A brief chat with a successful business owner, Cliff Leong on how The Alphabet Press existed and how it developed.
Hop on this ride as we bring you along The Alphabet Press journey in creating creative cards creatively!
The Idea of The Alphabet Press
People assume that when I am involved in printing, particularly this 600-year-old traditional printing method, it was because I came from printing family background. But that wasn’t it at all.
We were web developers and it was our profession for eight years before we got into the letterpress printing business. Shifting from high-speed digital works to something that seems to be technologically backward, was truly a transition. We enjoy creating products that are made with our own hands and see the products bring joy to other people.
Just about 6 years ago, we were a web design company who set out to look for something special for our business cards. We believe that the first impression is very important because it translates the taste or works we do as a designer through our own stationery. We have been looking for a printing technique such as letterpress in Malaysia, but we lacked the knowledge and resources. And because of the curiosity (why isn’t there anyone doing it here locally?), we decided to fly all the way to Melbourne to learn the craft itself from Carolyn of Idlewild Press. Since then, intrigued is an understatement to how at awe we are of the attention to details that goes into letterpress printing. We believe it happened by chance and curiosity.
The Name of The Alphabet Press
In the traditional letterpress printing, for every single word you see on a book, each letter was manually typeset and positioned by a different wooden carving or lead casting. We were greatly moved by the efforts put into composing the letters and form letters to words — all these alphabets, we believe is the fundamental of the letterpress printing. Hence, we name it The Alphabet Press.
Funding for The Alphabet Press
A big part of it was self-funded. And we are thankful to be supported by friends and family who believe in our cause.
The Target Market for The Alphabet Press
Our services are distinctly divided into two: Off-the-shelf products and bespoke letterpress services. We aim to engage with our audience for both. From the designs of our off-the-shelf products to our online retail site, we have always focused on creating visual and textual contents that are engaging.
At present, we only operate from our online retail site (www.thealphabetpress.com) with heavy reliance on social media arms to engage. Coming from web designing backgrounds, we understand the importance of genuine contents that can inspire. This is why our online retail strategy is to engage with interactive contents that people can easily relate to and also be inspired.
As for our bespoke services, our engagement leans more towards educating and sharing all the know-how that we have on hand about the letterpress processes. For every project that we carry on board, we offer one-to-one consultations to understand the needs and expectations of our customers. This is to tailor the letterpress experience as fitting as it could be for each and every one of them.
Clearly, the direction for both our services are people-oriented and to take the experience to greater heights, we are hoping to introduce more customisation experience in our upcoming retail store. Through customisation and personalisation, we are able to create fully-customised products that would involve our customers in the creation process.
Retail strategies can be dry and methodical. However, we strategise our time and efforts into engaging with customers because it is equally a retail strategy as much as it is a sustainable investment into our branding.
How The Alphabet Press Generates Ideas
The idea is just the beginning. We take that and we explore around it. We take inspirations from our surrounding, culture, people, matters, experiences and turn it into a message we want to deliver through visuals, forms, colours, typography, and textures. Just get out there and experience life. That gave us a library of ideas in our head to then translate into some design works. What we love doing is taking an idea and turn it into life. It’s storytelling to us.
‘Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.’Johannes Brahms
Favourite Aspect of Being An Entrepreneur?
I think it’s a sense of accomplishment and find that it’s hard for me to fit into the corporate world. I’m driven by the hope that we haven’t made my best work yet. What can we make next?
The Alphabet Press’s Most Satisfying Moment
When customers came back to us and said “Definitely made a good and lasting impression. Amazing work and service. Seriously loving everything TAP. Keep doing what you’re doing.” It’s moving and encouraging to keep us going with this craft.
If You Had The Chance To Start Your Career Over Again, What Would it Be?
Focus at a few key things at a time and not spreading ourselves too thin.
The Alphabet’s Greatest Inspiration
3 Things The Alphabet Press Would Change in the World
Ensuring that everyone has access to education.
So, that’s how The Alphabet Press went through their business journey. The Alphabet Press encourages us to paint our lives creatively as it brings happiness to your life and the lives of people you love. Never stop learning because life never stops teaching!
To know more about The Alphabet Press, check out their website.
Also, don’t forget to follow their Instagram too!
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