Inksplott recently met with David Thomas, manager of Davies Colour, a print company on East Tyndall Street that kindly supported the Keep Splott Tidy Fundraiser Quiz in November by donating 40 prints of the Splott harvest moon for free!
You’ve probably driven past the building hundreds of times and not given it a second glance, but if you have printing to be done, big or small, Davies Colour is worth a look.
Inksplott: Hi David, can you tell us a little about the business and your role?
David: Davies Colour has been in Splott 15 years and prior to that 25 years; a long time! I’ve been manager for 14 years. It started off in East Moors, moved to Claire Road then Sloper Road and then came here, and I followed here from another company about a year later.
The company is split into mainly two: Pro-lab and colour photo. I manage the pro-lab side; I deal with professionals, semis, amateurs and students; looking at the images, helping them, teaching them and printing the end pieces.
The colour photo side of the business is predominantly schools based. We have nearly 25 photographers who cover South Wales, South West England, North Wales and Glasgow. That’s a good 80% of what the company does – the other 20% is what I cover.
Inksplott: How many staff do you have?
David: At a quieter time of the year, which is January, February, it’s as low as 17 and then at the busier time as the year goes on, right the way up to December, it goes as high as 97. A lot of those are returning part-timers who have worked for the company for many years.
Inksplott: What’s your speciality?
David: High quality printing; that’s what we do. We don’t just print on cheap paper; we use the very best Hahnemühle paper, printed in Germany since 1584. We even have to pass exams on how to use it! We also specialise in services for photographers, artists and illustrators and have customers in London who come to us as we are London quality but with Cardiff prices!
Inksplott: What’s been your most unusual request?
David: We get unusual requests every day! I’m not sure about unusual but the most common one is that people still expect to get a massive picture from their phones, and they can’t. Some can but most can’t! We’ll get a small file and they want it as big as the wall and it’s totally impossible and people don’t understand why.
Inksplott: Have you had any weird images come through the business?
David: (laughs) Nothing I can talk about! I work a lot with students, so even though I nod my head and say that’s really nice, nine times out of ten I don’t understand what it’s about!
Inksplott: And are you a Splott Boy?
David: No I’m not, I’m a Tenby boy! I had to move away when I was 19 because there was no work. I went to work in retail. Worked in retail in various guises for many years. Came from an artistic background – I learned the trade there. I came here for six months and stayed for 14 years!
Inksplott: Do you have any stories of Splott?
David: The company I worked for before was over the other side, just off Lewis Road, so I learned a lot about what was going on and what had been here before because one of my customers at the time worked in the engineering room. It’s been quite interesting because I’ve seen Cardiff develop.
I like shopping local. If you ask me how often I go into town, the answer is once a year. I don’t like going into town because all of the shops are the same. No matter which town I ever visit, they’re all exactly the same and I refuse to pay £10 for parking when I could give it to a trader.
Inksplott: What things wouldn’t people know about Splott?
David: They probably don’t know that there aren’t many buses!
I remember when I first came to the area there was a market here where Lidl is now and that market is now Splott Market off Lewis Road. And now Lidl has been knocked down and being rebuilt bigger and better. Well the store won’t be that much bigger but the carpark will be.
This (the zebra crossing and traffic calming zone outside of Davies Colour) is one of the most dangerous crossings I’ve come across. Ten times a day you can hear the horns going and the breaks screeching and then the arguments and I can understand why – the sign isn’t big enough showing who has right of way.
Inksplott: Thank you David, that’s fab.
Find out more about Davies Colour and what they do by:
Visiting the website
Visiting in person between 8am and 4pm, Monday-Friday
Davies Colour Ltd, Digital Photo Centre, East Tyndall Street, Splott, Cardiff, CF24 5EF
Telephoning on 02920 448230
Visiting the Facebook page