2024 Labels and Packaging Leaders Forum: Steve Bonanno, CMYKhub

For CMYKhub, 2023 was a huge learning experience as we ventured into the roll label market for the first time. As a trade printer, we relied on advice from our partners that this was a space we needed to be in. Most of our resellers are on-demand printers who can’t wait weeks for product from outsource suppliers, so we took heed of their requests and boldly invested in the category.

Launching in May 2023, we took our time to introduce a small range of stocks and begun with a modest die library with a mix of common shapes and sizes. Refining our production and creating efficiencies that came with the recruitment of the experienced, Dean Hill (formerly of Action Labels), we were able to create more attractive pricing. By October, we saw rapid growth month on month right into the Christmas period, whilst introducing more stocks and our die library expanding daily.

The packaging segment is not something CMYKhub has intentionally sought to delve too deeply into, however, like labels our partners have identified it as a growth category. We have always had some of the production capability, but over the past five years we have seen a steady increase in quote requests for flat sheet printing where our reseller engages finishing houses to complete the order. With this growth we have invested in wide format and small format digital cutting capability, along with high-speed rotary die-cutting to support our old cylinder die-cutting.

For 2024 we see continued growth within the markets we have mentioned and huge opportunity for brand management companies like designers and agencies to re-engage with printers for labels and packaging. We have been pleasantly surprised where many of our orders have come from so far in this category, where these creative businesses have seen the value in providing the finished product to their client. This tells us that there is fantastic margin in labels and packaging.

We also see a great opportunity for ecommerce labels, our keyword search data indicates that labels and stickers now rank higher than business cards (CMYKhub’s highest selling product) for average monthly searches. We have identified and consulted European businesses catering for these short-run, high volume daily orders and matched our production capability with theirs. Further consolidation, mergers, and acquisitions of existing businesses within Australia are likely to continue next year.

General printers are steadily venturing into the pressure sensitive label market either via individual investment in equipment to cater for the label market or strengthening their partnerships with their trade partners such as CMYKhub who have heavily invested in the best equipment in the market to offer true trade pricing to their established and valued resellers.

We’ve experienced rapid growth in sales as well as our die-library. Dies often more expensive than the production cost of some orders we produce, given many orders are as few as 500 labels. We identified even before we launched using our rotary die-cutting that we’ll need a digital cutting solution. We also knew that our partners are fantastic at up selling the value of bling! We have seen them embrace Scodix, Metal and Spot UV throughout our offset and digital sheet-fed business.

When we heard ABG International were going to ‘Frankenstein’ their laser cutting and embellishment unit to display LabelExpo in Brussels we knew we had to have our name on it. This world first combination of the DigiLase Laser cutting and DigjiJet digital varnish and foiling embellishments offering our valued customers embellishments for labels that you normally only see in the high-end Wine & Spirits and Personal Care markets normally incurring high added tooling costs.

This is not the case with our new technology where embellishments are created digitally on a fully automated finishing machine in runs as small as 500-1000 labels to a broader range of end users and markets to enhance their packaging.

We can’t wait to share our new headquarters with our partners and suppliers later this year. This will be the largest single investment we have made in the business and feel it’s a strong statement that we are here to support the industry for the long haul. The new site allows for further growth of labels and packaging along with departments we haven’t even considered yet.

We are buoyed by the early success of labels, and we feel that our trade partners are already diversifying to meet the requirements of Australian packaging.

This article was first published in the 2024 February edition of ProPack.pro magazine

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