Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Putting up a T-shirt printing business

I was in year 5 when I came home from school one afternoon wondering why our living room was so dark. I quickly smelled the aroma of paints and rubber. My curiosity grew when I saw a stranger in our living room trying to adjust an electric fan. Then I realized he was with my dad, they seemed to be doing some science experiment only with lots of paint. There were white sheets of cheap material on the table and floor and some rectangular net screen. The doors and windows were closed. I came closer and checked. They were printing the white sheets. It dawned on me that my dad was trying to learn another new skill.

It wasn’t a surprise. My dad is a very versatile person who loves to learn new things. Several weeks later, another sign was raised at my dad’s Furniture and Upholstery shop that says “WE accept T-shirt Printing”. He had a variety of custom t-shirts patterns readied for the customers to choose. One pattern that completely amused me and I can still picture out clearly right now was his painting of a sexy woman on her knees wearing only a brassiere and a bikini with a caption below “Wow sexy! If you like it, try me.” Every woman that sees it when they come to check the patterns for printing giggled while the men loved it. It was the most sold out pattern.

T-shirt printing as it turned out was seasonal. The business was at its peek usually during Christmas or fiesta. My dad took his printing designs from different things. Sometimes he took ideas from Christmas ornaments or inspirational posters. He modified them and applied some personal touch. He also experimented with which designs actually worked in the market and which did not.

I usually made myself useful to my dad when the t-shirt printing was at heights. Say for instance when there were hundreds of t-shirts to print and the deadline was fast approaching. But the best job that my dad could assign me to was only to wash off the paints from the net screens so he could use them again to apply a different colored paint. The paints were sticky and smelly. I always hated the job.

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