*NEWS*ISLAND INKJET’s FOUNDER ..C.PORCHER

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*NEWS*ISLAND INKJET’s FOUNDER ..C.PORCHER

 user 2008-01-21 at 12:11:00 pm Views: 125
  • #19137

    Island Inkjet founder part visionary, part flake
    Carey Porcher wonders about the difference between “being a flake and being a visionary.”And the CEO of Comox Valley–based Island Inkjet makes it clear he is wondering about himself.“It’s a fine line,” he says. “But the difference is that the visionary can formulate a plan and then deliver on it. Before that happens, flakes and visionaries look alike.”Porcher, who was formally schooled in Victoria and informally educated in 40 countries he visited after he left here, has delivered on so many plans now, the clothing factory in Katmandu and the restaurant in Germany, for example, or the orphanage in the Philippines, that he could be forgiven for wanting to retire from Island Inkjet with its international chain of 260 franchises, and perhaps start up a sustainable community in the Shuswap.In fact, he tried that in 2005. But his managers lacked his vision and 100 franchises failed to get going.He came back to rescue the operation and now is poised to unleash a new franchising drive.If there seems to be a frenetic pace to Porcher’s life, he’s the first to admit it, only half-jokingly terming himself “ADD” (for Attention Deficit Disorder) several times in a short interview. “I’m very restless. I get bored very quickly.”Jamming a lot of experience into a short time is nothing new. Right from Camosun College he started on his world tour, paying his way through two score countries by doing sleight-of-hand, or what he calls, “close-up illusions” in nightclubs.In Germany a decade ago he opened a 200-seat restaurant with a Canadian outdoors theme, which he left to his wife’s family to manage. This year the operation’s lease expires and it will presumably close.In India he partnered with friends to start a clothing factory and in Nepal, a resort.Back in Canada, his personal and business life intersected to land him in Courtenay.With his parents in Victoria and a new girlfriend in Campbell River, he hunkered down at the pleasantest point in between. That relationship didn’t prosper but a new one did (and does).When the Indian venture went sour — an order of 300 Goretex jackets delivered with the pockets sewn shut — he decided he had to find a business he could run hands on — in Courtenay.His new wife, a banker, told him about a local technical guy who refilled printer cartridges at her office and who could use some business savvy.“He is a genius but not a businessman. He was making just $1,500 a month. He quickly asked me to become partners,” recalls Porcher.“I told him if I can get sales to $15,000 a month I’ll think about it.” That took longer than he expected — three months — and Island Inkjet, the franchisor, was born.What Porcher realized was the enormous potential offered by the “greed” of the printer manufacturers. “They were raping the public and the public was angry,” he says.Printer makers were selling printers at giveaway prices and then charging excessive prices for replacement ink cartridges that were far from filled with ink.Porcher quickly established franchise operations in Victoria and Nanaimo, then took the model on the road, planting operations, in the early years of the decade, in malls across Canada.With supplies secured from Island Inkjet, the franchisees refill cartridges on site. To date, the firm has refilled 120 million cartridges worldwide.Porcher left the firm to managers in 2005, expecting to move to the Shuswap and start a sustainable community with his growing, blended family of five children and like-minded adults.But his successors lost sight, he says, of the company’s basic dependence on growing new franchises.In 2006, he returned, contemplated selling the company to its Australian competitor, and then elected to get more deeply involved.He’s also writing a pair of business books; supporting several children in a Philippines orphanage with the intention of funding even more; and still scheming to establish a green community in the Shuswap.