served his apprenticeship in the 1980s with the last remaining bookbinders in the City of London, RG Scales, which at the time operated out of the historic Inner Temple just off Fleet Street.