Print-on-demand merchandise platform Merchr has taken delivery of five new machines following a £250,000 investment.
The investment enables Merchr to ramp up its services to a growing customer base of retailers, visitor attractions and online brands.
Merchr is also recruiting for several new roles as it grows its team in line with its expansion at its production facility in Middleton, Manchester.
These include back-end and front-end web developers, e-Commerce and marketing staff.
Merchr, founded by an experienced team backed by Martin Varley – a well-known senior executive in the personalised products industry – swung into production earlier this year after securing £350,000 in an oversubscribed pre-seed fundraising round. The company also has offices in London.
Its platform helps individuals and groups build their brand and reach new audiences by creating their own merchandise collection to sell to fans, friends and followers in an eco-friendly, risk-free way without the need to hold stock or worry about the logistics of production, printing and shipping.
The new equipment includes a flatbed printer which can print up to 60 notebooks at a time with a varnish finish, and a 360-degree cylinder printer machine for water bottles and flasks, with capacity to produce 250 an hour.
Merchr has also installed a GraphTec cutting plotter which produces raised printing with a vinyl finish, along with a laser-guided dual heat pressing printer for glitter, neon and textured printing on t-shirts, hats, toiletry bags and other items.
The fifth new piece of kit is a 360-degree heat press machine for hats.
Jack Fox, Merchr’s head of operations, said: “Advancements in technology have opened doors to a new era of sustainable merchandise printing. The ability to print retail quality items on demand, without having to order in bulk, not only enhances our commitment to sustainability but also empowers our store owners with more choice and customisation options.
“We’re excited to embrace this innovative machinery, as it aligns perfectly with our goal of reducing waste and minimising our environmental footprint while delivering quality products for our users.
“Customers will benefit from even higher quality printing with varnish finishes and faster turnaround times. For example, it takes only two minutes to full colour print a water bottle.
“These digital machines are designed and built to integrate with the Merchr ecosystem, enabling ‘cart to print’ in seconds, representing a fundamental advance in the supply chain.”
Merchr’s portfolio of products includes clothing for adults and children, hats, towels, blankets, mugs, placemats, phone cases, coasters, canvas prints, hot water bottles, tote and make-up bags, pouches and highlighters, water bottles and tumblers.
The platform is aimed at organisations and individuals such as charities, schools, universities and colleges, sportspeople, clubs and societies, visitor attractions, influencers, podcasters, YouTubers, gamers, bands and other artistic performers, as well as online retailers and entrepreneurs.
Users create and launch a free online store through the Merchr Hub, where they can design and upload their customised product collections with artwork, a logo, slogan or image. They can also connect an existing website via Merchr’s integrations with e-commerce platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify.
Merchandise store owners choose their own prices to cover the cost of each product, printing and drop-shipping by Merchr, plus their own profit.
Once an order is placed, Merchr’s software delivers print-ready artwork directly to the Middleton facility for production, and items are dispatched within 24 hours.
Its print-on-demand model encourages more sustainable practices, as it reduces waste because merchandise store owners do not have to hold any stock. The company uses water-based inks, BPA-free plastic bottles, and organic cotton in its garments.