Starting a Business with Crio: A One Stop Solution
From the World of IT to Operating a Custom Decoration Business
Starting a custom garment and goods business wasn’t always the plan for Steve Rushin, but he had to pivot careers when his life drastically changed after being hit by a drunk driver one evening when riding his motorcycle home from work.
Before owning his own decoration business called Customary Thing (a play on the term “custom everything”), Steve was a systems engineer for 20 years at a law firm in downtown Atlanta and sold merchandise part-time on Amazon. Following the accident, Steve was ultimately left needing to use a wheelchair to get around and needed to find another way to continue to work and contribute to his family.
New Start in a New Industry
Initially, after the accident, Steve was confined to a hospital bed and decided to teach himself a new skill. He began learning Photoshop to create basic t-shirt designs. With his previous knowledge of selling on Amazon and his newfound skills in Photoshop, his interest grew, and he began to investigate technology and equipment to decorate his own apparel to sell.
Garment Decoration Technology Research
Years ago, he began considering starting a business and initially was set on a direct-to-garment print to make shirts, but he never pulled the trigger. In the fourth quarter of 2020, he began his research into garment decoration technologies once more to be sure that he was making the best investment into equipment for his business.
Upon doing his due diligence, he learned about white toner technology. When he heard about all the possibilities with white toner, other than shirts, he was interested. He learned you can make a variety of apparel items with any fabric type, hard goods, and traditional print shop options.
He considered white toner technology a “no-brainer” but wanted to be sure it was the right fit for him. By creating a list of pros and cons of different technologies, he believes that the Crio white toner printer with OKI technology would give him the most bang for his buck. He figured he could stick with his choice of DTG and do t-shirts or purchase the Crio and do it all.
Why Choose a Crio White Toner Printer?
In his experience as a systems engineer, he supported OKI printers as a new tech at an international law firm. The printers were known to be high quality and reliable. Though he is new to decorating, his experience with OKI decades ago made him comfortable with choosing Crio, powered by OKI technology. He was confident he had found a decoration solution that would be consistent, reliable and provide excellent customer experiences.
Investing in a Crio 9541WDT
Steve purchased a Crio 9541WDT in October of 2021 from ColDesi and the DigitalHeat FX line of solutions. When asked why he chose to go with the Crio 9541WDT, Steve said even though he had never seen a demo or had an in-person experience with the model, that he chose it due to the largest print size available. He said it appeared to be the flagship, no-compromises model and he wanted the best of the best.
Wanting the best white toner printer available on the market, Steve chose to invest in the Crio 9541WDT due to the 5-color (CMYK+W) system with true black for the richest colors and the largest print area (13”x19”).
Steve chose a Crio also because Crio is the direct OEM for OKI in the Americas. He knew that iColor printers were typically converted OKI or Ricoh printers and he didn’t want to have a problem with support by having a “middleman” between him and the manufacturer.
Building a Custom Decoration Business
At the same time that the Crio 9541WDT was purchased, Steve also invested in a 15-head embroidery machine, mug press, hat press, and an automatic balloon press. Steve has a print shop located in Atlanta where he uses his Crio and embroidery equipment 6 days a week.
In addition to his custom printing side of the business, he also has a fresh cold-pressed juice company, Happy Body Juice Company, that he distributes locally. He even uses his Crio printer to make the labels for the juices.
He uses the Crio for all his printing needs, sells on Amazon, and produces cold-pressed juice all from the same shop. Currently, he runs the show but hopes to be able to hire employees to assist him soon. Most of his business comes from word-of-mouth right now. He has also run some Facebook and Instagram ads to garner more interest and gain business.
Getting Started with a Crio 9541WDT
Even though Steve is in a wheelchair, he was able to unbox the printer and get it set up easily with the help of his son. Since he had done his research in the process, he was up and running and marrying A & B sheets the next day. ColDesi’s support and training videos allowed him to be well prepared upon receiving his print and ready to jump in.
He found the process to be very manageable. After experiencing one hiccup at first in that his table was too high for him to effectively marry, but once he adjusted the height he said, “everything was golden.”
Creating with his Crio 9541WDT
Deciding to choose a white toner printer over a direct-to-garment While still learning and experimenting, Steve has experienced the versatility of white toner technology. He has tried a variety of substrates and continues testing and trying new things. By thinking outside of the t-shirt box, he will be able to profit greatly by offering a variety of products and services.
Below is a list of some of the items he has decorated so far:
- Mason jars
No Limitations to Grow His Business
While still relatively new to the garment decoration and personalization industry, the option is there to scale the business and create more product offerings as the demand grows. With the versatility of substrates that can be decorated, there are many markets that he can delve into as his customer base continues to grow.
Steve loves the flexibility he has with his 9541WDT. He’s not limited to just t-shirts or mugs. He can do all of that and more thanks to Crio white toner technology. Steve said it’s allowed him to provide a “one-stop decorating solution.”