In 1972, when my parents founded Announcement Converters Inc., the idea was initially a simple one – we would supply panel cards and folders with matching envelopes. It would be sold at wholesale price to the local merchants in Miami. At the time, there were over ten merchants serving South Florida. However, that idea was soon short-lived because although some merchants showed interest, it still wasn’t quite high on their priority list. Additionally, this would require meeting after meeting with the merchants to even decide if they wanted to proceed. So our business model quickly changed to selling panel cards and folders along with matching envelopes to the local printer community. It was nice and simple and required little-to-no customization. We offered at most ten different sizes, both with and without an embossed panel, and it was uncommon that we sold it in both white AND natural colors. Although it was before my time, my father still talks about how nice and simple it was to have only two colors and three finishes. Inventory was easy and there really wasn’t a need for custom products.
As nice and simple as that business was, my father is the first to acknowledge that had we not evolved, we would’ve been out of business years ago. From those early days with only 100 – 200 SKUs to present day where we have over 30,000 SKUs and counting, we have come a long way. I always say, “if we don’t have it, it probably doesn’t exist.” Unfortunately, that still is not the case, even though Announcement Converters has the largest selection of specialty papers and envelopes in North America. In our industry, everyone is looking for something unique, whether it is a size, shape, weight, or custom-made product. While many companies will make custom products for their customers, they typically have large minimums and require lengthy turnarounds. That model, while it works for others, is a contradiction of Announcement Converters’ culture. Since our inception, our promise is low minimums and blazing fast same-day shipping even for custom orders.
Many customers are unaware that we almost always cut to order, so nearly all of our orders are technically “custom”. When a customer places an order at 6pm for 11” x 17” sheets, it typically goes out the same day. Nine times out of ten, we have pulled the full-size (parent) sheets, cut them down to size, shrink-wrapped and labeled them. It is then picked, packed, and shipped in only a matter of a few minutes to be able to ship with FedEx that very same day. Customers are often amazed when they place orders late in the day, and they still ship the same day.
Custom cutting is one thing, but what about die-cutting, duplexing, or a combination of the two? That was something that stumped us for the longest time. We always thought we should be offering envelope liners, pockets, and duplexed sheets, but then realized that with thousands of papers to choose from, it would be impossible to stock every item in every paper combination. However, considering the needs of our existing customers, we were determined to scale our business and grow. We searched high and low for latest equipment that would aid in expanding our service offerings. Meeting our customer’s needs was #1 on our priority list. Eventually, we were able to invest in the latest equipment and become more of a one-stop-shop. We wanted to make sure that when we were ready to offer these new products, we did it correctly, and with the most flexibility and options for our customers.
As we continue to add to our die library, the number of options available to our customers has gone from an already impressive 30,000+ SKUs to literally in the millions! We are excited at what lies ahead and believe strongly in our customers and the industry’s future. Coming soon, we will further expand our capabilities with new state-of-the-art equipment, to make custom options available to our customers even greater! Who knows, maybe the next time I write about our custom-made product options, I might be writing about options in the billions instead of in the millions.
By Jeff Greene, President
Announcement Converters Inc.