Anyone needing a Kwikprint 86 model

Last week while meeting up with a Wedding Planner to get business I learn I am wasting my time and money.

She wanted to see a sample of my work. So I printed a 5x7 Wedding invitation on Classic Crest 110 cover. The Linoscript type and the 24 Bold Classic (for the names) the printing was sharp and clear in black ink for the sample.

And I printed from my computer 8 samples invitation in using every script I own.

Her reply was the paper is all wrong and none of the fonts I fonts rom my Linotype of computer was wake she wants to offer her customers.

And, she told me no one uses the Hot Stamp machine I just purchased last month. Everyone sent their Hot Foil stamp out to people with super fast machines that stamp100 napkins in a few minutes. She didn’t want me to waste my time standing at my stamping press to do work other could do in a few minutes.

And she told me I wasn’t doing real letterpress as she stood next to my letterpress presses. She said real letterpress is heavy paper with the type pushed deep into it.

She been business for many years and uses these mail order wedding invitation companies for her work.

I saw her work, it looked like regular cheap printed o=mail order work. And the sample she gave from was printed 1/8” off center in weak color purchase.

Her shop is only doors down from my new location, so, am lost of what to do.

She wants me to print a sample on every paper I can offer over 110 and in all the colors I can offer.

And, I went to the two major paper supplies in the area, and they no longer stock any cover over 110 and matching envelopes for invitation work. I have to special order samples they told me.

If this is the thinking of Wedding Planners, I am wasting my time and money.

Been am super depressed over this matter. How do you printers deal with this?

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Hello Aaron D….. I’ve been following your posts, and understand completely your frustration. While I can’t offer a remedy for your particular set of problems, I can tell you what worked for me many years ago.

The problem I had was that I was trying to compete in the lower end of the marketplace, and simply could not produce work at the lower price-point and still make a living. In fact, I almost went totally belly-up several times before I changed my entire strategy.

What I wound up doing was this:
1. I quit going after work from designers who wanted me to do all the work and they to make all the profit. Most were actually “wanna-be designers” anyway, and had no clue how to present letterpress work properly.

2. I quit trying to compete for for any work based on price. i couldn’t compete with folks with in-house computer-generated typesetting and platemaking…. and fast presses. My simpler equipment was just not up to the task of producing enough work at the low prices to make a living. Instead, I started stressing QUALITY.

3. I quit listening to folks who said that “nobody uses letterpress” or “you must do THIS” or “must do THAT”. They either didn’t know what they were talking about, OR wanted me to produce work that they wanted to market, no matter if I made a profit or not. While I was always polite to those sort of folks, I didn’t put much faith in what they said.

4. SO…. I went after an entirely different set of clients: those who understood what fine letterpress was, and who were willing to pay a proper price for it.

5. I developed my own sample books, and went directly to the consumer. ALL of my samples were done done with my letterpress, and on very nice paper. A computer generated or offfset printed type-list will never convey the quality you need to present.

5a- I expanded my type-list to include very conservative fonts that make simple but elegant letterheads…. fonts like Copperplate.

6 AND since there were simply not enough customers in my town, i went nation-wide with my advertising….. and sent samples (post cards mainly) all over everywhere. I sent them to lawyers, bankers, rich folks, folks who wanted to look like rich folks and so forth and so on. It took about a year before I actually made any money, but it was worthwhile. Eventually I made a good living doing what I enjoyed.

Now… am I saying that you should do exactly what I did? Of course not. What I am saying is that for me, trying to work with half-baked designers at low margins was never profitable…. and it was only after I dropped them and went directly for a larger market that i made any real money. (not all designers are half-baked, by the way…. just the ones who were in my small town back a few decades ago)

A look at your and her samples would be helpful.

I my years of dealing with these “professionals” they know only a what like minded people have said to them.
I’m also glad that she keeps her work local, so it helps out the community where she lives. These people drive me crazy, support the locals, they help everyone in your town not the on-liners. Sorry guys and gals needed to vent, Once again I’m sorry.

I total agree with you. That was my think in the start, put together what I can do, at a price I want to do it at.

I put the fact I am out of money and looking for anyone that will give me work.

I think what hurt was her telling me no one buys small hot foil stamp work any more.

Now, I have wasted $1,500 on a hot foil stamper. It was my last hope of bring in business.


She is obviously a moron, and not worth getting upset over.


Yes, not everyone like everything. But, seeing the sample she gave me, with poor printing and dull cheap paper I felt I could win here business.

I used 110lb Classic Crest cover which I feel is a great paper to use. The type was clear and sharp and perfect inking.

I have a major problem that’s killing me from getting business. I work 64 hours a week at low paying jobs, and only get to work at my shop 2 to 3 hours a day.

So, when someone, who can give me work, who is next door, I jumped at it.

It hurt, knowing that everything from the metal and computer type, and hot foil stamping, was not what she wanted. I put all my saving into this shop, and have no more to run around looking for samples and dealing with out of town people.


Like many of us, I have followed you for a long while in your posts on Briar Press. I know you have a lot of operable hot metal equipment and presses.

I also know that one person on this site got well over $1000 to save a Linotype by using a crowd funding site:

Perhaps someone on Briar Press could recommend a marketing company who could help you put together a business plan and succeed. Get an estimate of what the marketing company would charge you to get you going. Then start doing crowd funding for yourself, to get the money you need to pay the marketing company and get started.

Lammy (in his thread above) got the money to save a linotype. You will not only be getting the money to enable you to succeed in doing high quality work, but the money will also save your Linotype, your Ludlow, and all your other equipment. This is because, if I hear you correctly, if you don’t succeed, you will have to close your shop.

Maybe you can even hire a part time sales person who will work on commission and take your samples to wedding shows on weekends….who knows what will come out of this?

I myself would chip in on your crowd funding site if I saw you had a good workable plan which gives you a fighting chance to succeed. I think that many of us, me included, are good printers but not the greatest business people. So, we have to recognize our shortcomings and get help where we need it.

Hello Aaron,
I would guess that she is not a moron and is trying to make sure that you give her samples of work which she can actually sell. Many in this trade can’t pick up the paper their customers desire from a paper supplier in town and must source it online. For working with her you need to get samples from Crane, Neenah, Reich, etc. Show her samples on Colorplan and she’ll smile. Contact the paper folks, tell them what you do and ask for some free sheets. Most want your business and know you can’t sell your customers on paper they can’t see.

Our shop has a Kwikprint like yours. It is a nice little press for products like personalized or monogrammed notebooks. You can even use it on pencils. You can use it for wedding stationery if the artwork isn’t too big but it might tire you out.

If you want to try to work with this planner, you might do well to also include a local designer who can sit with clients, understand their needs and translate it to a design.

I imagine you are a good printer, but I don’t know if you’re going to have a positive experience running a business alone. Find that young designer that needs you as much as you need them and try to get out of this slump you’re in.


Everyone is right that has posted a reply.

I feel I am good printer, and from what I have seen from people I am a better printer. The one thing I am not is rich, I do not have the funds right now to purchase sample papers and dies to make samples for her.

And, I just upset with myself, not anyone else.

I spent my last savings of some foil stamping dies and Classic Crest stock to show people plus rolls of new foil.

And, when you’re standing talking to a future customer that tells you they want more samples on more high dollar paper and more dies, and you have no money left in the bank it upsetting.

Just bad timing on my part. I 6 months I have the money saved up, but, not now.

Thanks everyone for listening.

Find a way, Aaron, and stay straight.