A Closer Look at Superior Ink
It's Q&A time with Dom from Superior Ink! Take a moment and see how he started his company and what he does differently to make a positive impact on our planet.
How Did you get started in the Apparel Game?
I can thank the snowboard industry for getting me started in this business. In 2006 while still in school I started a brand called Neovolt. We were producing apparel and selling it to shops like BigHit in Breckenridge and Gravity Boardshop in Copper. When I was 16, I was at a party in Breck and while everyone was drinking and wildin out, I was learning Adobe Illustrator and designing apparel in the corner. A notorious Street artist named JRV took notice and we struck a conversation. 2 weeks later, I took a trip to LA to collab with him at his studio in Venice and we built the first collection. I took a pack of the one-off pieces and skated up and down Melrose avenue and sold through the entire line in less than 2 hours. With $1,000 cash in my pocket (enough to cover my flight home and then some) the story started. I left high school that week as a junior and took out a lease on a 2 car garage shop and never looked back.
What's your idea of a perfect day in the shop?
Wake up. Drink a coffee, open all the bay doors to a beautiful Colorado morning. It snowed the night before, but the sun was out and there is mist rising above the freshies from the night before. I call a team pow-wow with all my friends/employees to chat about the day and how we are all going to crush some stacks of cotton. After having some laughs we all break off and give 100% to the day. All 4 presses get perfectly registered in and dialed. Production starts 10 minutes after jumping on presses. We hit a few customers with press approvals and they all reply APPROVED within 1 minute. We start the day off with Lil Peep, Old Country music and Mac Miller RIP and get after it. UPS freight pulls up right on cue with 5 pallets of Allmade ready to hit the presses. Our girl Addy stages them on carts and the counts check out perfectly. We run 10 jobs with no spoilage and slap fives before eating some delicious lunch together. My 8-month-old daughter shows up and gets a quick tour of the shop before hitting a bottle and taking a nap in the office. Jarret and I (creative director) pull a few pranks on the printers and get some solid laughs. Reclaim gets 120 screens cleaned and coated. We close the day up by doing a team clean and get the floors all spick and span to start the next day off fresh and clean to do it all over again.
Why do you like printing on Allmade shirts?
We all love printing on Allmade because in doing so, we are doing our small part to put out a great product that makes a positive impact on our industry. We know where they come from, where the fabric is sourced, and who makes them. There are no mysteries as to what sketchy processes were used and can rest assured that we are doing some good. We know the quality is premium and they print super well because they were designed by us and our friends with printers like us in mind. This product helps our customers push in the right direction and gives them the tools they need to start actually seeing and feeling their impact.
How do you bring greener practices into your shop?
This starts as a collective. Each and every person needs to make a conscious effort to do better and be better within the organization. We started with a labeled system to improve our recycling practices company-wide. We evaluate all of our vendors and how to make the most responsible purchases from shirts to packaging and everything in between. We have invested in equipment to maximize efficiency and minimize waste, replaced all of our T12 lightings and replaced them with LED.
Sustainability needs to be looked at in 3 different essential parts.
- Input (how you are sourcing and the products you integrate into the process. Educating your team and your customers is a big part of this)
- Output Part of the problem with most industries, especially ours, is not just how things are produced, but where they end up. Building a system for waste is super important. Fast fashion and textile waste is a big problem in our industry as a whole. Donations and internal secondary and third life opportunities are massive to minimize your waste. We partner with donation centers to give seconds another shot at having some life.
Throughput This is where it is important as a business to evaluate purchasing and production decisions such as recycling, and the conscious collective to minimize and reduce the consumption of products. The “only buy what you need” philosophy is good for individuals to adopt but it is especially important for businesses to integrate this same way of thinking.
Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Dom and his crew at Superior Ink. Here's to happy printing!
(Dom on the rooftop, Haiti 2019)