Rapidity takes on Tapestry print wing

Darryl Danielli
Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Rapidity has bought the print arm of London-based media production agency Tapestry to move into the high-end photographic display market.

The transfer will complete on 1 August.

“We’ve accepted that if we’re going to remain in central London, which we are, for a very long time, then we need to expand the services we offer, we can’t just be a productised trade printer – it might have worked a few years ago, but not now,” said Rapidity managing director Paul Manning.

He said that the strategy was to establish Rapidity’s place in the market and then widen its service offering.

“So now we can produce all of the usual commercial work, but also Indigo quality on demand, high-volume work, bespoke binding, web-to-print, mailing, wide-format and now photographic quality work – that’s our game plan really to specialise, if you like, by offering all of those services in central London – I don’t think there is anyone else who can do that.”

Tapestry’s print kit along with its six print production staff will relocate to £8m-turnover, 40-staff Rapidity’s 1,300sqm central London site which is 200m away on the same road in EC1.

“The staff are fantastic, they’re so experienced and have a great reputation in the industry,” said Manning.

The kit included in the deal is 1.6m wide Mimaki print and cut wide-format printer and a Canon imagePrograf for Giclée prints. They will join the HP Latex 360 printer and the Canon Océ Arizona 480XT flatbed and Esko Kongsberg XN44 digital cutting table Rapidity installed last summer to boost its wide-format offering.

“Immediately it [the Tapestry deal] will add around £500,000 in sales, but, of course, we want to grow that. It puts our wide-format business over £1m now and it’s only been going eight months – it’s been a great department, with serious growth.”

Also part of the deal is Tapestry’s Durst Lambda 130, which will move to Rapidity. The Lambda digitally produces images directly onto reels of silver halide photographic paper up to 1,270mm wide.

“It’s built like a tank, looks like a tank but produces the most amazing quality – the images, the skin tones, are unbelievable - I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Manning.

“The services and expertise the Tapestry team will bring are really complementary to what we do, we have what I call our medieval bindery, which we started this year and is already producing stunning work for photographers, designers, museums and galleries. The new bindery services and the services Tapestry will bring go hand in hand really, they’re targeted at the same high-end part of the market. It’s a really nice, neat clean little deal.”

According to Manning another important part of the acquisition will be the resulting co-operation between Rapidity and £6m-turnover, 80-staff Tapestry, which after divesting its print arm will focus on its core advertising and publishing pre-media and production services in the fields of photography, video, web and design.

“We don’t want to pick up the print and just walk away, we both want focus on our respective areas of expertise and collaborate where we can, so while it’s a transaction-based deal, in some respects it’s more of a partnership – so it works really well for both of us.”

Tapestry managing director Tony Garrett added: “We are very excited at this new relationship and look forward to working with Rapidity’s team. It is also exciting for our clients, who will hopefully benefit from Rapidity’s print services and quality.”

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