In 2017 I launched Let’s Print LA, a print shop located in Highland Park, CA specializing in providing custom screen printing services to fit all sizes, needs and budgets.
I also work at BELLA+CANVAS, a Southern California apparel company that manufactures and distributes millions of shirts worldwide. As the Manufacturing Systems Development Manager, I look to advance current manufacturing technologies to lead the apparel industry into a more humane 21st century.
I'm proud to say that since joining, I’ve pushed the company to put the earth first and insisting on a humane, eco-friendly work environment when we're create the best tees in the industry.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
Like a lot of printers, I started early on in life. In high school, I was in many bands and after paying for gas and equipment in those endeavors, I needed some extra cash. I found that the best way for me to generate revenue was through screen printed merch which sparked my interest in clothing.
My first job in the industry was at American Apparel which I considered an apprenticeship. I worked there 4 years alongside industry leaders and mastered the inner workings of garment manufacturing. Step-by-step I learned what it takes to make a t-shirt, from growing cotton and knitting yarn, to cutting and sewing and onto shipping and logistics.
Coming from a foundation in screen printing at American Apparel I had a great springboard to BELLA+CANVAS. I was really impressed with the quality of products they offered. Besides being great tees I noticed right away how awesome they were for printing. I realized my access to these great T-shirts combined with my skill and passion for screen printing would make for a great personal endeavor and that's how Let’s Print LA began.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
Guidance! The print industry is infamous for taking your artwork as-is and throwing it on a shirt. But depending on your brand, audience or event, you might not even need your graphic printed on a shirt. Perhaps a bandanna is better suited to deliver your message. Or perhaps a tote! People love totes. The point is I love guiding my clients and together creating products that best elevate their message and brand rather than just mindlessly slapping a logo on a shirt without asking about their goals.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Printing shouldn’t be limited to big industrial warehouses or someone’s garage. Live Screen Printing is a modern event innovation. It’s an exciting way to create interactive engagement with fans. Not only do fans take away a unique gift, but leave empowered by the experience and create a positive memory anchored to the brand/client. Our goal this year is to host more Live Screen Printing events and bring the magic of printing to you.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I’m an organizer to a fault and find even letting loose can be difficult if the plan for a night out isn’t layed out. That lead a few close friends and I to create Summer School Sessions, a yearly summer kick-off party aimed at connecting and engaging creatives through fun, interactive games and activities all leading up to night long dance party.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
User experience, hands down. And not in a digital sense, I’m talking real world user experience. Have you ever been at a restaurant and couldn’t figure out if you should seat yourself or wait for a server due to poor signage? Have you ever left a bar because maybe the music is WAY TOO LOUD. Or a sports bar that would be a whole lot better if their TV’s were mounted in just the right places at just the right angles. I’d love to offer consulting services where, whether it be a concert hall, restaurant or sports bar, I would spend every day in a different seat and create an experience tailored to each so that there was literally no bad seat in the house.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Price points. Our clients first ask is, “do you offer a cheaper shirt?” and our answer is always, “Low Quality - Low Return; High Quality - High Return”. Who wants to spend their day jumping meeting to meeting wearing a "cheaper shirt"?
With the print industry being so competitive cost-wise it’s sometimes difficult to convey just how important the quality of the garment you are putting your namesake on plays. The last thing we want is for your audience to associate your brand with a scratchy, ill-fitting tee. Your brand is so much more than a logo. Let us elevate your followers with retail quality, fashion forward products that inspire.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
We live in a world where social media is king and content takes the cake. I'd hire a social media maven to sort through the pile of GIF’s and Boomerangs Let’s Print LA has amassed throughout the last year and breathe new life into @LetsPrint.LA’s social media presence. That kind of help is priceless.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
Dear mid-20’s Rene, don’t wait until you feel old to start taking care of yourself. Sleep is your most important asset, protect it at all costs. Realize just how much more productive an 8-hour of sleep Rene can be vs. 6-hours of sleep Rene. Yoga, massages, early bedtimes, tea vs. coffee, less all-nighters. Needing rest is not a flaw, it is an asset.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Yo Jeff Bezos. How’d you go from being a disruptor to the disruptor? From Amazon to Amazon Web Services to now SWA (Shipping With Amazon) how do you manage to branch out into all these different sectors and yet still remain on task? Plus, what projects are you working towards on the DL that we haven’t even heard of hmm???
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Having access to arguably the best blank t-shirts available on the market I’d like to create opportunities through which apparel could increase a brands presence.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Guillaume Wolf’s - You Are a Message; “Solve a tiny problem for me and I’ll give you five dollars. Solve a bigger problem for me and I’ll give you a hundred dollars. Make me grow as an individual while you help me solve my problem, and I will be your customer for life.”
My ideal client/job/collaboration is one where we can be each others clients for life.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
Our services vary print to print as each project can offer it's own set of complexities. Is your design 1 color or is it 6? Are we printing on t-shirts or hoodies? Maybe you want both?
We do our best to walk our clients through the process to get a general idea how we can best suit their timeline and budget and offer the best solution possible.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Don’t be shy, hit that DM, fam. Let us know what your vision for your project is, your timeline and budget and together we’ll find a solutions that is the perfect fit.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
˙sǝʌᴉʇɔǝdsɹǝd ʍǝu ɯoɹɟ plɹoʍ ǝɥʇ ǝǝs oʇ ɟlǝsʎɯ puᴉɯǝɹ I
This member profile was originally published in February 2018.