LiT Speaker Spotlight: Richard Askam - Redefining a Drinks Business with Digital Print

Richard Askam will be presenting at the LiT Summit on 28th June in Cambridge. The theme of leadership, technology and entrepreneurship aligns perfectly both with Richard’s story and his experience and vision for personalisation for digital printing. In this blog we talk about how he adapted his business and his view on the challenges and opportunities for digital printing.

What is your background Richard?

I started life in the drinks business. My family ran wine merchants and I joined at a time when the industry was beginning to change as wine became more popular.

So you evolved a traditional business model?

I guess you look back and see how you have done it, but at the time it just feels like your trying to survive. The wine needed selling! What was clear was that the value was in the knowledge, not in the product itself. It was only when the knowledge wasn’t required then the profit in the business began to drop.

How did the knowledge decrease in importance?

Once consumers became more informed, then the value was no longer there. I learned the ‘ins and outs’ of what makes wine and yes this is still useful. In the 1980’s and 90’s wine was a luxury product– then in the 1990’s wine really grew. It was the supermarkets that grew the business to the masses which on the one hand was great but this led it to become commoditised. For a number of years, there is no competition for people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Then supermarkets bought the knowledge in house and it became commoditised. In your average bottle of wine now, when you take off the production the amount out of that £6 when you have removed the fixed costs, what is left out of that £6 is 40p – so for the merchant, there is very little profit.

To check out the complete interview

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