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Shah, director of Jaguar Printing Press, LLC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates in conversation with Venkat Raghavan to give an overview of the trends and enhancements of the printing business in this region as well as shared his experience and professionalism that he followed

Hailing from Pettai, Tirunelveli and settled in Dubai, Shah, accomplished all his schooling in his hometown. After completing his schooling he wanted to do something which was going around his mind from his childhood that made him to come to Chennai to start his artistic venture. After arriving he joined as an assistant to Ramu who was working for a leading weekly magazine ‘Kumudam’ which taught him the basics of printing and with that experience he came to Dubai and started his own printing press.

 

HIGHLIGHTS
● They have five companies under their group
● He has around four decades of experience in

 

Talking about his career, Shah, commented, “Just like other kids I too was studying my education in a school but I was little unique from the others where I was more keen towards the drawing and printing. Near to my home there was a press called ‘Rahmath Printing Press and after finishing my school I use to go and watch how they are printing but everything was manual at that time. Apart from that I use to participate in many drawing competitions for my school and one time I participated in India level competition which was during the prime minister Indira Gandhi period. Also, whenever I get time I use to draw, paint signboards at a small scale for the needy persons and after doing this I come to know the importance of artist, as there were no computers available at that time. Once, my sister husband came to me and suggested to come Chennai to develop the career and through his guidance I joined as an assistant artist at ‘Kumudam’ in 1977. I worked under Ramu for four years which really taught how a printing press works and how speedy we need to be on the job as we need to draw the whole within a day. After gaining the knowledge I wanted to start a printing press and opened ‘Shah Publicity’ in 1981. We were taking complete printing works and signboard jobs. Since, I am from artistic background I was able to bring the output what the customers desire to get which made us to do a better business until 1989. In 1989 I come to know that there was a job opening in Dubai at a leading advertising company. As I felt that this opening will change my career I gave the press to my sisters son and came to Dubai to join in Al Farzadaq Advertising under the ownership Kunju Mohan and later in 1991 I brought my family here. I was working for the company upto 1994 and suddenly something sparked my wife and she asked me that why can’t we start a printing press on our own. After deciding to open a printing press I dropped my resignation in 1994 but my owner asked me to stay for one more year. During that one year I went to learn Arabic and illustrator at Sharjah on all the weekends so that I am well prepared to manage the press. Later in 1995, I went back to India along with my family and came to Dubai on visit visa to start a press of my own. After a long struggle I opened ‘Prestige Advertising’ in BurDubai with three employees where we were taking screen printing, signboard jobs along with commercial printing. Later, with all the industry experience I started the Jaguar Printing Press in 2005. Speaking about the trends, he said, “During those days, the whole printing press was dependent upon an artist and everything was manual but now everything has become computerized. Nowadays, customers are almost preparing everything along with the design and logo before stepping into the shops and all we need to do is just a professional alteration before printing it so this shows how the customers has changed. Earlier we use to charge 100 AED and 300 AED for printing a business card during 1995 but we can get the same print for 75 aed itself. We are nowadays unable to ask the customer for the design charges so we are forced to do the designing as a complimentary service.”

He added about the company facilities, credit policy, and memorable moment, “Our Company provides accommodation and all the other facilities as per the UAE workers law. Credit policy is one of the uncontrollable factors in the printing press. Earlier we use to offer 30 to 60 days but nowadays we don’t need to talk about the credit period at all as it went more than 120 days and even some of them are not paying after that days. Again, earlier we use to take any jobs from the new clients but it is safe now to stick with the new clients who are ready to pay half as down payment.”
He further added about the current market, “Almost everyone is captivating the business from Dubai so it is obviously known that all the printing press from Emirates is here to fetch the jobs. If anyone is planning to open a new printing press then they should void that plan fully as there is surplus in the market. However, to run the existing business in a profit state then they should run machines continuously without recruiting new employees. Also, they should do the business from their own money and not from the loans. If they have 5 million and they should invest only 2 million so that they play safe in the business."