Artistic Details Can Help Tinters Diversify their Businesses

January 7th, 2010 | Category: Featured Content

Finding ways to diversify their operations has helped many in the window film industry stay afloat during slow business periods. And many will agree to do is involves finding ways to give customers something that they can’t find elsewhere, i.e., more bang for their buck. Architectural and decorative film products are value-added options that have become increasingly popular in recent years. And one Florida company is taking strides to help see this market continue to flourish.

Since 1981 Richard and Sue Purdum have owned Clearwater, Fla.-based SolarGraphics, a designer and installer of award-winning storefront window film graphics.

“We started the new business as a way to diversify because at the time there was a lot of competition in his area,” says Richard Purdum, who began his career as a tinter in 1970. “We started by overlaying the films and at the time we were hand-cutting everything.”

Purdum, who developed his own color films, tells Window Film magazine, though, that they company has seen continuous, steady growth since its start. In 1989 the company began training dealers and tinters to create their own film graphics.

“We have a training facility here and offer a three-day training program for experienced tinters,” says Purdum, who adds that they are currently working with dealers worldwide and have projects in a number of different countries.

“This is the type of product that can help any dealer go a step above [where they are already at],” says Purdum.

To showcase some of these innovative projects, last July Purdum began a “Window of the Week” newsletter, which highlights a unique storefront or window display.

“The ‘Window of the Week’ includes a brief bio of the project’s design and creation. The newsletter also gives the tinters a good idea of what they can do and it’s interesting for them to see the different designs that are possible. We’ve attracted a lot of attention by sending it out,” Purdum says.

And now, as architectural glass sizes and projects are getting bigger and bigger, Purdum says he is starting to get a lot of calls from architects and is also working a lot more with architectural glass companies and the architectural film industry.

“When an architect calls [for a job in Texas] I need to be able to recommend a tinter in that area that can do the job,” says Purdum. “We’re working together to create that connection and the opportunities in the market are incredible.”

As far as future plans, Purdum says they are going to continue focusing on the architectural market and also developing their distributor base. He is also exploring new technologies.

“We’re starting to veer some into digital printing onto the films. This is normally two-thirds the cost of the film graphics, which are computer cut layouts,” says Purdum, who adds that he is still enjoying everything about the business.

“We’re having fun and enjoying what we do and that’s the key. I like it when a dealer calls me and tells me that he’s proud of the work he was able to create; and the business owners love it, too,” he says.

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