By Cassandra Balentine
Much of the label and packaging industry was thrown into overdrive as COVID-19 restrictions pivoted and supply chains were interrupted. Digital label providers stepped up, offering short runs with fast turnaround times.
Based in Fort Collins, CO, Leapin’ Lizards Labels is owned by Todd and Maureen Boyt. The company started out in 2009, filling a demand for small businesses that needed labels but didn’t meet the minimum quantity that many label converters required.
The timing was tough for businesses, as the U.S. economy was just starting to emerge from the 2008 recession. But the Boyts decided to cash in their 401Ks and invest in an ADSI finisher, an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 desktop printer, and a robust website to launch a digital label printing company.
Leapin’ Lizards Labels’ customer base started out with small, local businesses that wanted short or variable label work. This grew through Google AdWords and targeted marketing. While there wasn’t a lot going on behind the scenes, Leapin’ Lizards Labels looked big on paper.
The company has excelled in its 100 percent digital business. Today it still primarily produces digitally printed labels, but at a much larger scale. In fact, at press time it was in the process of moving from an 1,800 square foot facility to a 6,400 square foot space. This is the fourth move since its start.
Leapin’ Lizards Labels’ service offerings consist of pressure-sensitive labels, stickers, and banners. Labels are about 95 percent of the business while the rest is banner work. It tends to run one or two labels up to 30,000 to 40,000 units, sometimes a larger run of 100,000 per day. Typical clients include health and beauty, food and beverage, cannabis, retail, and nutraceuticals.
Moving on Up
Before investing in a dedicated label press, Leapin’ Lizards Labels was operating up to ten Epson Stylus Pro 4800s. The company knew at this point it was time for a digital label press and began its search for the right fit in 2017.
The print provider looked at a range of options, ultimately deciding to bring in the Epson SurePress L-4533AW label press. One reason, it was accustom to the Epson platform and realized that staying with it would be a good move, especially in terms of color matching and material stocking.
The label provider saw immediate benefits. “We were able to drop our cost of goods overnight and all of a sudden we were in a different playing field and could compete on price at a much larger scale,” shares Todd Boyt, president, Leapin’ Lizards Labels.
The print provider depends on the ability to output readable small, thin fonts, text, and barcodes. The SurePress L-4533AW is able to support this demand. It produces photographic print quality labels and adds greater flexibility and efficiency to the print shop.
Driving the SurePress L-4533AW is the included Wasatch RIP. An advanced workflow automation tool, Wasatch delivers a fully customizable solution designed to streamline orders, minimize production errors, help increase productivity, and run print production effectively.
The inks were another selling point. Epson’s industrial-quality inks are durable, water-based, resin-coated pigment inks that provide superior adhesion, plus water- and abrasion-resistance on most substrates. The water-based inks are also a draw for eco-conscious customers.
Featuring versatile substrate support, the L-4533AW prints on off-the-shelf materials up to 13 inches wide including uncoated, gloss and semi-gloss papers, film, and vinyl. The shop often uses BOPP media and also offers gloss coats and other special effects like silver films and white ink. It favors Acucote BOPP as well as Wausau Coated roll label materials.
The company recently invested in a new Grafisk Maskinfabrik A/S finisher, which helps support its longer runs. This is in addition to its four ADSI iTech HS Centrals, which Boyt says he finds to be easy to run and train operators on.
Production and Support
Leapin’ Lizards Labels is on a growth trajectory. Along with its location change, the company invested in new printing and finishing equipment. It now runs a fleet of three Epson SurePress L-4533AWs.
In addition to its growing production capacity, Leapin’ Lizards Labels is focused on prepress, working hard on the front end to ensure high-quality output. “We take the risk out of ordering,” explains Boyt. The design team helps flag potential issues, for example, pointing out fonts that are difficult to read. “We find out what a customer’s need really is. Smaller businesses often don’t have a lot of extra budget so we work with them to make it right at a minimum cost. We treat them as a partner and engage in educational conversations,” he shares.
The label provider tends to serve a lot of small craft breweries. Boyt points out one recurring job for local customer, Odell Brewing Company. Every week the brewery comes out with a new IPA, which Leapin’ Lizards Labels produces a label for, quickly turning it around for the client. Artwork is typically sent on Tuesday or Wednesday and the labels are ready for the weekly drop.
As Leapin’ Lizards Labels settles into its new, larger facility, it can’t wait to get its latest press and finishing investments up and running. Starting from a humble beginning, the Boyts hedged their bets well when they decided to launch a digital label printing business, offering small, variable runs before it was mainstream.
May2021, Digital Output