One of the appealing factors of industry trade shows is attendees often getting hands-on demonstrations of how a company’s equipment works.
In the case of a lot of companies, including Suwanee, Georgia-based Mimaki USA, the end of a show often means that textiles or other items the company used to show its machines’ capabilities were either given away to attendees or sometimes scrapped altogether. The company, which makes wide-format inkjet printers and cutters, started to think about what could be done about that.
The result is Mimaki’s “Print with Compassion” campaign, which recently debuted in Las Vegas.
“The idea behind Print With Compassion is that in a lot of the shows that we’ve done, we know that at the end of the show we end up with a lot of the things that we’ve printed, that maybe people have taken with them, but we know a lot of the stuff ends up on a shelf, or thrown away,” says Josh Hope, applications product manager for Mimaki USA. “So we thought, ‘if we’re producing, let’s produce something of value.’
“So, we partnered with S.A.F.E. House, which is a local Las Vegas organization that works with women and children who are not in the best domestic situations, and so we said let’s take that and let’s print things we can use for a day care, a kindergarten, that kind of thing, so we can show people how the machines work, but at the end of it we have some pieces we can donate and get some good out of it.”
For two days of the trade show, Mimaki experts put on classes for attendees. Hope says Hugo Gonzalez, the company’s UV print specialist, came from Los Angeles to help instruct, as did Jim Maffeo, Mimaki’s cut and print specialist from Boston and Mark Heimlich, its color management specialist from Atlanta.
“The main thing for us is to really try and take the conversation and spend less time talking about the speed of the printer and the square footage of the printer and things like that and make it more about, what can we do with the printer? What are the things we can create with the printer that make it obviously a great investment,” says Hope.
After the show, the company donated a lot of items that will brighten up the S.A.F.E. House for the kids who are there. Colorful nap-time mats, bean-bag chairs, magnetic letters and numbers, wall graphics and table-top and storage cubby decorations were just a few of the items the company donated.
The classes were well attended and the feedback was positive from attendees, Hope says, who appreciated what the company was doing.
“We want the conversation to be more about what the printer can do and not as much about the printer itself,” Hope says. “Because Mimaki has such a wide variety we have the right printer for what you want to do, but let’s figure out what that is, and let’s show you some new things you haven’t thought of before.”
His company’s goal, he says, is to bring the Print with Compassion program to every trade show the company attends, which is a lot of them.