Going the extra mile
P&P editor, Melanie Attlesey, speaks with husband and wife duo, Simon and Beccy Lloyd, about 10 years of garment decoration and what’s in store for the future.
ound in the heart of Cheddar in Somerset is Extra Mile Printing and Embroidery. The business was founded 10 years ago by Simon and has since grown to become a busy design, print and embroidery studio.
“After travelling and working on ski seasons in the French Alps, I came home with ideas for my own fashion designs,” Simon explains. “As an artist, I create line drawings and illustrations using dots, grids and sweeping fine lines. Much of my work is particularly inspired by travel, and the many sunsets I’ve seen. These are reflected in my early designs modelled by friends in the photos.”
Beccy Lloyd pictured with studio manger, Amy Hook,
designer, Melza Homewood and production manager, Zach Newsome
Simon found getting his first T shirt printed a bit of a challenge. “I was told hundreds of times that I would have to place a minimum order of 50. So, I set out to fill a gap in the market for unique personalised clothing, with no minimum order, by buying my first direct to garment printer and heat press. We still specialise in one-off items today,” he says.
In the early days, Simon operated under three different brands, each offering something slightly different. These have merged and developed over the years and became Extra Mile Printing in 2016.
Changes over the years
Much has changed over the years, in particular a move to Cheddar in 2015 to a premises with a shop front at street level. And in 2017 Simon was joined in the business by his partner Beccy, who not only became co-director, but also became Mrs Lloyd in the same year.
Last year saw the business mark its 10th anniversary. Just before the UK was plunged into lockdown in March with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the team successfully completed a total refit of their retail space and celebrated with a party.
As part of the retail refit, Extra Mile Printing selected a core range of garments to offer customers going forward: Russell for premium workwear; Uneek for a classic range; and PRO RTX for customers on a budget. Extra Mile Printing stocks coats, fleece and jackets from Uneek and Result and hi-vis items from Yoko and Result. For fashion and sports options Extra Mile Printing recommends Just Hoods by AWDis, Just Cool by AWDis, SOL’S, TriDri, and Cottonridge. For customers who value organic, Extra Mile Printing also stocks Écologie by AWDis and Russell Organic
garments. “We’ve found that, by focusing on brands we know and trust, we’re able to offer our customers the best solution for their needs. We’re really knowledgeable about our products and their properties, including decoration potential, and especially sizing, which is so important when people can’t try things on,” explains Beccy.
Luckily for Extra Mile Printing, the next stage of the business’ three-year plan was already beginning to take shape before lockdown struck. This included developing Extra Mile Printing’s online offering, so throughout lockdown Simon worked tirelessly on the website so that the majority of available products could be sold online. Beccy says: “We’ve continued taking orders online and via phone and email since click and collect has been allowed again. We also printed a lot of 2020 leavers hoodies for the school year that ended without much to celebrate.”
The talented team of six offer a full selection of decorating options from embroidery, sublimation, vinyl decoration and digital transfer prints, to large format printing for posters and signage. “Having a wide range of print techniques available to us means we can do just about anything our customers ask for. We pride ourselves on almost always saying yes. For anything we can’t print or embroider ourselves, we have a great network of trusted partners who can help so that, when we do outsource to meet a customer need, we do so with confidence,” explains Beccy.
Some of Simon’s friends wearing some of his early designs
Extra Mile Printing’s shop front, which was designed by Melza, printed by Simon and decorated by Zach for Cheddar’s recent Make Cheddar Festive Window Wanderland, which Beccy helped to organise in place of the usual village Festive Night event.
After Simon purchased his first DTG printer and heat press from Amaya Sales UK all those years ago, he has continued to grow his product range with the supplier’s help. This means that Extra Mile Printing now operates two Melco EMT16Plus embroidery machines, a Graphtec CE6000-40 vinyl plotter, a Roland DG TrueVIS SG300 large format printer, an Oki Pro8432WT digital transfer printer, a Sawgrass SG800 sublimation printer and a selection of heat presses for different products and processes.
“We use these products because they offer us the greatest range of application techniques with the brands, we trust the most. They all offer fantastic decoration finishes,” says Beccy. Beccy adds that they can’t fault Amaya on their amazing customer service. “The whole team are friendly and always happy to help. Their knowledge, and patience, if we ever need a trouble-shooting phone call is impeccable. Over the years they’ve really taken the time to get to know us. It’s great to know that we have a trusted supplier at the end of the phone who can
A large bespoke one-off embroidery design created by Zach.
Article by printwearandpromotion.
recommend the best new equipment, and get excited with us as the business grows. They’ve also been a key part of building our networks within the industry often recommending us to others and vice versa,” she says.
Last month saw two new designers and a full-time studio manager join the team, which will allow Extra Mile Printing to grow its design service and range of products. This Beccy says means the team will be able to really help their customers look their very best at all times, whether that’s in person, on paper, in large format or online.
This year will see another sea change for Extra Mile Printing, as Simon plans to take a break from the day-to-day running of the business to explore new opportunities, giving the team the chance to stretch their wings under Beccy’s leadership.
Beccy says Extra Mile Printing’s vision is to offer the best design, print and garment decoration service in the South West and it certainly seems the team is well on the way to
“With 60+ online reviews (all of them 5*!), we feel we’re certainly offering customer satisfaction,” she says. “Repeat custom means a lot too and we are pleased to say we continue to work with many of our original customers. Remembering someone and what they had last time they came to you really makes a difference.“
Over the last two years Extra Mile Printing has worked with a local partner to develop a bespoke order processing system that means every team member can access a customer’s order history and follow each order from design proposal/ quote stage through to completion and on into aftersales care. It’s these little touches that customers value.
As Extra Mile Printing starts 2021 under new leadership, Beccy says the one thing that she has learned above all else by running the business is to keep it simple.
“There’s no point in complicated systems and structures, they just create work and waste time,” she says. “We are always refining our way of working to be as efficient as possible with the customer at the heart of what we do. We’ve made a point of taking time out to decide where we want the business to be and think about how to get there. COVID felt like it got in the way at first but when we revisited our plan, we realised we could still achieve what we wanted to and are feeling optimistic and excited for the future!”
It appears that Extra Mile Printing is in a strong position to tackle 2021 head on and that the team has plenty to look forward to in this new chapter in the business’ story.
Extra Mile Printing Ltd
The Estate Office
Lower North St
01934 741 792