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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. So what's a growth-minded printer to do in a market-such as currently prevails in the U.S.-where possibilities for growth are limited?
"We're seeking out companies, ultimately one in each international market, and basically teaching them to print with the methods we've developed for our own work," says Rick Roth, owner of Cambridge-based Mirror Image.

"We teach them everything we know, technologically, about printing. We also teach them a little about separations, but mainly, they scan in their artwork, send it to us, we separate it and send it back-all through the Internet. Then they output the films and print."

Roth currently has developed relationships with two foreign print shops. The first is one with which Printwear readers are already familiar: Lynka, in Krakow Poland, Emco, in Aruba-is a younger relationship, but one for which Roth as high hopes. So, what's in it for Mirror Image?

"Making money. What we do is tied to their success. If they're able to print more of certain kinds of work, we get a royalty. So we're kind of a cross between a consultant and partner."

Roth explains that, in a market the growth rate of which has leveled off, he'd much rather encourage these companies to grow in their expanding markets, than struggle to grow his own company in a static one: "Overseas is where things are expanding, while ours is shrinking."

Roth also indicates his company's intention to become ever-more visible at foreign trade shows. Mirror Image printed at the last FESPA exposition (1996, Lyons, France), and intends to print at the next one (1999, Munich, Germany) as well as the Mexico City show this November.

Read more about the logic and philosophy behind this company's outward expansion in the August Printwear.


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