Affinity Express Completes Ten Years

That’s right. Affinity Express was incorporated in 2000, which makes this our tenth anniversary year. There’s no doubt about it, this is an incredibly exciting time to be at Affinity Express.  

Embroidery Digitizing - Affinity Express Pune Office

Affinity Express Pune Office: in Embroidery

Let me take you down memory lane.  

Take off Your Shoes  

Way back in 2000, Affinity Express had around 125 people. We had one production location in an apartment complex in a residential suburb of Pune: a less-than-ideal spot for high-volume, fast production work. To avoid using unreliable landlines, a radio modem was installed on top of the building. Power outages were frequent, so the company bought a genset. To appease other occupants of the building for the noise of the genset, we provided reliable power to the building. Plus, all the employees took off their shoes to go up and down the stairs during shift changes.  

However, things improved quickly. Later in the year, the company took space at our current location in Pune (yes, that lovely building in the image on the right that our designers have digitized) and grew to 237 employees. Over time we have gone from 400 to 1,400 to 14,000 square feet.  

Disks on a Bicycle  

Most processes were manual when Affinity Express began. We used paper job tickets. There was a paper manual with all client standards and specifications, making it very time consuming to find information. If you remember, floppy disks were in use at the time, and they took time to load, would often get corrupted and cost too much.  

Another challenge was that the sampling room for digitizing was at a different location a quarter mile away from the design center. An employee had to drive back and forth on a bicycle, taking the floppy disks, getting the designs sewed and bringing them back. The team had to wait for him to bring the samples for quality checking before sending completed work to clients.  

Clients and Services   

At that time, we offered digitizing and artwork services under both the Voyager Now and Affinity Express Digital Services brands. We had quite a few large clients, and I’m glad to say that many of those are still clients.  

Toward the end of 2000, an affinity program for colleges and universities was started and we had Harvard and Massachussets Institute of Technology as clients. The goal of program was to increase client revenues and control the use of their logos and brands. In addition, we started to support a printer client and developed the Affinity Express documentation creation offering starting with 80 retail stores.  

To support the colleges and universities and document creation work, a call center with eight people was established in Canada. It was managed by Joanna Grant, who is now vice president of Graphic Production and Support Services.  

Communicating Across Cultures  

Training processes were created to help team members in Pune understand U.S. states and cities, colleges and universities, slang and more to enable them to provide support to clients. The team used instant messaging and email to connect with clients: we have always stayed close to our clients and their needs, though technology has evolved to make this much easier now than it was back then.  

Looking Forward  

Of course, things have changed a lot since then. We have added services: apart from graphic services (embroidery digitizing, vector artwork, image editing, order management), we deliver production of print and online ads and marketing communications to a host of clients, and are increasingly expanding our range of interactive services. We have more than 800 people across three countries and hundreds of valued clients.  

But what I find most reassuring about our future is that, although we have had an incredibly exhilarating couple of years at Affinity Express, we know that our people will never cease to find new ways to make it better in the coming months and years.

About Kelly Glass
Kelly has been vice president of Marketing at Affinity Express for nine years now. She drives company strategy and all marketing activities.

3 Responses to Affinity Express Completes Ten Years

  1. Pingback: Get to Know: Associate Vice President of Graphic Services, K.T. Radhakrishnan « Affinity Express Blog

  2. Pingback: Summing Up 2010 « Affinity Express Blog

  3. Pingback: From Print to Digital: Transform Your Business « Affinity Express Blog

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