I regularly get the question whether Atlas Repro Paperwork is still in business or not anymore, since not all products that I made in the past can be found in the webshop, or because there is little news from my side.
To answer the question above, yes I am still in business. I’ll just explain what’s going on on my side. Not everyone follows my facebook page, or gets a notification when I have posted on that page. Hence this article.
Hard disk crash
Some years ago I had a hard disk crash, which damaged several Artwork files I had created in the past since 1995. Fortunately I was able to retrieve quite a few files from that hard drive with recovery software, but unfortunately not all of them. The files that got corrupted had to (and some still have to) be recreated. That meant that I also had to scan original paperwork again and edit it so that I can print it properly. The positive thing about this is that I was able to improve old files so that better products came out. So in the end it’s better. However, this is often a time-consuming activity, so I often have to do it in between in the lost hours, it’s just taking much longer than I would have liked.
Corona crisis passed in 2019-2020. This resulted in my sales declining. Events were canceled and assignments declined. Because of this I had to do other work to be able to continue to pay my costs. As a graphic designer I had a number of clients such as restaurant owners. I had done a lot of graphic work for two of these clients, but they had to close their restaurant due to the lockdowns and at some point they could no longer pay their bills. Also my invoices that were still open. I also lost a lot of money because of this. Try to get your money from a company that has gone bankrupt.
Just at the moment (August 2020) when I thought, I’m going to pull the plug, because I have almost no income left and all my savings have already been used up on the ongoing costs, I received a phone call. Whether I wanted to work for a Dutch television series to make Graphics and paper props. I accepted this assignment with both hands, because that meant money in the drawer again. However, while working on that TV production you still have to deal with Murphy’s law. When something goes wrong, everything goes wrong. During the busy printing of all kinds of paper props, my Xerox printer stopped working. And there you are… Now what? Fortunately, a few days later I was able to take over an old printer from someone else and I was able to print again. However, I could no longer print everything that I could do with that Xerox printer, but at least I could continue with the assignments for the TV series.
I could keep this up until December 2020. The moment our government decided to declare a complete lockdown. Everything really came to a halt, including for the TV series. To make matters worse, the government also decided to close the schools. This meant that I had to be home during the day with the children and at least had to go and play teacher for my youngest daughter. Then I could go to my office in the evening to do odd jobs, I thought. But we were faced with the implementation of a curfew by our government. This means we had to be in before 9pm. So my plans to work in the evenings went to…
Partly because of this, Atlas Repro Paperwork came to a complete standstill. Because of all these setbacks, however, I was back where I once started years ago. However, giving up was not an option and I started in 2021, after all lockdowns were lifted, etc. again with zero (0). Somehow I had to rebuild my working capital because at that point I couldn’t afford another hard drive crash, computer crash or printer crash.
After all the problems mentioned above, things finally went in the right direction again. Orders slowly started to get going again and I was busy putting new products in the webshop. Until I received an email from someone in September 2022 that he could no longer order in the webshop. Every time he wanted to pay, his shopping cart was empty. Then I went to look at the database to look up the problems. It turned out that with the last update of WooCommerce, a few days before, tables in the database had become corrupted. This had caused a number of problems. So I tried to fix it which only made it worse. And the worst part is that whoever set up the server for me forgot to check the automatic backup box. I assumed there were backups so I could post a backup from before the update. But there weren’t. I did find an older backup, but after performing that backup, the database with all data disappeared. I could cry. So I really lost everything since the start of the website in 2012 and could start all over again. In doing so, one learns something new. I really lost everything. My entire order administration, customer data, products with product descriptions, articles I had written and so on. Really everything, 10 years of work gone.
That was first taking a deep breath and then making a new plan… However, giving up was not an option. Maybe it was also good to start all over again and leave the mess of the past behind.
In October 2022, after being offline for 2 weeks, I started building this new website/shop, as you can see here. From old cache files I could find some texts that I had written in the past for the blog articles. I haven’t put everything back yet, but still needs to be done. Given that I still have to pay my ongoing bills, I can’t work 100% on the website just yet. So I work on it between other work I have to do. Most products require new images to be created in Photoshop. I do still have all the raw files, but making everything free of a background and saving it in the right size takes time. So are the product descriptions. All texts must be rewritten. SEO needs to be done and you name it. That also takes time. The entire stock system had to be set up again and all data had to be entered. So I’ll be working on it for the foreseeable future.
In the meantime I was still out of the running at the beginning of this year because I got Corona for the second time. This time it was worse than the first time and I suffered from it for a very long time. But thankfully things are getting better now.
Once again, Atlas Repro Paperwork’s business is still thriving, although it’s a bit slow at the moment in filling the products, texts and everything around it. I would have liked to see it differently. But given the financial situation I am in now due to everything that has happened in recent years, it is no different at the moment. I hope the webshop will be up and running again soon.
Nostalgic printing house
Although I have sometimes felt like a Don Quixote fighting the elements, I keep going to make my dream come true. What I would like to go to is a nostalgic printing company where I can make real printed paperwork from all the items that I now print with a laser printer and sell in my webshop. And where I can develop new items.
In the meantime I have been offered old presses up to 3 times. 1 bid even involved a complete ‘old-fashioned’ printing company, with Heidelberger letterpress, typesetters and everything to start a complete Nostalgic Printing Company (like a museum). Unfortunately, lack of money and work space on the ground floor has prevented me from going into it. It is a pity, but I keep hoping to realise this dream in the future.
But yes, that’s not possible yet, I’m afraid. Maybe I should set up a crowdfunding campaign for this, although I don’t like to raise my hand and ask people for money to make my dreams come true.
I’m seriously thinking about this. I’m just not really one for begging. I prefer to earn my own money to be able to invest in my dream. And I can’t go to a bank. As a small business owner, I don’t get credit or a loan. And so it will take years before I can realize my dream. So I’m seriously thinking about setting up a crowdfunding campaign.
In the meantime I will continue to make my repros and fill the webshop (as shown in the photos). And when I start making more sales, I will invest that in punching dies to be able to make ration boxes, ammo boxes and other items faster and in larger quantities.