Getting Good Ink – Island Ink-jet System Success Story

Developed in the 1950s, inkjet printing offers an easy method of printing documents at home, schools and offices. With budget-friendly inkjet printers accessible in the market today, the inkjet technology has evolved overtime. 

Whether you want to print professional marketing material or get a vibrant photograph, the lifeblood of a successful printing job is: HIGH-QIUALITY INK.

By 1990, these printers became mainstream. Black and white printers were small and inexpensive. However, the printer ink cartridge used to come at a hefty price.

Owing to the high cost of replacing ink cartridges, it was tempting for consumers to purchase a new printer instead. This was a significant challenge for as the current cartridge disposal rate would easily fill the Grand Canyon within 10 years. As more people were opting to replace printers instead of cartridges, printers would end up on top of the cartridges in the landfill.

In the face of this challenge, the development of the cartridge refill industry posed as a remarkable solution. It offered a cost-effective method of reusing the old cartridges rather than throwing them away. Instead of purchasing expensive replacements, this thriving industry allowed consumers to opt for refilling cartridges with fresh ink.

Island Ink-Jet Background

Enter Island Inkjet System!

They carved a niche in the industry and positioned themselves as true pioneers. With a rich background and a diverse range of innovative products, Island Ink-jet System, Inc. has transformed the way people approach printing. By providing top-notch ink solutions, this company’s success story is worth exploring.

Recognizing the need for affordable yet high-quality printer cartridge refill, Carey Porcher and Rob Dixon founded Island Ink Jet Systems. It is a large printer ink and laser toner supply company that gained popularity by offering high-quality ink refills.

These refills came at a fraction of the cost of replacing brand-name cartridges. With the development of cartridge refill services, the printing landscape saw a transformation.

Porcher, founder and CEO, started making ink-jet refill kits in 1999. The project began at a garage in British Colombia. Within six years of operation, the company had 600 franchise locations, 800 employees, and 208 regional shopping-center locations.

Island Ink Jet’s first major expansion came with Armin Sachse, who bought the rights to franchise in Ontario and opened three locations. This innovative and cost-effective solution became a fastest growing company in North America for providing inkjet related products. The one-man enterprise started generating $25 million annual sales.

A large portion of Island Ink Jet’s locations were in mall kiosks. Capturing 20% of the in-store market share, this company second to Cartridge World.

Currently, Island Inkjet Systems is owned by The Equipment leasing company ltd., which is situated in Mississauga, Ontario. Today the company also has printer ink and laser toner supply stores in Puerto Rico.

Offerings & Innovations

Island Inkjet System’s success can be attributed to their diverse product range. The brand created a better and environmentally friendly method of using cartridges. From ink cartridges and toner cartridges to specialty inks and printing accessories, Island Ink-jet System stood out for innovation.

By developing a network of mall based kiosks, Island Inkjet expanded its reach. Moreover it offered refilling kits for printer brands such as HP, Epson, Canon and Lexmark. The reliable refilling service at the kiosk made it particularly famous.

Each of the kiosks hold 120 ink types to ensure optimal performance. The price point is one of the major factors that led to the company’s success. With lower prices, customers saved 40-60% of the cartridges price. In addition, a take-home refill kit was also sold for $4.95, allowing customers to save almost 90% of the price.

Porcher also saw resistance from large companies as the manufacturers would void the warranty when a cartridge was refilled. In response Porcher stated: “Our cartridges are compatible with specific printers, so it’s impossible that the ink refill damages the printer.

Island Inkjet entered an untapped market with innovative and affordable solutions. The meticulous engineering of ink cartridges and toner cartridges offer vibrant prints.

Overtime, Island Inkjet Systems created specialty inks for applications on ceramic and fabric. This brand solidified its position in the market by delivering high-quality products to customers in desperate needs for a cheaper alternative.

Throughout its journey, Island Ink-jet System has numerous groundbreaking innovations. One of the noteworthy service is Inkjet Display Printing. Moreover, they also show expertise in 3D Inkjet Printing. By leveraging 3D printing, Island Inkjet has opened avenues for creative expression. This breakthrough has found applications in various industries, including prototyping and product design.

Island Inkjet’s innovative business model is another major contributor for the company’s success. Porcher realizes that a personal connection and instant service will increase their sales. Instead of putting people on hold, this brand allowed customers to connect with a salesperson.

Franchises & Partnerships

As part of its growth strategy, Island Ink-jet System has actively pursued franchising and partnerships. Given that customers were waiting for someone to fill the market gap, they believed that Island Inkjet was a godsend.

One of the customers went to Tony Elwell, a franchise operator saying, “The reason I keep coming here is because I’m sick of paying $40, $50 or $60 for cartridges. It’s almost like the printer has become a throwaway item. The cost of the cartridge is more than cost of the printer—and the printer already comes with cartridges.”

To widen their presence in the market, Island Inkjet adopted the franchise model, allowing aspiring entrepreneurs to join their network. Franchisees receive comprehensive training and support, including access to Island Ink-jet System’s established business model, marketing resources, and ongoing guidance.

Porcher offered personalized trainings to ensure that all the franchises are properly managed. Owning an Island franchise mean that you will have to spend two weeks at Inky’s Nest for training. The candidates were awarded a license only when they learn the technique of refilling different types of cartridges.

These strategic partnerships helped Island Ink-jet System to enter new markets and provide customers with convenient access to products and services.

The Future of Inkjet Industry

Since its inception, the inkjet industry has seen exciting developments. Moreover the future of this industry is packed with possibilities. With improvement in technology, the inkjet industry will see better print quality and more diverse options such as printing documents at Walgreens or any other retailer you visit frequently. Color accuracy, higher resolutions and finer details are obvious improvements.

Island Inkjet referred to ink as liquid gold. Over the years, this company expanded its reach by going global. Austria and Germany have strong environmental protection laws. Introduction of cartridge refilling service has a huge potential in these regions.

The inkjet technology will venture into applications that are beyond traditional printing. From ceramics to industrial printing, this industry will develop to print on a variety of substrates.

The integration of 3D printing is another exciting development that holds immense potential. Inkjet-based 3D printers unlocked advancements in the healthcare sector.

Take-Home Message

The introduction of inkjet technology brought amazing possibilities. However, a major issue faced by consumers was replacing the cartridges after the ink ran out.

Majority of the consumers preferred purchasing a new printer rather than replacing a cartridge. Island Inkjet Systems filled the gap in the market by launching a groundbreaking innovation: cartridge refilling services.

With advancements in the electronic market, finding a brand-new color printer for under $50 today is easy. These printers are versatile and have an impressive potential for growth.