With a 90-year heritage in quality bookbinding craftsmanship and a Royal Warrant from her Majesty the Queen, it’s no wonder Blissetts bookbinders are renowned for their exceptional quality and service in the printing industry. We all have travel adventures and memories that we will forever cherish. From the far-flung corners of Asia to the safari plains of Africa, these are the moments that deserve to be remembered. So wherever you go, bring your holiday home with you in a handcrafted Blisset photobook.
We caught up with the delightful managing director Gary Blissett, the third generation of Blissetts to take the helm, where he shares with us the story behind the prestigious family business…
- We absolutely love the story and heritage of Blissetts and can imagine the bookbinding industry has changed hugely over time. Could you tell us a bit about your story within the business and how it has grown over the last (nearly 100!) years?
I started in the business in 1980 with my Father, Uncle and Grandmother. She worked until 1992 when she was 92 and the deal was, when she retired that part of my job was to report to her weekly over a drink! 100% of our business until 1995 was rebinding library books and academic journals with just a little private work. With the growth of the internet the library business and academic journal work has dropped to less than 15% of what we do. In 2002 we invested on what was then state of the art digital printing equipment, the short run nature of this medium to compliment our one-off the short run binding expertise. We invested in online technology and in our staff to increase our skills so we became one of a few binding companies who could deal with leather restoration. In 1980 we were one of many bookbinding companies in the UK. Today we are one of two or three who can provide all the services we offer under one roof.
- Your Royal Warrant is a testament to your wonderful work – were you awarded this following a particular project and are you still involved in bookbinding and printing for the Royal Family?
Our Royal Warrant was awarded to us after 5 years of working for the Royal Collection and this work involved the repair of books, replacement folders and the re-backing of cloth and leather bound volumes where spines and boards were separating and new spines were required, but boards conserved. We continue with this same kind of work today.
- Like Turquoise, your business has grown through the production of high-quality books and top class customer service, how do you maintain this as the brand grows?
There is no secret to keeping a high-quality product maintained. It is investment in equipment, staff and full control of quality.
- We love the new photobook arm of Blissetts, how long have you been making these? Are post holiday travel photobooks very popular?
We have been engaged in photobooks for over 15 years and put our online solution into place in 2009. It is the most powerful piece of software downloaded from our website. It is a very popular post-holiday part of our business but is used for many other memories and people are now understanding that memories are lost if not in printed format.
- Are you keen photographers and travellers yourselves? What is your favourite holiday destination and do you always make your own photobook afterwards?
We do a lot of picture taking on holiday and favourite destinations are Thailand and Malaysia, British Isle and France. Photobooks are always made after these trips or started and added to through the year to be completed at the end of the year.
- We love the idea of post Turquoise Holiday photobooks to ensure our clients holiday memories stay alive – what makes Blissetts photobooks different from the rest?
Blissetts are traditional bookbinders and combine the highest quality print and are not limited to paper type, binding styles or any other element of the print/bind process like other suppliers. We obviously offer the standard offerings as other suppliers but can take it further even to the extent of designing the books for clients directly.
- Is it easy for our clients to use the Blissetts technology to create their own photobooks?
The process from downloading the software to making a book is intuitive and enjoyable and most importantly easy. It becomes easier with practice and we have a help desk available for phoning and email
- How long do the books take to print?
Standard photobooks take less than a week, but the more bespoke and leather bound options a little longer
- If you were giving our clients one piece of advice when creating their own photobook, what would it be?
Do not leave the project. Start and finish quickly or time will leave it behind and it becomes more difficult. Ensure your photos are downloaded and backed up
- Finally, could you give us an overview of your other products and services? For example wedding invitations for our honeymoon clients?
Blissetts have state of the art print facilities and a design dept which is engaged in the printing of all wedding stationery from invites to orders of service, place settings and menus, guest books etc. We are happy to discuss all this work, help with the design and make a package for the wedding album, honeymoon album and family and friends copies of the photobook of the big day.