Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Pellegrino.
Tina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a second generation Italian, born in Brooklyn. As long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in businesses and how they work. As a young girl, I’d often tag along with my mother who worked with my grandmother in a sweater factory and was fascinated by how things were designed, made, sold and the crazy machines that were running non-stop. I started my career with Dov Charney over 20 years ago at American Apparel, another crazy machine that was running non-stop.
American Apparel had only 5 shirts, one size, and just 5 colors. At that time we had barely 60 employees, but we were growing fast. I started off as Dov’s assistant and quickly found myself holding many roles. I was a wholesale designer while also creating and staffing the credit department. I then became the office manager and eventually Chief of Staff managing over 10,000 employees in my 18 years at American Apparel. I loved being a part of a cool brand that changed the industry with such a small start. I loved the ride and those I shared it with.
So I set off to use my experience, contacts, and love of business to start one of my own and take a new ride. Not a different business, but I’m approaching it a little differently.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I left American Apparel in January 2014, having been there for 18 years. I left without a game plan. It wasn’t easy. Gaining the confidence to do something on my own took time, but once I figured out what I wanted to do, I took a leap of faith and kept moving forward, even when I wasn’t sure what the next step was. I knew for sure that I wanted to be my own boss, which sounds in theory like freedom, but also means I have to get out there and make things happen. So I did what I knew how to do….T-Shirts. But now I wanted to print on them. I started Pellegrino Printers in 2015, and told anyone and everyone about my business; I did trade shows, I created promotions, I gave out samples… and then, people started calling. Today I print over 200,000 shirts a-month and my business is solely word of mouth.
Please tell us about Pellegrino Printers.
Pellegrino Printers is a full-service print house, specializing in digital and screen printing. Outside of printing on apparel for bands, shows, and celebrities, we print on many cool products including cell phone cases, totes, mugs, and hats. Last year we opened a new division catering to artists. We not only help them with the printing of their artwork on canvas, poster or apparel, but we also provide fulfillment and direction. Our product line continues to grow, as does our technology. We recently revamped our website adding API software, which fully automates the order and fulfillment process. Simply upload a photo or artwork and it’s sent directly into our print cue anywhere in the world.
We stand out in this industry, largely in part due to our personable service, expertise, and our superior printing quality.
Let’s face it, though, being one of the only women in this male dominated industry, hasn’t hurt. I’ve developed solid relationships with my customers. Once someone works with me, they rarely leave. I feel very fortunate to have such good clients, and love sharing their success.
Never one to stand still, I also love to work on side projects. I am developing a line of kids blanks with my talented friend Tori, and have a cool website called getwitchin.com that I run with one of my friends.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn in the 70’s. What I remember most about that time is really just being Italian and living in an Italian community. Brooklyn is definitely where I got my hustle.
My dad always had a pigeon coop his entire life, no matter where he lived. He is a lifelong raiser and racer of pigeons. Some of my fondest memories revolve around my dad and his winged friends. Traveling with him in the car, crates of pigeons in the back seat, meeting up with other pigeon dealers, letting them go, and then waiting for them to come back. It sounds weird, but pigeons were a big business, and my dad loved it! I attribute my loving business to the time I spent with my dad, watching him love his passion.
- Address: 4220 San Fernando Road, Glendale, CA 91204
- Website: www.pellegrinoprinters.com
- Phone: 818.484.5699
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