My Business Plan: Underground Printing

Underground Printing

Giving away functional and desirable items that carry your logo is a high-impact but low-cost way to improve brand reputation and build better relationships.

A global study says that 85% of people who received a promotional item will remember the advertiser who gave it to them. The recall is highest for apparel items, particularly shirts and hats.

If you’re looking for a reliable custom T-shirt and promotional products provider, look no further. Here’s a printing company that started from a dorm-room hustle to a full-fledged company with 25 retail locations in different states.

Underground Printing 

Underground Printing (UGP) is a national custom-printed apparel provider. They offer screen printing and embroidery on a wide variety of apparel and promotional products. 

From national retailers and Fortune 500 companies to local businesses and college student groups, UGP has gained several customers through the years. They pride themselves on high-quality products, unmatched customer service, and convenience.  

The company has been in the industry since 2001. But the story of Underground Printing really started in 1992 in a two-man dorm room.  

Engineering Classes, Entrepreneurship, and Car Troubles 

Co-founders Rishi Narayan and Ryan Gregg met in 6th grade and became best friends later. As they ended up at the same university, entrepreneurship piqued their interest more than engineering classes. 

In their search for a long-term business venture, Rishi’s car troubles led him to meet Rick. Rick is a tow truck driver who used to dabble in screen printing before.  

Since Rishi and Ryan were involved in various student organizations then, they realized that custom T-shirt is one thing that every campus group needs. Thus, screen printing was something they could do as a business. The duo was confident that they could score many customers for screen-printed swags. 

Ryan & Rishi

Photo by Doug Coombe

A-1 Screen Printing 

Finally, Rishi and Ryan decided to establish a business and named it A-1 Screen Printing. However, there was one more issue. The dorm room could not accommodate all the shirt printing stuff. They needed to lease a space for the printing shop but realized they could not afford it.  

Good thing, Rick let them set up the shop in his garage, next to a broken-down Chevy and two golden retrievers who’d shed fur on everything.  

Even with a garage facility, A-1 Screen Printing was a victory. The business name was also a genius marketing at that time because it was the first thing people saw in the phone book.  

Years later, A-1 Screen Printing purchased another local screen printer to expand its production capabilities. They also changed their name to something more relevant, which is Underground Printing as we know it today. 

The Hallmark 

Underground Printing guarantees 100% satisfaction. They provide human customer service which makes their response time the best in the business.  

Misprints and order errors are common problems in the printing business. These problems don’t often occur in UGP. But when it does, the order would be sent back, and they would quickly replace the products and double-check that they are 100% accurate. UGP ensures that each step in the process goes through a real person. 

The company has been in the industry for over 20 years and its customer-centric focus enables them to stay ahead of the game.  

Pieces of Advice 

Co-founder Rishi said, “It may be nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”. He believes that positivity breeds positivity and being a kind person is the easiest way to start building with that. 

You can manage what you can’t measure. “In order to be successful in your own way, you need to have a metric to judge your own success,” Rishi added. Tracking your progress is vital to see how far you’ve come in your journey.  

While it’s easy for people to rush or worry if they see no immediate results, monitoring your progress gives you a way to see just how far along you are going. 

“Problems will change in scale and scope, but they never fully go away,” shares Allyson Sprague, UGP’s Marketing Coordinator.  

Learning from the past to fuel your growth going forward is important to start and run a successful printing business. Staying organized is also crucial.  

PrintRunner Experience 

Underground Printing uses PrintRunner for many things. “We print stickers, all of our business cards, pamphlets, brochures, and more. PrintRunner provides us with high-quality paper products and helps us look more professional at events, fairs, and conferences,” says Allyson.   

Branded print materials help in creating a professional image. Additionally, one of their greatest benefits is that they take up physical space that can last longer on customers’ minds.  

Design custom T-shirts and more! Visit today. 

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About the Author

Christine Guevarra
Christine is a copy and digital writer who loves going to places and trying out new foods. During her spare time, she would play with and take photos/videos of her dog, eat, watch movies and travel blogs, or annoy her siblings. She appreciates spontaneity and new discoveries. If she disappears, you can find her at bookstores, coffee shops, or cinemas.