BIDBI Staff Spotlight on: Paul Withers

  • 1st March 2019

Paul has been at BIDBI for a very long time, he started back in 2009 as a temp, but loved it so much he decided to stay. Through the years he has tried his hand at and mastered each print technique that has been thrown at him. A team player, he regularly trains new recruits and gets them up to speed by imparting his many years of printing wisdom on them.

Deservedly so, Paul is BIDBI’s Employee of the Month for January. We sit down with him and talk printing, dirt bikes and what’s made him stick around all these years.

When you started at BIDBI, what was it like?

I started in 2009 and the company had only been trading for 2 years, it was still in its first stages, so it was very ‘makeshift’. We only had a manual screen print carousel and two heat press machines, I think there was only a handful of screens too! There was 4 of us that worked in production in total, and 6 who were in the office, which is a world away from where we are now.

Paul on the heat press back in 2010

Did you think you’d be here all these years, watching the company grow and change?

To tell you the truth, no I didn’t. I started out as a temp, after a friend mentioned there was some work going at BIDBI, but I decided to stay after that job was complete, it was exciting working in a growing company and having the opportunity to be part of something new. Plus printing was something completely novel to me and I really enjoyed it. Being able to see BIDBI now from where it was 10 years ago makes me feel proud! The past two years have been the most exciting, we’ve expanded so much and I'm looking forward to what's coming.

What’s your favourite printing method?

Definitely Screen printing, I like how much control you have over the whole process, especially being able to control the finish in comparison to other methods such as heat press printing. With screen printing you can adjust the pressure you put on the squeegee (the tool you use to push the ink through the mesh screen) which helps you get a better finish depdending on what the artwork is like.

Do any notable prints/bags come to mind?

Oh wow, that’s a hard one, I’ve printed around 7,000 orders in my time here and there are so many that I can think of. Errm, It’s probably a bag I printed for the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary. It was on a black Luxury Shopper Bag and had a two-sided print, with 3 colours on each side. I think that sticks out the most because of the name and of how many issues we had printing it as we’d never attempted something like that before, which makes me laugh now because I could do that with my eyes shut now!

What does it take to be a master printer?

Patience, an eye for detail. And initiative.

How do you feel about winning employee of the month?

Chuffed, really chuffed. It’s nice to get the recognition for the hard work that you put in and for doing something you love. Plus, who doesn’t love a day off!

What do you like to get up to when you’re not printing?

I race dirt bikes, for fun and in competitions, I recently got back into it after a few years and realised it’s something I love. It’s mainly the adrenaline rush you get when going fast and also the element of danger. I’ve had a few scrapes but that’s part and parcel of the sport. My dream is to take my bike and go riding around the world.

What advice do you have for people who want to get into printing?

Honestly, it’s harder than you expect it to be, especially to be a good printer, you have to really care about what you’re doing and treat each job with importance.  

What steps do you take in order to be more environmentally friendly?

I try to cycle to work as much as I can, it definitely beats sitting in traffic. I also recycle as much as I can and I’ve been trying to eat less meat, I used to eat meat everyday but I make sure I have meals that don’t have any meat around 3 times a week. And of course I always carry a tote bag with me when shopping so I don’t have to use a plastic bag!

In laymen’s terms can you explain what screen printing is?

Screen printing is a printing method which uses a mesh stencil to transfer an image onto a garment or medium by pushing ink through the stencil. 

If you think you've got what it takes to become a master printer visit our jobs page.