Danicius Philippe is the Operations Manager at the STAR Publishing Company. Though he’s only been in his titled position for some months, he has worked over the years at other positions with the company. His role is to ensure everything runs effectively and efficiently. With some difficulty we were able to schedule the following interview with Dani.
How has the STAR evolved over the years?
The company, as we know it, began its operations, mainly producing the newspaper, in 1987. Today, we have a five-colour press, a four-colour press and another two-colour press. We also have a UV machine, die-cutting machines, a full range of bindery machines, guillotine, folders, binders, stitchers, and shrink-click technology. The STAR also evolved into printing commercially, local as well as regional orders. We are especially proud to have as long-time clients Courts and Flow. STAR Publications include our newspaper, Tropical Traveller, SHE Caribbean magazine, Sports & Health and STAR Businessweek.
What is the newest service the company offers?
We don’t have any new services, as such. Our focus is publishing. What’s new are the different types of printing we do. One time our main thing was offset printing, which is printing on the larger machines. But over the last five years or so we have branched out into digital and large format printing. We’re now capable of printing small runs such as invitations, brochures and personalised printing.
Another thing that falls under the new services category is we’re now able to print on new media. We can print on paper, plastic, PVC/teslin, key cards, swipe cards, ID cards, etc. Also, one of our digital printers can print in a fifth colour: white. Now, for printing, that is very big because in printing usually four colours are used: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Until relatively recent times digital printing in a fifth colour was unheard of. We’re probably the only company in Saint Lucia with such a printer.
Any other innovations you might mention?
Basically our philosophy is we won’t refuse any job. Many times customers ask if we can go with what they have and, believe me, we find a way to produce it; that’s what makes the STAR so innovative.
Specifically, we do die cutting; we’re able to make boxes for customers. We have customers who request boxes for their soaps, cakes and fudges. We also do envelopes, foil blocking; we can place foil on different prints. We’re not focused much on digital services, However, we are looking to move more into the realm, obtaining work digitally and communicating with our customers digitally. We’re also working on providing digital advertising to our customers.
What’s it like working as the company’s operations manager?
I have been with the company for seven years. In my current role I oversee print production and the productions of our publications. It’s my job to ensure we deliver the jobs to our customers on schedule. I supervise the operations from the sales department to the graphics department, right through to press, then to the stock room, pressroom and then to bindery. You could say my most vital role is to ensure customer satisfaction. I enjoy being operations manager but, sometimes, it can be challenging; things happen that were not preventable – breakdowns, for example. Then there’s having to order parts and having to get the expertise required to repair broken machines, which is often not locally accessible.
Are there any existing deals we should know about?
This is our 30th anniversary and we have special offers to customers to mark it. After all, without them, where would we be, especially in these trying times!
Tell me about the Yard. How did that come about?
We pride ourselves on being innovators. We publish SHE Caribbean, the only magazine in the region dedicated to women of colour. That was our managing director Mae’s innovation. The magazine has several times won awards for its photography, articles and general presentation. The magazine is, like Mae, very into fashion. Two years ago, she came up with the idea of giving local designers an outlet to sell and promote their work. We called it the Yard. It evolved from just clothing to jewellery, locally manufactured souvenirs and so on. When Sunshine Bookshop, the only bookstore on island closed down, Rick had the idea of opening a bookshop featuring local writers and few international authors. It was something Derek Walcott greatly supported. He had many readings at the Yard bookshop. He used to show up there almost every Saturday, for a meal or coffee. He performed his final reading at the Yard, when his collaborative book with Peter Doig, Morning Paramin, was launched.