Consumers, especially Millennials, require customisation, are experience seekers and love having something that’s unique. Companies can profit from this need by providing personalised items that allow them to stand out.

People also increasingly want to personalise their homes and offices. Home décor decorative applications are endless, think: wall coverings and decals, window coverings, cushion covers, canvases and much more. Home owners want something unique, and printers have the technology to do that.

‘Décor and fashion application trends, on-demand production and personalisation are boosting digital print growth,’ said Santi Morera, head of graphics solutions business at HP. ‘The digitally printed textiles market is experiencing double-digit annual growth, forecast to reach close to R80 billion ($5.5 billion) by 2023, according to Smithers Pira.

Locally, businesses like Netflorist have taken full advantage of the personal identification of gifts. It is no longer about sending out flowers and gifts, customers can now send associates a gift written with their name on it, which makes a huge difference. They can create everything from Father’s Day T-shirts, to personalised socks for Grandparents’ Day and more. They’ve also enhanced their range of personalised clothing, such as T-shirts, baby wear and a host of other printable items.

Retailers like Typo made Mother’s Day extra special by offering to personalise notebooks with Moms’ names on them, and Edgars Eastgate has a press in-store to personalise names on clothing items like gowns. Why just buy branded clothing when you can invest in your own personalised branded clothing?

Of course, it’s not just the big retailers and companies that can profit from personalisation. The signage and printing industry features some profitable areas for start-up businesses. Many people have started small home businesses using affordable printers and sublimation kits.

Profitable options in this area include: themed and personalised gifts, shopping bags, decor and invites, promotional, corporate and safety wear, wood, vinyl, paper, plastics, metals, flat substrates like clipboards, binders, notebooks, mouse pads, coasters, business cards, stickers and corrugated signs or posters, smart phones and tablet cases.

Laser engraving applications can range from signage, plastics, metal, wood and promotional products, 3D signs, model building, stencils, personalised gifts, laser cut stationery to custom made event decor, wedding invitations, personalised diaries, corporate gifts, jewellery, and more.

See the latest technology and start-up opportunities in personalisation and customisation at the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa Expo, taking place from 11-13 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

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