For us, Graphics and More is more than a job. It’s a place we’ve created that not only supports our families, but combines our love of art and working with our hands. Now 20+ employees strong, it’s fun to reminisce about our humble beginnings.
Picture a really unfortunate-looking warehouse, in a sketchy part of town, with a hodge-podge of free furniture. We splurged on a microwave and mini-fridge, but not much else. There was no heat, making winter particularly tough. My long-time co-worker and friend, Dave, and I had just quit our jobs to work together full-time on the online automotive accessories business he started in his garage, so he was thrilled to get the stuff out of his house. Friends would come by and wished us well, but I could tell they didn’t think we’d make it. My grandmother thought I’d lost my mind. There was many a day that made me think she was right.
The automotive business did really well those first months working together in early 2008. Having two of us working full-time plus, rather than just me working nights and weekends, had a huge impact on what we were able to accomplish. We soon learned though that the automotive business is very seasonal. It’s great in the spring, but when summer hit, we were willing orders to come in. I even set up a “cha-ching” sound-effect to chime when someone made a purchase, but we’d only hear it a couple of times a day. It was really devastating, but we couldn’t just sit on our hands and hope and wish. We had to act.
We tried a number of different ideas, but the most successful thing for us was actually making car decals.
Yeah, that was a real surprise. Unfortunately, it didn’t last terribly long as it was an easy thing for others to do as well, creating a lot of competition. Luckily the automotive business was back at it’s high-season, so we were able to support the business and ourselves with the mix of income streams.
It was in the beginning of year two when we acquired our first color printer with the intent of making color car stickers. We had no idea what we were doing, but we kept at it and figured out a way to make that work.
As we started to see the success of that, we were really intrigued about the potential of the graphics arena. We were also always experimenting, eventually incorporating additional equipment and technologies into our business. We really enjoy making stuff and working with our hands, so this was a lot of fun for us. The new equipment gave us the ability to make and decorate a variety of products.
As the business grew, we realized that we couldn’t do it all by ourselves. The hours we were putting in was not sustainable. We needed help. Thankfully, we found some amazing people to join our team.
It may have been about how much and what Heather and I could do in those early days, but the real growth and sustainability of the business could not have happened without the people who’ve joined the Graphics and More family. They’re a really hard-working group. Along the way, we even adopted a cat from the local shelter.
Bruce, the office cat:
Still reading? Here are some of our accomplishments:
- Named one of Inc. magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in the United States (the last three years)
- Named one of the Sacramento region’s fastest growing companies
- Made and shipped hundreds of thousands of products