1. Generational opportunity for growth

What the printing industry can learn from Pixar

Connect BlogMar 20 2024

Posted by Henrik Muller-Hansen, CEO of Gelato


The print production industry has a generational opportunity for growth

Nearly 30 years ago, when Pixar released the movie “Toy Story,” kids and adults all over the world fell in love with Woody and Buzz as they went on the adventure and grappled with real human emotions of love, disappointment and fear. Considered a blockbuster success, it generated $373 million worldwide during its initial theatrical run. Pixar's success fueled the success of DreamWorks’ first film “Antz” (released 3 years later). This success then fueled Pixar’s next blockbuster success, Toy Story 2 (released 1 year later). 

Greatness leads to more greatness and greatness leads to shared growth. Pixar's and DreamWork's mutual successes generated positive rippling effects across the world and for animated movies. 

Similarly, the print industry now stands in front of the same unique opportunity, one that only comes around only once in a few decades. 

Speaking with hundreds of printers, creators, makers, vendors, I see such an opportunity for all boats to lift with a rising tide. Building on top of the success that the print industry has already achieved, we see an opportunity to continue to elevate the growth of creators, makers, vendors and ecommerce brands. This is why we've launched GelatoConnect. 

We stand on the shoulders of our production partners in collaboration with the global machine vendors, who have been trailblazers! We thank them because they have led the way to show what is possible with print production and now GelatoConnect comes to support the momentum.

By working together, we share software and fixed assets. Together we bring local production-on-demand of personalized items to global trade. Together we fuel local ecosystems of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship across cities and countries around the world. Together we already cover 5 billion consumers with the possibility of overnight delivery of your own designed products to your doorstep.

Uniting to revolutionize manufacturing for a sustainable future


The mission that unites us is to challenge the large traditional retailers with the legacy burdened central manufacturing models. Why? because we believe that someone must build the manufacturing model for the next generation. If not, we do not believe that we will be able to deliver on the reductions in CO2 emissions and the climate challenges ahead. If not, generations ahead will not be able to connect supply and demand - putting a halt to the wasteful overproduction of consumer goods that are shipped halfway around the world. We are bringing the future of production to life. None of us will be able to do this alone. We are all mutually dependent on each other. Simply said, if not us, then who?

Often, companies get ahead by playing a "zero sum game" - that for someone to win, others need to lose. Great software, ideas, and creativity can be shared endlessly. 

At Gelato, we aim to redefine the meaning of competition. Our competition is the old way of centralized mass production in the manufacturing industry that we are fighting. We are taking that fight because it matters to all of us. We are taking this fight because we believe in the power of local, personalized and on-demand production. Online printers should not be fighting other online printers. Each printer's success provides growth for the whole print industry - just like Toy Story fueled Antz and Antz fueled Toy Story 2. 

Our marketplace makes the whole greater than the sum of the individual parts - powerful forces that have during the recent decade have created unprecedented customer value and reshaped significant global industries such as ride sharing, hospitality and music. Now, similar value creation and growth opportunities stand before us in the print industry. 

Collaboration and generosity will fuel our growth and describe who we are. We are here to empower. We hope to see you and share our vision with you in person at DRUPA. 

We are here to disrupt by providing every person and consumer, access to local on-demand production of personalized products. 

I invite you to come on this journey with us.

Making it together,



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