CANVAS IT (PTY) LTD started in January 2016. The actual story, though, started in 2012, three years before. It includes a happily married couple, a newborn son and a printer in the living room.
Before we got married, my wife and I decided to RAISE OUR KIDS ourselves. Our logic for this: our kids will become like the people they spend most of their time with and, as godly parents, we have the responsibility to disciple them in the likeness of Christ.
My wife, Cindy, was a successful self employed dietician at that time & I was a minister of a local church. The day we found out that Cindy was pregnant, we both realized one thing: THE GAME PLAN HAD JUST CHANGED.
We thought of setting up a passive stream of income while I worked. Nothing crazy, just something that would cover her salary while she cared for our son.
So we started an advertising agency. We purchased a standard copy, print & scan machine and sold advertising space on restaurant table talker stands. Self-taught Photoshop skills came in handy at this stage, and soon people started asking for Business Card designs & Prints, Flyers, etc. Out of that grew a need for a PRINTING & SIGNAGE company that would meet the needs of our local community. So we stepped up to fulfill that need.
A year in we moved into a dedicated shop and purchased heavier duty printers as the signage supplies got more and more demanding. A dear and loyal friend of mine, who had also helped setup our business, showed me how to build & stretch CANVAS PRINTS. For more than a year I did all the work myself from our living room. Soon though demand grew so much that I could no longer keep up with the orders and quality and service started becoming realities. We then passed the job to one of our first employees, a general assistant, who actually ended up making and stretching canvasses better and faster than I ever could.
We then came up with our BUY ONE GET ONE FREE campaign, where every customer could get two prints of the same size for the price of one. Orders flooded in.
The workload was far too much for two people to handle, but we pressed on and got all the orders complete. Then we ran the same campaign twice more, and hoped to finish them within the target time frame of 7 working days. We seldom hit our target.
After merging with another Printing and Signage company in September 2015, our workload doubled, and that's when we made a BIG MISTAKE. In the middle of the merge and with an overworked team of 11 full time employees, we ran another BUY ONE GET ONE FREE canvas promotion.
It failed. Miserably.
The quality of our prints was great, but we couldn't keep up with all of our customers. We weren't able to process our customers orders in 7 working days as we had promised, and some of our customers ended up waiting more than 3 months for their orders. We had made promises we couldn't keep, which jeopardized the character and integrity of our business. Worse was that we broke the trust of our customers and that made us feel truly horrible.
After that failure we decided to never run the canvas promotion again.
The canvas promotions we ran had proved the concept and I simply couldn't let that success slip away from my mind in spite of the failures.
The business needed a direction, so we prayed about it. Our supportive and faithful friends joined in and helped us get the correct guidance through faith. And it worked!
I made the decision to do the CANVAS PRINTS as a separate business. With my Business Partner & Financial Advisor's blessing CANVAS IT (PTY) LTD was born.
At Canvas It we now run the BUY ONE GET ONE FREE not as a special anymore, but rather as a PERMANENT OFFER to all customers. Maybe the mistake wasn't that bad after all.
CANVAS IT (PTY) LTD is now in it's 4th year of existence and growing to new strengths on a daily basis. We're 21 full time staff at this stage, although we need a lot more for the current workload.
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