Back in 1994, few people realized Robert Keane was starting a revolution. His radical idea: Empower small business owners to print their own high-quality color brochures and other marketing material in volumes and at prices that suited their budgets.
The fledgling Vistaprint began life in Robert’s Paris apartment, using desktop printers and publishing software to serve microbusinesses via a direct marketing catalog. A need was met and sales grew steadily.
By 1999, the world was wild about the web and businesses had the power to instantly connect with millions of customers around the world. Robert grabbed this opportunity to transition “Vistaprint the catalog” to a true e-commerce platform. And all along he continued his pursuit of an efficient method for allowing low volume and high quality to coexist – at low prices.
His quest paid off with a breakthrough innovation in production: Gang-run printing. Now, when a customer clicked to confirm an order, it would instantly be “ganged” together in batches of similar sizes, products, papers or colors, allowing orders of any size to be printed in a high-volume process.
Humming along in 2000, thanks to its new patented technology, Vistaprint was headed straight for the dotcom bubble burst, while simultaneously embarking on its most famous endeavor yet: Free business cards.
Robert believed that “free” would drive so much volume that unit production costs would fall drastically, creating a virtuous circle of lower costs, leading to more customers. This great idea paid off.
By 2002, with holiday cards and other consumer products added to the portfolio, Vistaprint celebrated its 1 millionth order and boasted nearly 1 million customers worldwide. After this the company picked up the pace and began opening large-scale manufacturing plants and new offices around the globe.
By 2005, after showing the world just how profitable the humble microbusiness could be, Vistaprint, a once-humble microbusiness itself, went public. Since then, we’ve continued to grow – both our global presence and our product line.
By 2013, Vistaprint has offices in 14 countries with 4,400 employees, serving more than 15 million customers and generating over $1B in annual revenue. Not bad for a company that spent its first year in a converted bedroom.
We understand innovation is more than technology; it’s about an idea, vision and dream. These are the things we look for from each employee, regardless of their department, title or tenure. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute to our future. If you’d like to be a part of it, search our job openings now.
"We are still only in the middle of our second decade. Together over the next decade, we will build the world-class transformational business we aspire to be.”
Vistaprint CEO Robert Keane