Monthly Archives: September 2007

  • A Big Quarter at Lightning Labels

    Today is the last day of the quarter, and it has been our best quarter ever here at Lightning Labels. Yesterday, we reached another milestone - over $1,000,000 in sales for a quarter.

    When I first started this business back in 2002 my first goal was to reach $500,000 in sales for a year. Starting from nothing and shouldering a lot of debt, I thought that we would make it if we could hit that number. I knew there was an untapped market for high quality, short run labels, but I had no idea how big a market it was. We blew past that first goal in 2004 and I realized that we had far more potential than I had expected.

    Today, my goals do not concern any specific sales number; my main goal now is being simply the best digital label printer. We want to use the latest technology to provide the highest quality labels in the most efficient manner possible, while at the same time giving you friendly old-fashioned customer service.  If we do this well I know we will continue to grow.

    So on behalf of all of us here at Lightning Labels I would like to thank you for your continued business - we will certainly do everything we can to earn your future loyalty.

  • The World's Biggest Label Printing Show

    Labelexpo

    Today the world's largest label printing show kicked off in Brussels. LabelExpo Europe is expected to draw more than 24,000 label industry professional to its five exposition halls over the next four days. LabelExpo alternates every September between Chicago and Brussels, last year Steve Smith and I were in Chicago - you can read my report here.

    We did not make the trip to Brussels, but luckily we can find out everything that is going on through the people at Label & Narrow Web magazine. They have a "Live from Brussels" report every day detailing the highlights of the day. Today, they reported on several items including an interview with the CEO of Avery Dennison who talks about the changing global demand for label material and the sustainability efforts at Avery Dennison.

  • We are Getting a Second HP-Indigo WS4500

    Hpii4255184f94c0a_2

    This week we signed on the dotted line again with HP and agreed to purchase a second WS4500 digital label printing press. This comes just nine months after we purchased our first one. This will make Lightning Labels the first label printer in the country to own two HP-Indigo WS4500 presses.

    The WS4500 is simply the fastest, highest quality and most productive digital label press available in the world today. Since December when we purchased our first WS4500 our monthly sales are up over 80% and so we decided we needed the extra capacity that this new press will provide. This will effectively double our capacity which will allow us to continue to grow while keeping our turnaround times one of the fastest in the industry.

    The new press will be installed here next month. We are excited to have two of these state of the art presses in our facility.

  • Beautiful Bath & Body Labels

    Bobe_2

    Marlese Sears started her bath and body products business, Bobe, just a year ago. She came to us recently when she decided to redo her line of products so that they looked more professional. I think you will agree that she achieved her goal - she has a line of products now that could compete on the retail shelf with anyone. You would never guess she is a one person operation in Saskatoon, Canada.

    Every product at Bobe is made by hand - that in itself is not unusual. What is different is that each product is made to order, there is no inventory sitting on the shelves. Marlese wants her products to be fresh so she doesn't actually make the product until after she receives an order. She makes the product, bottles it, applies the label and ships the product all within 24 hours of receiving an order. Now that is a lean manufacturing operation.

    Her revamped product line has just been launched this week - you can check it out by visiting her website here.
       

  • Starting a Food Business

    Here at Lightning Labels we print a lot of food labels. Hot sauce, coffee, honey, salsa, chocolate, ice cream, jelly, olive oil, soup - these are just some of the food products where we supply the labels. The food business is very competitive and it is not easy to break through into the national retail chains.

    Today in the Small Business section of BusinessWeek.com, there is an interesting article on how a couple of young entrepreneurs with little business experience went from making their product for friends in their kitchen to the shelves of Whole Foods. The article provides insight into how they were able to make the leap from part-time hobby to professional food business. For anyone trying to get their business off the ground it is interesting reading.

  • Printing Without Ink

    Black02bhr_550x454_2 One of my favorite blogs is The Next Net by Erick Schonfeld, the editor of Business 2.0 magazine. He also produces a short video series for CNN titled the New Disruptors, that features new companies who are really disrupting their industry. The latest video I found particularly fascinating.

    The company is called Zink, they are a new company spun off from Polaroid, the venerable old photography company. The engineers at Zink (short for Zero Ink) have invented this incredible new way of printing photos - without using ink. How can you possibly print without ink? That was my first question. Well the secret is in the paper. Zink use a special paper with millions of embedded crystals that when heated by the Zink "printer" melt to form one of the primary colors - Cyan, Magenta and Yellow.

    The beauty of the technology is that the printers can be impossibly small - the photo here shows a device about the size of a cell phone. And another really cool thing about it is that the device will be able to wirelessly communicate with your cell phone so you can snap a picture with your phone and then print it out moments later. No word on pricing but they say the Zink printer (and paper) will be available by Christmas of this year. Check out the New Disruptors video here. Very Cool.

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Material Descriptions

Materials

BIOSTONE

One of our eco-friendly options that is actually made of stone—no trees are used. This material should not laminated.

CAST GLOSS

This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

CLASSIC CREST

Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CLEAR BOPP

This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

ESTATE #9

This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

KRAFT (RECYCLED)

This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

SATIN CLOTH

Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

SQUEEZABLE

A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

VELLUM (RECYCLED)

A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

WHITE BOPP

This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

CAST GLOSS

This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

CLASSIC CREST

Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CLEAR BOPP

This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

ESTATE #9

This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

KRAFT (RECYCLED)

This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

SATIN CLOTH

Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

SQUEEZABLE

A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

VELLUM (RECYCLED)

A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

WHITE BOPP

This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

Artwork Specifications

Laminates

High Gloss

High gloss is our most popular laminate. It is the least expensive option and provides protection for the label and a high gloss shiny finish.

Matte

The Matte Laminate provides your label with a dull, non-glossy finish. Some customers consider this achieves a more "natural" look.

Thermal Transfer

This is a gloss laminate that is designed to work with most over-printing thermal transfer printers. We do recommend you get samples first to test through your own printer before placing an order with this laminate.

UV Outdoor Gloss

As the name implies this is best used for labels that will be used outdoors. It has a high gloss finish with excellent UV resistance. It is best paired with our vinyl material for the most durable outdoor label.