Brian Withey shares how Birmingham garment decorator Printigo set up home in a derelict supermarket and has never looked back

Six years ago, the current home of Printigo was a derelict, vandalised old KwikSave supermarket with rain pouring in and trees growing up through the roof. “The agent showing us round thought I was absolutely mental to be interested in it,” says founder and director Brian Withey. “I thought it was amazing.” 

After being rebuilt to Brian’s own bespoke designs, Printigo’s premises – covering 5,000sqft of the 8,000sqft building – now house a bustling print shop with an 11-strong workforce engaged in garment printing and embroidery. 

The company dates back 15 years, but has always been in Stirchley, south of Birmingham city centre, close to Bournville and the Cadbury’s factory. It was originally set up in an 800sqft shop down the road, developed out of a side hustle that Brian started while running a nearby live music venue, The Roadhouse.

Mitra Sami with the new Teejays display

Mitra Sami with the new Teejays display

Printigo’s showroom, which includes a fitting room

Printigo’s showroom, which includes a fitting room

He spotted the potential of garment decoration after buying uniforms for his staff and, with vinyl printer/cutters and two single-head embroidery machines, he and his team began providing workwear and fun T-shirts, such as stag and hen party tops. “I didn’t know anything about garment decoration, so I brought in people who did and learned the trade,” Brian adds.

The value of a showroom

No longer involved in The Roadhouse, Brian grew the business to such a point where it needed new, larger premises. The old KwikSave proved perfect for creating print and embroidery rooms and a display area around a central open-plan office. The high-street building also came with a 30-space car park, making it a destination for people who want more than just ordering online.

Printigo’s head of customer service, Mitra Nami, who has been with the business from the start, says that having a showroom has been vital.

“People love to touch and feel what they are buying. Customers still like to talk to a real person who’ll guide them through the whole process from beginning to end, rather than buying online all the time. Often people will come in with an idea and don’t realise that what our guys can print is far beyond what they could imagine.”

….Read the full profile of Printigo in our June 2024 issue here