We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabby Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabby, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I’d say the most important factor behind our brand is our brand activation service, which is a mobile version of our screen printing shop that can be setup anywhere. Companies will hire us to print their artwork or logo onto a shirt right in front of their customers, allowing them to engage and make them a part of the process. There’s so many print shops in Houston and we really had to find our niche, what people in Houston were needing beyond t-shirts. At the start of our company, we really wanted to focus on educating and being transparent about the printing process, which we found our brand activations are great at. We’ve added other activations along the way to fit different budgets, like button making, but we found that because many people haven’t seen the shirt printing process, it’s a huge attention-grabber.
What should our readers know about your business?
We started when one of the owners, Joe Cannon, was in a band and needed shirts for their first show. I took a screen printing class back in high school so I kind of knew the process, but at a DIY level. Joe and I bought our first press and started in the smallest room of our house. No ventilation, no space, and no idea of what we were doing. I remember printing the first round of shirts by myself and not opening a window. Joe came home, opened the door, and a huge cloud of smoke came out of the room. I definitely lost some brain cells that day. It only grew from there. Once their band network found out about us, the orders started coming in, our equipment upgraded over time, and we outgrew our space twice. It wasn’t until a year or two after we started APDAT that we introduced brand activations, which was a huge game changer for us. Now we get to work with huge brands at a local level, like Lululemon and Toyota. It’s amazing that corporate brands can bring on community partners like us to promote their product.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’re all HUGE fans of space exploration so definitely the Johnson Space Center. They have this Level 9 tour that takes you behind the scenes and it’s incredible. Aside from that, we’re all so different in terms of what we like to do in our free time. For me, anywhere I can take my dog that has food is a go-to place for me. Oh, and Shipley’s. I had relatives visit from Canada and I took them to Rudy’s and Karbach, which I’m very used to and love since I’ve been in Houston most of my life. Rudy’s was a shock to them because they couldn’t understand that concept of a BBQ joint attached to a gas station. And Karbach was like a brewery on steroids to them.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We’re so thankful for anyone that works with us, but there are some local organizations that have been with us from the beginning and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. The Suffers taught us everything about band merch and how to work efficiently with a big team. Seeing their growth makes us so humble to work with them. Also the entire Bravado Spice Co. team is beyond amazing. Those guys are the textbook definition of the Houston hustle.