Get involved with the Ramathon – it’s essential

Posted on: January 24th, 2017 by Yvonne Gorman No Comments

Essential Print Services’ owner, Yvonne Gorman was asked to talk about why her business supports the Ramathon each year. The talk took place in a packed room at the Derby Conference Centre and was a part of the Marketing Derby Bondholder series. Both Essential Print Services and Run Derby (Ramathon’s organisers) are Bondholders so it made sense to team up. Here’s what Yvonne had to say:

“Anyone who knows me, knows that I am passionate about Derby so, when I was approached to support the come-back of the Ramathon in 2014, I was very excited that the company that I own, would be able to help, not only to help to bring back an iconic race but also, help contribute towards a boost to the local economy.

You also need to know that I enjoy running, (it’s more like plodding, to be honest) and I love a challenge so by sponsoring the event I believed it would make me more accountable – how could I back out of running it if my company was a sponsor?

Putting my business head on, it was clear how the partnership would work well for me personally, but to begin with, the commercial aspect didn’t make sense at all. The target market for Essential Print Services is entirely B2B, business to business, whereas Run Derby attracts the general public – there was no way of knowing who, out of the 1400 runners who ran that first race would even be interested in printing.

Yvonne is pictured presenting

I took a leap of faith anyway and agreed to support them because as the saying goes, “if an opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”.

Essential Print Services has sponsored the Ramathon every year since its return and each time, we’ve printed a variety of items, free of charge, including the banners you may have seen dotted throughout Derby, thousands of flyers, hundreds of business cards. We print the route cards, which are posted through residents’ doors to tell them that they’re on the route and even the scaffolding banners that you will see in the race village. This year I will be contributing selfie boards and even branded tape to use at the finish line.

Some of you may know that, along with a few other businesses, I help to manage – an online directory of businesses on Pride Park and the Wyvern Business Park, which promotes it’s members by the twitter account and printed newsletter and by 2014, had quite a following.

I could see how the client base for Essential Print Services together with the audience for could really benefit the Ramathon.

But all this printing and help is a substantial outlay for a small printing business so what does Essential Print Services get out of it?

Well, the team at Run Derby acknowledged my initial concerns about the audience, so they now organise pre-race meetings where they invite all the businesses involved so we can get to know each other. They will also help you with PR, generating press coverage. Top tip: If you send out newsletters and e-shots, remember to mention your involvement because it is a great talking point and a good excuse to contact clients.

The Ramathon Team

From left to right; Sharon from Timms Solicitors, Richard Kay – Ramathon’s Race Director, Jake Lowe – Ramathon’s Official Personal Trainer, Gini Smith from MacMillan, Yvonne Gorman – Essential Print Services and Ashley Hopewell from Zest Produce AKA ‘Banana Man’

Social media is another great way they help to promote us. They are very proactive and regularly tweet and retweet to over 2,600 of their followers. And of course, we reciprocate via main online different channels.

Our logo is featured on their website, e-shots, banners and flyers. On the day, my company is mentioned before and after the race on the tannoy system. Our own banners are displayed on the railings at the start & finish lines. These are prime locations for photographs.

The synergy between Essential Print Services and Ramathon works particularly well because of the race location. Our office overlooks Pride Park Stadium and so on the day, our printing HQ becomes a base camp for team members. That’s cool. No worries about parking or toilets for us!


One new thing I’d like to do this year, is to meet Jake Lowe, Ramathon’s official personal trainer, during the course for a quick chat. I have lots of other ideas and there is still so much more I could be doing but, it would mean playing a bigger part on the day and not running. The Ramathon team have offered me a stall in the race village but, for the time being, I’d prefer to run it, for as long as my knees will allow me anyway.

The races in 2014 & 2015 were a personal challenge, just me focussing on surviving the course. Last year, I decided to run for charity and being a Trustee of the Maria Hanson Foundation I decided to raise some money for our cause. I formed a small team, which included of fellow bondholders, Simon from JAKT Photography and Laura from SQN. Our target was to raise £200 each because that’s how much it costs the charity to send a terminally ill person on holiday with their family, potentially for the last time. The final total was over £800 – helping 4 families spending precious time together – amazing.

This year, we want to make the team bigger, so The Maria Hanson Foundation is now an Associate Charity for Ramathon and has several race entries available – if you’d like to get involved, let me know.

Now then, running the Ramathon, all 13.1miles of it, is not easy for me. I find it incredibly difficult. There are many times throughout the course when I want to give up and in my head, I scream at myself “do not stop, keep going”. One thing that helps me through is to remember how lucky I am to be physically able to run, let alone able to run a half marathon. It helps me put everything is perspective and plod on.

So, you may be reading this and thinking, “I can’t run 13.1 miles, I’m too slow”. If you’re slow, that’s fine because you can join me at the back. In 2014, I ran my first Ramathon and completed it in 2hrs 32mins. In 2015, I improved to 2hrs 16mins.

Last year, I decided to give up alcohol for 6 months, so on 1st January 2016, I told myself that I wouldn’t have any alcoholic beverages until after the Ramathon. I wanted to test my theory that it’d help me run faster. So, I did my third Ramathon in….2hr 17mins – a minute slower! Argh.

Ramathon Medals

Yvonne’s three medals from 2014, 2015 and 2016.

When it comes to being a sponsor of the Ramathon, it’s like anything in life, the more effort you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.

So, to conclude, from my experience, here are 5 things to consider before becoming a sponsor:
– It helps if you or a member of your team is passionate about the subject. This will ensure any activities out of your usual trading hours will be more enjoyable.
– It helps if the organisation you’re sponsoring is organised, professional and easy to get on with (the Ramathon team certainly are, I can vouch for that).
– Talk to current and previous sponsors about their experience. What worked well and not so well?
– Check out their social media profiles – is the organisation presenting itself well, consistently well?
– A sponsorship deal is like any other deal so before you go ahead with anything, ensure both parties are clear what is expected of them, put a value on the work and put everything in writing.

So, whether you want to plod it, run it, get involved in the race village, become a sponsor or simply spread the word, the benefits of getting involved are endless.”

If you’d like to know more about sponsoring the Ramathon or any other event in the Run Derby series, call Yvonne on 01332 418377 or chat to us online.

Top 5 essential print items for 2017

Posted on: January 17th, 2017 by Yvonne Gorman No Comments

Here are our recommended pieces of printed collateral for the year ahead – so go on, take our advice and knock the socks off your next new contact:

Printed Folded Leaflets

1) A lasting ‘Leave Piece’.
You may not have heard this term before but it’s the term of a printed item to leave with a potential new client. Think of it as a souvenir for your business.

It could be in the form of printed a brochure, catalogue or leaflet – it could even be a simple pen or notepad, but whatever it is, it must look the bees’ knees and be useful.

“How do you do that?” I hear you cry. Well, make sure the leave piece is relevant for your audience. For instance, don’t give your prospect a massive catalogue full of technical jargon, if all they want is something to remind them to call you when they are next in the market for your product or service – a branded pad or pen in this instance would do the trick.

You may even want to consider putting together a little pack of items and handing this to a prospect as a gift. Enclosed in an envelope or decent plastic wallet could be your leaflet, business card, notepad and pen. Consider using a low-tac glue dot to affix the business card to the leaflet in a strategic position so that it doesn’t move about too much in the wallet.

Whatever you decide to produce as your leave piece, make sure it is affordable and gives the impression of quality. It may be tempting to choose the cheapest item, but consider what message that will portray to your prospects and clients.

If in doubt, talk to me or one of our Print Angels about how to ensure your leave piece leaves a lasting impression.

Swatch Cards for Printing

2) Splendid Sample Packs
If your company sells products, then have a small sample pack to hand or ready to post.

We have recently launched our very own Swatch Packs, which contain business card sized samples of all our most popular papers and cards. Each one displays the material it is printed on as well as what products are most suited for that substrate. They have already been extremely useful, and make us look super organised when a client walks through the door.

Unless the prospect has specifically requested it, avoid including everything you offer – it’ll be too overwhelming. Instead, send them your best sellers and as a good prompt, send them another handful in a few weeks’ time. A selection of sample cards to attach to your product will ensure your prospect is well informed of the features and benefits – it may even provide staff members with a good sales tool too.

If you’re going to post your sample pack, how are you going to present it? Ensure the packaging is suitable for the contents. You have one chance to make a first impression so ensure it is well wrapped – otherwise your lovely samples could arrive looking battered.

Think about how to brand the packaging. For the samples; a simple cellophane wrapper or bag with a printed sticker is a quick and affordable solution. For the envelope; create a label template with your logo on and print the recipient’s details – this will look a lot more professional than scribbling on to an envelope, especially if your handwriting isn’t the best.

Our own stationery supplies partner can you help with envelopes and labels – if you need a contact of a reliable, independent supplier – just ask.

What if you don’t sell products but offer a service? Well, you too need a sample pack. How? Create a short, introductory video, upload it on your website, create a unique URL or QR code and include it on a set of business cards that you use just for new people. You could even include an exclusive offer, a free worksheet or trial.

If you need help creating the best solution, simply call me or one of our Print Angels to chat about your options and ideas.

Printed Business Cards

3) Beautiful Business Cards
Like them or loathe them, business cards remain a fundamental part of business life. Exchanging details digitally can, at first, appear to be quirky and ‘modern’ but a lot of people deem this to be insincere and untrustworthy. By offering a beautifully printed business card, shows you’re willing to part with something. Business cards cost money so giving out a business card proves that you’re willing to invest in that relationship.

Give your business card some worth by handing it in a special way – I present my business cards in a small envelope with ‘Lovely to meet you’ on it. I’ve lost count the amount of positive responses I’ve had from that tiny gesture. One local recruitment company hands their business cards out with a small clear packet with sweets inside. By enjoying the sweets, people are making a positive association with that brand. Brilliant!

Professionally printed business cards provide a great reminder. We may have met someone at a busy networking meeting, we’ve left the building with every intention to follow up, but life gets in the way and that motivation quickly fades. When you return to your bag or pocket and see the business card, it reminds you of that conversation. At this point, don’t hesitate – make that connection by sending an email or LinkedIn request. Think about how to go one step further, emails can be easily deleted so go old skool – pick up the phone or send a leave piece in the post.

4) Brilliant Banners
Rollup banners are not just for events. When they are not in use, don’t hide them away inside their carry cases, instead, display them in your reception area or office. This is especially useful if the banner displays bullet points of your products, because if a visitor arrives who then realises you can offer more widgets or another service – your rollup banner has just helped you make a sale. Woohoo.

There are a variety of sizes available – some as wide as 2m, which makes for a great backdrop. If the banner is for a general sales purpose, when it comes to the artwork, less is most definitely more. Avoid over complicated designs and cramming the artwork with lots of text – use a leaflet or brochure for that. We have artwork templates available for you to download or if you’re unsure what to include or you fear you may have gone overboard, send your file to us and we’ll take a look for you.

Letterheads and Compliment Slips

5) Slick Stationery
Having a small supply of stationery can go a long way to looking ‘the business’. Having professional looking letterheads for important proposals, follow up letters, or to accompany a brochure, can help you stand out from the crowd. No longer should you use scrappy pieces of paper to jot down a note for a visitor, instead use a branded compliment slip or notelet – it will make you look so much smarter and organised.

Whatever you decide to produce, don’t just send your printed literature to prospects – remember to send them to clients too. Yes, they have already converted into paying customers but I bet there are things they don’t realise you offer.

Having a set of essential printed items ready for action means that when some last-minute exhibition space becomes available, you can take full advantage of the situation, safe in the knowledge that your Marketing Toolkit is ready for action.

If you want a more strategic approach to your marketing collateral, or perhaps just need to get the ball rolling with a decent quality leaflet, give me or the Print Angels a call on 01332 418377 – we’d love to help.

The Print Angels’ review of 2016

Posted on: December 22nd, 2016 by Yvonne Gorman No Comments

Print Angels at Christmas

As the Print Angels wind down for Christmas to recharge their print magic, here is an insight into what 2016 has meant for them:

Lindsey: Working with so many different businesses in and around Derby has really opened up my eyes up to what our city has to offer. As Essential Print Services is a bondholder of Marketing Derby, it is always really interesting to see what plans are in store for the future of the city and it’s businesses.

There have been many personal highlights for me this year; trips to Ibiza, Edinburgh and London, I have also moved house and performed in a pantomime at the Guildhall – it’s been a busy year!

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions as they tend to not last very long, but I hope to go on a couple of holidays and visit a few new places 🙂

Lee: My best bit of 2016 was getting to meet lots of new people from around Derby and being able to turn their ideas into a fit-for-purpose piece of design work.

After spending 5 years working out of Derby, it feels great to return to the city with Essential Print Services!

My 2017 New Year’s resolution is the same as every other year’s resolution, to get fit… I’m still working on it!

Katie: My best bit of 2016 was taking part in Small Business Saturday. I got to meet lots of local, small businesses and really promote and celebrate their success.


A personal highlight of the year was a holiday to Thailand. I had never been so far from home but it really has given me the travelling bug. Let’s see where 2017 takes me!

My New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to get back in the gym (I have had about a month off) and not to worry as much about things.

Von’s View: 2016 in one word ‘awesome’.

When I scroll down the hundreds of comments on our testimonials page and read all the reviews on Facebook and Google+, I grin like a Cheshire cat because it proves that, even in our sixth year of trading, we’re still doing a great job. There is one testimonial that stands out for me, “…better quality than the BBC Countryfile calendar”. This was a review from a photographer who ordered 100 A3 calendars from us using their own images. Being a big Countryfile fan myself, this was a huge accolade.

We actively encourage feedback throughout the year because it provides a fantastic insight into how we can improve further and grow the business.

The biggest challenge for me this year was having an entirely new team, who all started around about the same time. For some companies, this could have had a negative impact on sales and profit but, with a very steep learning curve and enthusiastic new recruits, we still achieved record breaking months. Naturally, new people bring new perspectives and ideas, which gave me a whole new level of motivation too.

One of my biggest passions is helping small businesses and so, I was honoured to be crowned, yet again, Small Business Saturday UK Champion – one of only ten in the country. This year’s event was a big success. To find out more visit our blog; “Success for Derby’s Small Business Saturday UK event”

My favourite moment in my personal life has got to be my winter wedding. I got married on 10th December to my ‘Prints’ Charming; Jim Leafe. It was certainly a Derby-themed wedding. It started at Derby’s Council House Chambers, then a ’90’s dance’ marching band led our army of guests through the city’s streets and then we celebrated, long into the night, at Derby’s historic Silk Mill Museum. We had an epic day.


2017 potentially, has a lot in store for Essential Print Services – it revolves around growing the business and our team. My approach has always been to grow steadily because I believe it creates a stronger, more secure business. This ethos has worked very well for us so far – onwards and upwards.

I’d like to finish by saying a HUGE thank you to everyone who works behind the scenes at Essential Print Services. To all our amazing clients, suppliers and Print Detectives – you’ve helped make 2016 incredible and I look forward to the year ahead. Merry Christmas.



How to supply artwork to a printer

Posted on: December 21st, 2016 by Yvonne Gorman No Comments

Not sure if your artwork is print-ready? Don’t worry, each file goes through a 12-point artwork check. You will receive a PDF proof for approval via email for you to approve before we go to print. If we spot any technical issues or if we have suggestions to improve your artwork, we’ll let you know.

When supplying artwork files please send them as one of the following:

  • PDF – with 3mm bleed. Trim marks are useful but not essential.
  • Adobe Illustrator (.ai) with links, fonts, images and logos supplied OR outline all fonts
  • Adobe InDesign (.indd) packaged with links, fonts, images and logos supplied OR outline all fonts.
  • EPS file


When supplying text for artwork, please make sure it is all typed up correctly in a Microsoft Word document. This will save you money in artwork time, as we will not have to type it up for you which can be time-consuming! We will copy and paste the text directly from the document so please double check all spelling, grammar and punctuation before supplying.

Before approving your proof please double check all text once more just to make sure there are no errors – we recommend asking someone who did not type the original text to proof read!

We have a range if artwork templates available to download but, if you do need help with creating your files – don’t struggle, just ask us for help. We are available during office hours via our online chat or simply call 01332 418377.


Success for Derby’s Small Business Saturday UK event

Posted on: December 19th, 2016 by Yvonne Gorman No Comments


Saturday 3rd December saw almost 100 businesses attend Derby’s event at the council house to celebrate Derby’s small enterprises, meet like-minded people and take part in free workshops.

Heading up proceedings in Derby was local, small business owner, entrepreneur; our very own Print Evangelist Yvonne Gorman. Yvonne, who is only one of ten Small Business Saturday Champions tasked with spreading the word across the country, was overwhelmed by the response of everyone involved.

Yvonne kicked the day off, bright and early at 7am with an interview at Radio Derby, highlighting how small businesses can stand out against larger competitors and why supporting small companies really does benefit everyone.

Pictured above in the yellow jacket (in the Mayor’s chair), Yvonne introduced the day with a passionate speech – here is an excerpt:

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – and they make our communities stronger. The hard work of those who run them and work for them – the early starts and the late finishes – all these efforts help create jobs while providing the goods and services every neighbourhood and business community needs. Small Business Saturday 2016 is our chance to say thank you to the pubs, plumbers, butchers, garages, cafes, the printers and all the other businesses that are the backbone of our communities.”

“I’m the proud owner of a small, local, independent business based on Pride Park called Essential Print Services. Four years ago, I was asked to represent Derby’s small business community and visit No. 10 Downing Street as part of the Small Business Saturday UK initiative. Since then, I’ve been crowned ‘Small Business Saturday UK Champion’ and I’ve made it my mission to fly the flag for Derby’s small enterprises, because I am passionate about my city and I admire anyone, who like me, takes that leap of faith and starts their own company.”

“Together with the support of Derby City Council and in particular Council representative Chris Pook, for the past two years, we’ve organised this event completely free of charge, where local, small business owners can network and learn new skills, attend talks and free workshops. Today, you’ll meet like-minded people who you can talk to about ideas and issues in a relaxed informal environment – you may even gain a new customer or two.”

Yvonne then introduced Michelle Ovens MBE, Campaign Director for Small Business Saturday UK, who provided a personal message for the Derby event:


Showcasing their products and services, 30 exhibitors took centre stage to highlight the valued contribution that small businesses make to the local economy and indeed the UK High Street as a whole. The day saw a jam-packed agenda of talks and workshops for all attendees, giving them valuable insights into how to make their business stand out from the crowd but above all, how to be successful in today’s testing trading conditions. Two of the workshops that took place were hosted by Loates HR and Shapcotts Accountants and they were both bursting with really useful yet practical information.

Our very own Print Angel, Katie Fitzpatrick was available to offer sound advice and exclusive deals. Katie even streamed a few videos live on our Facebook page – check them out.


Print Angel, Katie Fitzpatrick (pictured right) was also on hand to offer helpful print buying tips and advice.

City Centres all over the UK were taken over by independently owned enterprises in a show of strength and solidarity, encouraging shoppers to keep it local when considering or making their purchases. A huge £717m was spent with small businesses on the day throughout the country, an increase of 15% on last year.

To view more photographs from the BIG day for small businesses; visit JAKT Photography’s commercial website.

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If you need PRINT, you've come to the right place.

Choose Essential Print Services to take care of your print requirements.

We are a printing company based on Pride Park in Derby and we pride ourselves on making professionals look professional, by offering competitive prices, exceptional customer service and spectacular print. Our 'Customer Reviews' show just a few of our many satisfied customers.

From business cards, brochures and leaflets, through to folders, flyers, banners and promotional items, we can handle anything from conventional full-colour print to some of the most bizarre print requests.

If you need a printer, who will look after you, every step of the way, call 01332 418377.

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If you have an urgent enquiry out of office hours please, call 07809 361708.