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Unconventional Wraps

PCW Wraps it All

Part 3 of 4

By Melissa Donovan

Although a consumer wrap does not promote a corporate service or product, it can promote a PSP. "Personal wraps give me as much, if not more, advertising on the street because customers drive and talk about the wrap with everyone they know. Whereas a commercial wrap is driven from job to job, when the driver gets off work the truck or van goes to the shop and they go home," explains Chris Dix, owner/designer/installer, Port City Wraps (PCW).

PCW, in business for only a year, is based in Charleston, SC. Dix says previous employers pushed the completed project out the door so fast he had no time to put any effort into them. "I couldn’t deal with that, I need time to make what I am doing absolutely perfect and the only way to do that was to do it on my own. When I started PCW I wanted to give the consumer a wrap that was equal or better to a paint job for the same price or better," explains Dix.

The shop offers custom graphics, flyers, business cards, shirts, hats, signs, banners, and more. Accoding to Dix, all of PCW’s designs fit the individual. The shop wraps everything from RVs to golf carts, motorcycle helmets, and even car interiors and rims.

Dix uses MACtac Graphic Products’ IMAGin B-free Pro and RAYZor laminate on all of his wrapping jobs. He choose this media based on heat issues. "When I first started wrapping I experimented with many vinyls and laminates. I’d wrap something, set it outside for a day or two, and then see how it reacted to the scorching SC heat and humidity," he says.

For one project, he used MACtac media and a Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET PRO SP-540 eco-solvent printer on a 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Originally purchased "far from pretty," the owner did minor bodywork to the car prior to the wrap. Dix wrapped it in an Egyptian-themed design with pyramids and Egyptian scarabs. A picture of a friend who had passed away was also included. According to Dix, " it honestly doesn’t get any more personal that this car."

One of the most complex, detailed, and time consuming wraps Dix experienced involved a motorcycle. The customer wanted the graphic to include an American flag with an eagle’s head. The entire bike was wrapped, including the seat and frame. According to Dix, one of the hardest elements was matching the eagle image up perfectly on both sides of the bike tank without having to seam. The helmet was also wrapped to match the bike.

Dix credits both MACtac and Roland for the success of the aforementioned projects. The media and printer combined create output worthy of consumers’ visions. Dix and the team at PCW—including Danny Piggott and Jason Simpson—believe that the consumer wrap niche is growing. This is based mostly on the continuing interest on the part of the customer to express their personality in unconventional ways.

"It solely depends on the individual and what they come up with in their head that helps me to make it a reality for them." Before wraps, people wished they could customize their vehicles, but were wary due to the price and permanence of a paint job. "But now, they can get something as nice or better with a wrap for a fraction of the price," concludes Dix.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, The Benefits of a Niche.
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, Materials Get Personal.

Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.

Oct2009, Digital Output

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