DreamWorks Graphic Communications : A Dream Becomes RealityJanuary 2012 By Julie Greenbaum, Associate Editor
Uncertainty was certainly the big buzzword for the printing industry in 2009. While many printers were hunkering down due to the recession, long-time friends and colleagues Norm Friedman and Daniel Luka decided to launch Skokie, IL-based DreamWorks Graphic Communications. The partners acquired all of the assets of a 60,000-square-foot commercial printing business and, in just five months, completely renovated the facility, brought in new equipment and hired a full staff.
According to Friedman, one of the most challenging aspects was trying to roll out a new company within the metropolitan Chicago area—an ultra-competitive marketplace already filled with printers feeling the economic crunch. "We took over a company that was basically going bankrupt," he points out. "So, we needed to establish credit and also to prove that our company was going to be around for longer than a few months."
After purchasing the equipment to get their business up and running, the partners began to hire new employees—many of whom were former industry colleagues. Since its outset, the FSC and G7 Master Printer certified operation has established itself as one of the fastest-growing graphic communications companies in the Chicago-land area. "Because of our growth, we are attracting more sales representatives interested in joining our organization than we can actually handle," Luka explains. "Our success is because we have remained debt-free, which has allowed us to grow and be very competitive in our pricing."
Plenty of Firepower
Today, the 62-employee operation serves more than 100 customers across the United States. DreamWorks caters to a range of vertical markets, including advertising agencies, marketing firms, large and small corporations, and large manufacturers. Services include sheetfed offset printing, digital output with variable data/personalization capabilities, lenticular printing, metallic and metallic effects printing, binding and finishing, as well as mailing, warehousing, kitting and fulfillment services.
DreamWorks also specializes in a variety of printed and promotional products for the music industry, such as concert books, program books that are printed UV, backstage passes, lanyards and posters—with special effects that might include multiple coatings, strike-through UV, printing on top of foils, and raised and textured UV effects. Other printed products include brochures, catalogs, high-end direct mail, point-of-purchase (POP) displays and point-of-sale (POS) materials.
In just two years, the company's annual sales have skyrocketed from $1.1 million to $15 million in 2011. Luka credits this level of growth to the firm's sales reps and the diverse clientele that they have brought in, as well as the operational people that support them. "When we assembled our employee base, we knew that we were gaining the best people for each of our departments, and we built our business around them." The company has also hired two additional sales reps with accounts worth $1.3 million.