Scots pair merge to target growth

Darryl Danielli
Friday, January 21, 2022

Two family-run Edinburgh print businesses have merged and moved to larger premises as they look to capitalise on opportunities from their respective commercial and promotional client bases.

Joseph: It’s going to be an exciting year
Joseph: It’s going to be an exciting year

Commercial printer Digital Typeline Publications (DTP) acquired fellow Midlothian gift and stationery specialist Southfield Stationers last October, following the retirement of the latter’s owner Derek Muller.

The two businesses, which had worked together on certain jobs in recent years, began talking in summer 2021 and following the deal they unified and rebranded as DTP Southfield under the leadership of Alun Joseph, managing director of DTP.

Retiring Muller said: “I am proud of what we have built over the last 45 years and believe that the Southfield name and loyal customers will be looked after and continue to grow in the hands of Alun.”

Following the deal, in November the two businesses and their combined 20 staff, 12 from DTP and eight from Southfield, moved to a 1,850sqm unit in the old paper mill building on the Inveresk Mills Industrial Estate in Musselburgh, East Lothian.

In the move from their respective bases, they lost just two and a half days production.

According to Joseph, the deal offers a number of synergies as there was a strong cultural fit and little overlap in terms of work and client mix.

“We were so similar in many ways, size, set-up, short runs, repeat customers, a strong customer focus, so we fitted very well that way,” he said.

“But when you get down to the detail, the products, the skillsets and equipment, we were quite different. It was a good match, but it only works because of the combined experience of the two teams.”

A number of the two firms’ customers have already expressed interest in the expanded services of the merged businesses.

DTP, which began life as a photo lab almost 40 years ago, moved into digital print in the early 1990s.

Today it offers a range of digital services including metallic, white and neons as well as bespoke foiling, digital die-cutting and short-run creative packaging and serves a range of general commercial clients including a number of estate agents, via bespoke web-to-print platforms.

Southfield, which has a similar vintage, started as a stationery specialist before growing into the gifts market over the past 20 years, frequently working with artists directly to bring their artworks to UK retailers in the form of handmade gifts, including notepads, bags, coasters, ceramics, tea towels, promotional products, calendars and greetings cards.

The combined business runs a raft of digital, screen and post-press kit including a trio of Ricoh Pros, a 9200, 7200 and 5100, a Xerox Versant, and Canon and HP Latex wide-format printers as well as an Epson dye-sub and screen-printing kit for textiles applications.

Joseph praised the newly combined team who helped ensure the merger, rebrand and relocation had all gone as smoothly as possible.

“Both business’s give scope to the other’s client base, so there’s crossover and additions to enhance their ranges and services to each’s customers and markets,” he added, citing the ability to add DTP’s laser cutting to the Southfield range as one of a myriad of examples.

He said that in terms of the new, combined business, things were going great and both teams were settled now as one larger unit and had already started to generate lots of ideas for new products and opportunities.

“It’s going to be an exciting year ahead,” he said.

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