We had the good fortune of connecting with Sergio Buenrostro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sergio, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Well, I started a window cleaning business a few years ago. I made a really awesome logo for myself, like I was proud of it, and wanted to get business cards and shirts made. I went to a local print shop to see if they could help me out. I didn’t need much since I was starting out but the print shop mentioned they don’t normally do smaller orders but would do a favor. I was really excited when I got my shirts and business cards in hand because I felt legit. I wanted to give everyone to see my shirt so I can be like “Hey! This is my business and this is what I do!” Getting those items printed gave me so much motivation to keep going. The only issue was the process of me getting them. Because of my smaller order, the local print shop didn’t seem to be interested in me. Probably because he wasn’t making as much money off me as he would of like. I wish he would have shared the same excitement as I did. While running my window I kept thinking of ordering other things like hats, notepads, pens. I wanted my logo everywhere! I just didn’t want to back to that printer. I looked into what it really takes to make these items and the process wasn’t easy as I thought. Still curious I invested in some equipment and started making my own gear and fell in love with the process. Then the idea of maybe making this business and sharing the excitement with the next person who is just starting a business made me thrilled. Soon enough Inkpressive Print came about.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
So I started my business back in 2016, back then it was named Self Made Grafx. I had a beautiful credit score that allowed me to get 5 credit cards which I maxed out to get equipment for my business. I jumped into this without enough knowledge. I just thought all I needed was the equipment, some shirts, and business would boom. I had no business plan, no marketing strategy, no process. I was working inside an RV Storage I was renting out. I would go there whenever the owner was away because I couldn’t conduct business there. I quickly found myself in $15K in debt across 5 credit cards. Mind you at that time I was working at Chuck E. Cheese making $9 an hour. I didn’t know what I was doing and every month I was getting overwhelmed and couldn’t pay for my cards. In about 8 months I went into collections. I got sued by Capital one and I was scared. I moved all of the stuff to my room in my apartment with my mom and felt stuck. I was 20 years old with $15k in credit card debt with no college degree (I dropped out to start my business) and a 500 credit score. I really beat myself up, but all I could do was try to climb my way out. I joined a debt consolidation program and it took about 3 years to pay off my debt. Which was really good! Most of my money would go to paying off the cards every month but happy to say I am debt-free. During the 3 years of just living paycheck to paycheck, I knew I didn’t want to give up on my business. I knew the only reason I fell was that I came into this blindly. I spent all that time developing a business plan and better strategy to become successful. Once I found myself out of debt I slowly started going back into my business, since I was starting fresh I wanted to rebrand myself. Thus Inkpressive Print was born. The way I came up with the name was simple, I just wanted my customer to leave with their shirt feeling “Inkpressed”. I am now taking things slow with my business and focusing on working with start-ups and small businesses as well as organizations. I pride myself on my customer service and attention to detail. I want every customer to feel like they matter and that we will give them the highest quality 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?
If my best friend was visiting the area, we would definitely go bar hopping on Main Street to show them the type of characters Houston has. If they visit on the game night during the Astros World Series game, now that would be exciting! After a couple of drinks, we would hit up Franks Pizza to enjoy an extra-large pepperoni pizza and chill at the patio bar next door. Houston is awesome, it’s a huge city with a ton of nice little hidden gems. We can start off with going to the Breakfast Klub then maybe rent a bike by the Bayou and bike around to some awesome Murals around Downtown. We can then head to Star Pizza for a nice deep dish then go across the street for some of Amy’s Ice cream. Although if we are craving chocolate that day, we may stop by the Chocolate bar. We can check out the Museum district and see if there’s a show playing in Memorial park then do some shopping at the Galleria and visit the waterfall. Then we can finish the day at either Ipic or Rooftop cinema (depending on theater) and grab a bite at the House of Pies!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a special shoutout to my wife Alexa. Starting and growing this business has had a lot of ups but also a lot of downs. I get stressed a lot and sometimes overwhelm myself with work but she is always by my side making sure I am okay and pushing me to do better. Work and life balance are important to me and I can easily get so involved in the stuff that I get on the verge of burning out. We took a vacation last year to Colorado and this is my first vacation in years. Let me tell you, it was the most stressful time for me. Although it was beautiful, I found it hard to let go of not checking up on my business and was stressing about not being in the garage printing shirts. I had this tick in my head convincing me that I don’t deserve to relax or have fun. I need to be working at all times. After Colorado, she sat me down and told me the importance of letting go sometimes and recharging. We took a vacation to Miami this past summer and let me tell you, I let go of everything and relaxed like I have never relaxed in my life. It was the best experience and my energy and attitude were so high. I came back so motivated and in tune with myself. I thank god for putting Alexa in my path. She challenges me and lets me learn and grow. I appreciate her, and if you are reading this Alexa… I love you!