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A Label Apeel Interview: Simon Biltcliffe, Webmart

By Helen Dugdale.
simon biltcliffe

This month we went on the road to chat to one of the UK’s print industry characters, Simon Biltcliffe CEO of Webmart. He’s the man with three bright yellow offices, if you didn’t already know. The business helps brands like Microsoft, Brighthouse and Knight Frank to get more from their print budgets, via re-engineered formats, smarter procurement and full project management.

Talk to most people in the industry and they’ll agree that Biltcliffe has created a unique work ethic. “We work on a blood brother basis. We’re about treating people equally and creating value for everyone involved, which is pretty rare in an industry that is still extremely hierarchical.” He explains. “As a business owner, I have a duty of care to support the new generation of people who will come to work in print. It’s my lasting legacy to share my knowledge. Whether that’s through answering every email that I receive or with speeches, training or mentoring. It’s about giving back.”

The man Stuart Kellock describes as “a bit of maverick,” launched Webmart with £1,000 in 1996 and grew it into a £30m-turnover print management agency employing 43 staff. It’s fair to say he does things differently.

Already with his own Webmart charity, earlier this year he started donating some of his time free of charge via Skype to print start-ups. His next innovative string to the Webmart portfolio is Printerest. A series of masterclasses and seminars where his team can share, showcase and deliver what is possible, what’s new and what really works in print to suppliers and clients. In fact to anyone who works in the industry and wants to learn more.

“Printerest will showcase different samples and styles of work, share best practice and access to experts and materials that most people in the industry don’t get the chance to experience. Everyone knows everything about their own role. Printerest is designed to encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and learn something new that will inevitably help their customer base. We’ll be delivering lively presentations in a cinema environment. It’s all about trying and doing something different.” He continues.

“Only a few years ago print was the least sexiest channel to market. But since the onset of Digital it’s become the medium to get involved in. Printerest will help the industry stay fresh and enable to us to learn from each other and grow.”

For more information on Webmart’s Marketing Masterclass Days, which will be held in the Printerest space, email sarah.plater@webmartuk.com or visit http://www.webmartuk.com