Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 18

READY, SET, PRINT
Family Industries shares what it takes to run a successful live screen printing business.

P

ADRIENNE PALMER

ersonalization, customization, the "Amazon effect," and
social media are the major drivers for the screen printing
industry, and frankly, most industries, today. Consumers want
it how they want it, when they want it (right now), and it
better be cool enough to post to their Instagram Story. How
can you and your shop deliver on these four trends, you ask?
For Family Industries (familyindustries.com), the answer is
live screen printing.
The Los Angeles-based screen printing shop is known for
live screen printing around the globe. They have the ability
to print 7000 shirts a day in their facility and have completed
3500-plus live screen printing events since their inception in
2009. From a corporate business owner to a mom throwing a
backyard birthday party, live screen printing has allowed the
shop's clients to personalize, customize, immediately own,
and share the entire process on Facebook Live.
But before we get into that, let's go back to the beginning.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
As many "how I became a screen printer" stories go, Max
Hellmann - owner, business development and on-site activations, Family Industries - started printing shirts in high
school for his band. After a hiatus, he found himself back in
the screen printing mix when his LA roommate and downstairs neighbor were screen printing shirts for their friends.
At the same time, he accepted a position at an experiential
marketing agency. "Alex (Meiners), my now business partner
at Family Industries, was working at a screen printing shop
as a color separator in their art department," says Hellmann.
Meiners' shop was in charge of printing for Ed Hardy, and
Hellmann's agency was screen printing for film and music
festivals. "That turned into me helping put together all screen
printing operations for a year-long Toyota Matrix event the
agency was promoting in three regions across the US," says
Hellmann. "There were 900 event activations. They would
open the back of the truck and there would be a giant screen
for people to play video games and a screen printing kit next
18

SCREENPRINTING

to it." Hellmann and Meiners were able to preprint these
shirts and make money on the side by selling them to the
agency they were working for. This eventually gave the duo
money to create Family Industries. "My boss soon realized
I wasn't paying attention to my actual work; I was focused
more on the screen printing side, so he let me go," says
Hellmann. "He said, 'You should go do this full time.' So we
created an LLC, it was nothing crazy. A week later, Alex's
company went under and he lost his job, so we decided to
dive into the screen printing business head first."
And just like that, the business became their full-time gig.
Hellmann says having the connection to the music industry
was helpful. They were able to keep Toyota as a client, which
held 300 events a year and created opportunities for live
printing at other events like Coachella.
Family Industries' big break came from a tiny blurb in
BizBash, a magazine covering the event industry. The article
shared five cool things to do at your office party, one being
live screen printing. "There was a tiny quarter of a page with
our logo on a shirt," says Hellmann. He and Meiners received
35 calls within three to four hours of the article being
published. "And then it just took off." Since then, they've
never spent money on advertising because they garner clients
through face-to-face relationships and attending events.
While the shop still completes small orders in-house, the
live screen printing part of the business takes up 50 percent
of their time; some months it climbs to 75 percent. They have
25 full-time employees, and the live team can range from five
to 25 full-time or independent contractors for weekend events.
Family Industries touts their employees as professional
screen printers and brand ambassadors. "Anyone can learn how
to screen print and be great at, or even be OK at it, and still get
business," says Hellmann. It's how they're representing the shop
and the client that matters. Family Industries' employees must
be able to communicate clearly with customers and guests
onsite, have a very outgoing attitude, and explain the product
they're working with. "They actually know about the product


http://www.familyindustries.com

Screen Printing - February/March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - February/March 2020

Contents
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Cover1
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Cover2
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 1
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Contents
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 3
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 4
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 5
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 6
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 7
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 8
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 9
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 10
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 11
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 12
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 13
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Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 16
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 17
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 18
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 19
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 20
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 21
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 22
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 23
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 24
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Cover3
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Cover4
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