May '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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SHOP SNAPSHOT Deluxe Screen Printing has since become director of operations. "(Chris) is my best friend, my confidant, and we run the shop here," says Acevedo. The shop continues to serve smaller local clients, bolster its e-commerce arm, bring on bigger clients, and create a showroom where customers can try on apparel. Order volume has also grown for Deluxe, so much so that in May 2018, the company invested in its first automatic press to keep up with demand. Acevedo points out that in addition to being a female-owned busi- ness, the shop serves a large number of fe- male-run companies who come to Deluxe for their screen-printing needs. "They come to us because they love supporting other female-owned businesses," she explains. Slivar adds that a continued evolution in social awareness and inclusion resonates with the shop. "A big part of the business is that we have a certain appeal with women and the LGBTQ com- munity," Slivar states. Slivar also notes that with the rise of the #MeToo movement, "people are looking to support other women, and looking for that camaraderie and networking, and that has really catapulted us." The shop periodically donates to causes like #MeToo and similar efforts. Along with maintaining an inclu- sive, community-conscious approach, Acevedo suggests that one of the most rewarding things is the smile on a cus- tomer's face when they open a box of custom-printed shirts produced by her team. "At the end of the day, I'm re- ally happy that this started from the garage and now I'm comfortable and happy with what we have, and who we're meeting." For more information, visit www. PW E very producer in the decorated apparel world has their own unique path. For Elsie Ace- vedo, co-founder and owner of Deluxe Screen Printing, having a hand in the industry goes back many years, but her role has shifted over time. Acevedo says she got her start more than a decade ago, away from the presses and squeegees. "I was working for a clothing company as a receptionist, and there was a screen printer who would always come in and ask me if I needed a job." After visiting the shop one day and being intrigued by the operation, Acevedo says the business offered to hire her in their sales department. "The (shop's) busi- ness was garment industry companies like Cross Colors and Beverly Hills Polo Club," says Acevedo. That role served as a springboard for Acevedo's shift into the screen-printing trade. Following that job, she worked at a commercial screen printer for 12 years, further refining her skillset. That business owner, Acevedo says, became a mentor for her during her tenure. Eventually, Acevedo says the shop went out of business and she found herself at a crossroads. "I decided to start my own (business) because my phone was still ringing, and people still needed samples and screen-printing services" she says. With her former boss and mentor's encouragement, Acevedo moved forward. "I bought a screen-printing kit with a manual press, exposure unit, and washout booth," she says. From there, Deluxe's first phase began in Acevedo's garage in 2008. With help from her friend Liza D'Agostino, the two business part- ners established themselves with a small but steady list of clients, including a handful of those in the licensing business. As Deluxe grew, they began to shift away from large-scale garment industry clients and looked towards businesses like wineries, yoga studios, and breweries. Be- cause the shop ran manual presses, Deluxe could cater to smaller local businesses who weren't always interested in the high-volume orders contract shops typically require. Sadly, as the shop continued to grow in prominence, D'Agostino passed away after battling breast cancer. "She was the one that helped me start the company, and it was just a really huge loss, both for me and the employees here," says Acevedo. Understandably, Acevedo says moving forward from that point was difficult, but she had promised to keep the business going. Acevedo's close friend and former co-worker from the larger commercial screen printer, Chris Slivar, stepped in to help continue the legacy. The partnership flour- ished, the business moved to a bigger facility in Downtown Los Angeles, and Slivar DELUXE SCREEN PRINTING LOCATION: Los Angeles OWNER: Elsie Acevedo SQUARE FOOTAGE: 5,000 sq. ft. PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT: • Three BWM/Hopkins Convertible manual screen-printing presses • One Anatol VOLT M 7-color/8-sta- tion automatic screen-printing press • One Workhorse gas dryer L-R: Elsie Acevedo, owner of Deluxe Screen Printing and Chris Slivar, director of operations. (Images cour- tesy Deluxe Screen Printing) While Los Angeles is home-base for Deluxe, the shop serves clients nationwide. 6 4 P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 1 9

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