Owner and director (marketing) of Chrysels Digital Advertising, Samuel Thomas shares with Shilpa Jasani his reservations of newcomers entering the market without sufficient knowledge or experience of the industry.

Advertising company for indoor and outdoor solutions, Chrysels Digital Advertising operates out of 25,000 square feet factory premises located in the Al Quoz area in Dubai.  The company specialises in flag printing, indoor/outdoor signage, POP, kiosks among others.
Chrysels Digital was established in 2007 by two partners, Samuel Thomas and Babu Radhakrishnan.  “We initially established a textile printing company, to which we added digital indoor and outdoor machines and are now entering the fabrication market. In the initial years, we employed 8 people and now we have grown to a staff strength of over 85.”
Chrysels owns six textile printing machines, a 3.2-meter Mimaki, 2.5 meter Mutoh, 3 machines from Roland along with 3 machines for outdoor jobs - a 3.2 and 2.5-meter Mutoh, and a 2.6-meter HP latex machine and 6 machines to do the indoor jobs.
A diploma holder in graphic designing from Mumbai University, Thomas reminisces:  “When I entered the job market in 1995-96, digital print media was something new in India, so I was naturally drawn towards this field.  My first job was with Arabian Apex, part of Blue Rhine group.  The company was sold to Signworks. In the initial years, the machines with which we worked were much slower, but these days the speeds have almost doubled.  The same can be said for the latex  technology as well, the quality and speed have vastly improved.  If I may add here, we are satisfied with the performance of our HP machine using latex technology - which offers a superior print quality and is suitable for outdoor and indoor applications though not too feasible for light boxes, since we are unable to get the correct colours, and colour variation is visible. Also, it is an environmentally friendly machine, since the odours are vastly reduced.  However, having said that, the consumables for the latex machine are more expensive, but we would still back latex technology, since there is no need for lamination.”
Expressing his opinion on the market trends, Thomas elaborates: “Textile printing is showing promise and signs of growth. More manufacturers are entering the market. Compared to digital, textile printing requires added focus, more concentration while executing the job. Even the staff needs additional training for colour correction and related jobs. We have additionally invested in a heat transfer machine to print on different materials like T-shirts and mixed materials like polyester and cotton.  The machine can print roll-to-roll.”
Answering a question on quality requirements, Thomas says that the Dubai and UAE are far ahead technologically, when compared with other countries in the region including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  “We can say this with certainty since we have our own company in Doha, Qatar and have established a joint venture in Saudi Arabia.  Even the availability of raw materials and  the willingness of clients to pay for higher quality jobs is lacking.  Having said that Saudi Arabia is a huge market”
When asked about the challenges he faces, Thomas elucidates, “The competition is getting tougher.  Many newcomers start their own company with one or two customer accounts, and try to win orders by hook or crook, through undercutting prices and other unhealthy practices. This sets a bad precedent.  So while on one hand, expenses are increasing, this undercutting system leads to ugly price wars.  Established companies like ourselves have fixed overheads and these price wars create a loose-loose situation. The other challenges are rising cost of raw materials, declining revenues, the constant race to keep updated with new technologies and trying to fit workforce into the right profile, to ensure zero wastage of raw materials, time and energy.”
Defining success as a result of persistence, sincerity and hard work, Thomas says: “We personally consider our team to be the driving force. So we sincerely believe that a highly motivated team leads to satisfied clientele, which in turn is the reason of our success.”
Looking ahead, Thomas adds: “Five years down the line we would like Chrysels Digital to be a renowned name in the printing industry, and also widen our prospects and expand into other segments like textiles.  We are keen to establish a branch in Abu Dhabi as well. In these tough and challenging times, we would like printing companies in the region to stay focused and ensure client satisfaction.”
Recalling the most memorable moment in his career, Thomas says: “When within three years of establishing Chrysels Digital Advertising in Dubai, UAE, we successfully opened and began our Qatar operation.  That moment gave me immense satisfaction.”