June '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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SHOP SNAPSHOT Printing in the City T he screen-printed T-shirt has always had a longstanding connection to the music world, be it the local concert venue or stadium shows. For Chris Formosa, owner of Start Today Printing, the connection runs deep. His clients range from schools to HVAC compa- nies, but Formosa says where he is today ties back to his time playing music. As a teen, Formosa immersed himself in the New York hardcore music scene, a subcul- ture influenced by bands from Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The subculture gained traction in the 1980s and continues today. Throughout the early 2000s, Formosa sang and played in a handful of groups, eventually joining a touring band. One of the earliest mo- ments that queued him into custom-decorated goods was seeing a friend print handmade custom patches. "That blew my mind because that's exactly what I was into," he states. "Just using your hands and creating with your hands." With the band's notoriety growing, fate intervened. "We were driving to Chicago to meet with a record label, and we got hit," he explains. The van flipped multiple times and Formosa was thrown from the vehicle. The accident left him hospitalized for a time and forced him to reconsider his options. It was then that he hatched a plan to start screen printing. By 2006, about one year after the accident, he moved to screen printing full time in his parents' garage. As orders picked up, Formosa moved to the basement of a band rehearsal building. "I was surrounded by people who I really knew and who were all turning into customers," Formosa states. With steady growth, the business moved into a standalone building soon after, and eventually into its current location around 2011. The staff is still mainly Formosa with a few helpers. That requires attention to detail both on the production side and on the customer side, he says. "I'll even print a shirt and have the customer come in to check it out," Formosa adds. The printing process is also streamlined with tools like a ticket system to track orders from start to finish and standard operating procedures for ink mixing, exposure times, and reclaim. Business is still going strong, but Formosa says the progress hasn't been without its chal- lenges. Despite that, the nature of the craft keeps him determined, he adds. "I'm glad I got into this business, but if I would have known how much is involved in the actual act of print- ing T-shirts and getting orders done before I started, I would probably stand back and say, 'I don't know.'" Formosa points back to the local music scene as being a foundation for his values of hard work, dedication, persistence, and a sense of community. "Hardcore music and screen printing really shaped how things are and who I am," he states. "Because without hardcore music, I don't think I would have ever gotten into screen printing." For more information, visit www.startto- PW START TODAY PRINTING LOCATION: Woodside, New York OWNER: Chris Formosa SQUARE FOOTAGE: 800 sq. ft. PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT: • M&R Sidewinder 6-color/6-station manual screen-printing press • M&R Diamondback 8-color/ 10-station automatic screen- printing press • Vastex Little Red X2 54-inch dryer • Vastex E-2000 LED screen exposing unit • Workhorse Accu-Stretch screen stretching system • Geo Knight DK20 heat press 6 4 P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 9 Left: Start Today Printing headquarters is in Queens, New York. (All images courtesy Start Today Printing) Center: In some instances, Formosa says he'll print a sample garment so customers can get a better idea of what the final product will look like. Right: The shop focuses on high-quality artwork and customer service.

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