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Meet JD* Nielsen of Print Renegades in Arts District, Downtown LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to JD* Nielsen. Him and his team share his story with us below.

Please kick things off for us with some background on the story.
JD comes from a long deranged history of the fashion world. Originally in film school, he and a friend bought a sewing machine and started to create art on Tshirts by sewing on patches, tracing magazine photos with the thread and using an array of hand-cut stencils. This also included them purchasing a small single arm screen printing press in order to print on their own garments themselves (since their designs were so specialized that they couldn’t pay anyone else to print on these unique one-of-a-kind garments other than themselves).

Once they established their clothing line, 7Lightningbolt*, that turned into them buying even more of their own printing equipment. Once the equipment came, so did the musician and artist friends, asking if they could help them printing merch for their tours, artist prints of their art, etc. This ultimately became what Print Renegades is today, a platform for the idealistic entrepreneurs and urban creators of our city to have a way to bring their ideas to life on apparel or paper. We love helping the creative at heart since that is what we are!!

Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth road is non-existent. Not only in business, but in life. Struggles are a normal part of life in business especially! The constant struggles of day to day growing the business, not only with the customers (getting enough clients, having them respect you as a legit business) but also with the business itself (finding the right employees, figuring out the internal workings of the successful business).

When you have never run an actual business before, you have no way of knowing HOW to do it. It’s similar to becoming a parent: There is no manual for your specific situation, you just have to jump in headfirst and learn from trial and error: doing things wrong SO many times that you finally know what DOESN’T WORK, then thru process of selection you ultimately find out what actually works! This was the case with everything we did, and time and time again, using our intuition and natural abilities to know what works and what doesn’t, what feels right, etc., we prevailed in creating what we call Print Renegades. (we are never perfect, learning new things every single day, but at least we are past the beginning stages of growth now and have a much better team to help with those day to day growths.)

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Print Renegades – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Print Renegades incites and emboldens free thinking by crushing the walls of traditional print shops. We specialize in screen printing, direct to garment printing and embroidery (amongst other things)… We print on T-shirts, bags, buttons, pretty much anything we can get our hands on. We sustain a unique level of environmental awareness and high-quality standards that is represented in each job that we choose to take on. Given that we come from an artist background, we deliver only the absolute highest quality goods possible, printing them as if they were our own. We are militant in our determination to support local industries, expand our environmental consciousness and make sure that every single client is nothing less than ecstatic!

Since we started working with super small eclectic creative types, as we have grown we have never closed the door on those people, so we proudly say that our shop is unique that it has NO minimums because we never want to become one of those large behemoths who have high minimums and basically close the door on those small individuals who are just starting out. We love to be able to be the ones that they call to get help if it be even a single item that they just want to test before doing a full run, and that definitely is one of the many things that set us apart!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles is unique in so many ways. There are always things to dislike about ANY city in the world, but I believe that the focus should never be on the negative, yet on the POSITIVE and the things that a city has working with it. Our city has rich history, is beautiful and diverse, and most importantly is centered in so many creative industries that keep small businesses like us alive and thriving. Because we work with mostly musicians, artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, etc., LA allows us to be in the center of the necessity when it comes to getting stuff printed for promotional use, marketing use, retail use or whatever many other uses there are to get stuff printed.

That is what Los Angeles does for us, allows us to love what we do, and in turn share some of that love with the creative individuals who are also starting out their business — in which we are able to give them some insight on the path that lies ahead (as much as we can give them given what we have been thru) and also help them in achieving their goals when it comes to the actual printing, which is what we specialize in.


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