Expand a Sign Pioneer John Bailey

Each business has a boss. But not all companies are fortunate enough to have a real leader. A pioneer and trailblazer with a passion for their chosen industry of work, and a desire to educate others with their knowledge. Expand a Sign is one of the truly great places to work, in that all staff are encouraged to contribute towards the growth of the business, are incentivised for the improvements within their departments, and are made to feel like a valuable piece of the puzzle that is Expand a Sign – A World of Branding Solutions. These roots were planted and nurtured by one man.

If you meet John Bailey, his unassuming and humble manner will belie the success and achievements that he has almost singlehandedly built. Mr. Bailey shies away from publicity and fanfare regarding his accomplishments, preferring to dedicate his time to tweaking and improving the many elements of dye sublimation printing; the man’s understanding of ink, polyester fabric and wide format print is difficult to match.

Every story of success has a beginning, and the tale of Expand a Sign is no different. In 1996 John Bailey founded a company manufacturing beach cabanas and pop up tents. When urged by a customer, he began screen printing brands and logos onto these fold up cabanas. This progression of dual purpose portable branding saw the creation of the now patented Folding A-Frame. In 1999, the idea from a close friend of producing a flag from printed fabric and a fishing rod-type pole then rendered Expand a Sign’s signature product, the fully patented teardrop-shaped Flying Banner. The new influx of demand for these banners provided their own challenges, with John becoming frustrated at the lack of speed and the colour limitations that screen printing would present. His research and interest in new technologies opened the doors to an improved, fresh new digital print. As one of the first businesses to explore this world of ink, John took on the challenge with the attention to detail and cautious enthusiasm that has since become his personal trademark. Originating as a small company of only 40 employees, John Bailey has built and moulded the business to a compliment of over 250 staff in South Africa, with more than 10 international agencies in USA, Australia, Canada, UK, to name a few.

Now in his 60’s, John has opted to spend more time fishing and walking the shores of his always beloved and now permanent home in the KZN South Coast. But with his ever-so wry smile and quiet, dry sense of humour, Mr. Bailey is warmly welcomed when visiting the Expand a Sign offices.