Meet the Rising Stars: Ron Augelli
Ron Augelli has a successful business -- and isn't afraid to share his secrets with 'competitors.'
Owner/CEO | We Talk Shirty | Blakely, Pennsylvania | Age: 35
What led you to enter the screen printing industry?
I first got into the screen printing industry when I went to order shirts for an event for myself and my friends. I was taken aback by the cost of ordering the shirts, and I figured that printing shirts might be something that I would be able to do better myself for less money. I researched how to screen print, and soon learned how to make T-shirts out of my college apartment. It didn’t take me long to realize that this would be a great opportunity to supplement my income. Within two years, I was working for myself.
Can you share your path from working inside your college apartment to having a team of 14?
When I first started my business, I was working full-time and trying to do it part-time. It took a little bit of encouragement from my wife and a business associate at the time, but I soon realized that if I really wanted to do well, I had to do it full-time. I pushed forward full-steam and began devoting 100 percent of my time to sales, art, and screen printing. Within one year, I had taken on one full-time employee to help with production.
We soon outgrew that location and had to move to another location. Within three years, we moved to a facility that would allow us to house an auto-press. The auto-press increased our order fulfillment ability and production, and within nine months we were moving again to purchase another auto. Our newest location has allowed us to grow to the point where we have 14 employees.
Why is training and education important to you?
Education is what took me out of making shirts in my college apartment to where I am now. I have always embraced the opportunity to learn, whether this meant looking at videos on YouTube, taking classes, joining support groups, or going to tradeshows. I realized quickly that in an industry like this, education and training is imperative to stay on the cutting edge. I’m learning how to automate our print process and continually striving to get better every day.
Your nomination form mentions you help other screen printers in the area when they are in need. Can you explain the reasoning behind this/what it means to you?
The reality is that our industry requires us to work with people that some might assume are our competitors. Whether it involves sharing trade info, working with different embroiderers, or troubleshooting problems with equipment, we perform best when we work together instead of against one another. This industry allows us to learn from one another and work together so our clients ultimately get the best product. Collaboration is good for everybody. As a consultant, I like to bridge the old-school shops with today’s technology and marketing strategies. When invited to other shops, I evaluate their process, supplies, time management, and workflow. I then analyze all of the collected data and come up with a framework to help the shop improve. With minimal investment, I have helped several shops increase their profit and productivity.