This week we got to talk to Rob from BBall Junkies. He runs a super cool shop that prints their own merch and caters to the basketball lifestyle. Rob has such great aesthetics not only in the simplicity of his apparel line but his shop as well.
Screen Print Direct: So, Rob what initially got you interested in the world of screen printing/apparel?
Rob: Well I always loved the idea of having my own apparel brand when I was a kid and basketball was such a huge influence in my life so creating a lifestyle brand inspired by basketball culture is something I knew I wanted to do.
I picked up a book back in ’02 called “How To Print T-Shirts For Fun and Profit” by Scott Fresener. This helped me teach myself how to screen print using some cheap DIY equipment. A few months after that I attended the ISS trade show and decided to invest money into better equipment and brought home everything I needed to properly run a small shop. I got a great deal on the equipment since at trade shows companies rather not ship back all the equipment they bring since it is costly for them to ship things back.
From there I printed orders for friends and family and my business kept expanding. I was working a normal job at the same time I was taking in screen printing orders. All my business was through referrals or word of mouth since I never spent any money advertising. I eventually ended up taking some of the profits from my print jobs and founded BBall Junkies.
Screen Print Direct: What’s important for your work as the owner of your own shop, like what really matters to you more in terms of business?
Rob: For me, the two important factors are Quality and Service. With everything I do, I want to make sure my customer is taken care of and the quality of the products they are receiving from me are beyond their expectations.
Screen Print Direct: In this day and age with social media and just the online presence being there for everyone to take advantage of, are there any shops you look up to for inspiration or really thank for getting you involved in this lifestyle?
Rob: I actually took screen printing at Fullerton College and would say my professor Sam Karaba was a good inspirational figure for me as well as Tom from Showoff Designs. Those two were my biggest inspirations early in my development. There are also a number of brands that I follow that really inspire me, but one that really stood out to me early on was Hit+Run with their live screen printing concept. I think they have a great business model.
Screen Print Direct: So one thing that we like to ask but no one is willing to answer is since you started screen printing, have you had any close calls or orders that have gone wrong? Did that end up with unhappy customers or losing any jobs.
Rob: Actually yea early on I made a mistake on one of my film separations where I didn’t include all of the design in the spot color. I burned the screen and ran about 50 shirts before I realized the Tiger in the graphic was missing a small part of white on its stomach, lol. Another mistake was an under cured t-shirt. A customer came back with their print cracked after the first wash. I ended up giving their money back and replaced the printed T-shirt for free.
Screen Print Direct: So now that you have Bball Junkies up and running are there any goals you have for the upcoming years?
Rob: Yea man, I’ll be looking to expand my business from a designing and printing standpoint. Also I'll be looking to expand my product line for my brand BBall Junkies, with new seasons twice per year. With that, I will be looking to hire a shop manager to help me run the day-to-day.
Screen Print Direct: Cool man, it’s been cool being able to sit and talk with you. Are there any last tips and tricks you would give someone trying to get into the business?
Rob: I would say take a formal screen printing course or workshop, visit some screen printing shops before you decide to open up a business. If possible, work at a shop to get an idea of how things are done, and visit the ISS trade show.
Thanks for tuning in to this month's cool shop highlight. You can find Rob's shop at:
Or if you're in SoCal, you can stop by the BBall Junkies Locker room
BBJ LOCKER ROOM
3482 E. Orangethorpe Avenue
Anaheim, California 92806