Business Profile: Elevated Screen Printing - Marina Arts District in Corpus Christi, TX
Aug 13, 2019
Words by: Alexandra Scott
Portraits by: Troy Alan Garza, @luxexposure
Situated in an unassuming storefront on Schatzell Street is Elevated Screen Printing. Its place in Downtown Corpus Christi is entirely intentional. Owners Rick Gallegos, 35, and Jessica Mullan, 27, firmly believe in everything downtown has to offer.
“We live in downtown, pay taxes in downtown. All of our money goes to Corpus and downtown,” Rick says about their choice to open a store in Downtown Corpus Christi.
Elevated Screen Printing is the culmination of Rick’s passion for graphic design and Jessica’s incredible attention to detail, with a little inspiration from one of Rick’s favorite songs (Elevated by State Champs). He focuses on graphic design/media relations while Jessica, lovingly referred to as “the real boss,” is chief printer and general management.
While Gallegos and Mullan have been together for almost ten years, they have been creating and printing for four. The distinction between creating and printing is one they hold in high regard. Some shops will either do one or the other, but Elevated prides itself on having a hand in every step of the process. According to them a lot of shops, “do what we do but not how we do it.”
Elevated’s humble beginnings came from a 180 square foot garage and the couple’s idea that you can create a business from a passion. It’s one of those operations that started as a hobby and quickly turned into their way of life. From Youtube videos, tutorials from friends and whatever they could teach themselves, to creating products for companies all over the country, they’ve certainly come a long way.
While Rick was part of a band during his twenties and always had a passion for art/creating, he was working at Wells Fargo when they decided to pursue designing and printing full time. Jessica, who is the quintessential quiet balance to Rick’s creative energy, started as a nurse.
So what sparked the idea for screen printing? Rick went to apply at Merch Now (one of the largest screen-printing companies in the country) in Tampa, while they were living in Florida, as a graphic designer. He was told they were only looking for screen printers and lacked the necessary skills. Jessica claims it was his short look behind the scenes at Merch Now that sparked his love for screen printing.
Fast forward four years and they can’t imagine their lives without this business. When asked what they do outside of work, they both smile and say, “We’re always working.”
The recently engaged couple and their blooming business have been in Downtown Corpus Christi for two years and have no plans on moving, despite requests to relocate. Their ultimate goals are to own a larger shop and eventually service all of downtown.
What’s most inspiring to them is to see larger shops out of Los Angeles and New York City producing the same quality of work that they can produce with a two-person team. The similarity in creative levels is somewhat of a gold standard for them. Rick creates around 90% of the graphics and designs and Jessica does 100% of the printing. Printing anywhere from 500 to 1,000 shirts a week, they work with downtown staples such as Water Street, Surf Club, House of Rock, BUS and even the new iconic local brand Made in Corpus Christi.
They are also responsible for the identifiable phrase, “Corpus doesn’t suck, you do,” popping up on products all over town (Fun Fact: the sticker on their door catches the eye of just about everyone who walks by). It is the love child of some downtime during the workday and the idea of sparking conversation between friends. Rick, who friends describe as energetic and humorous, says, “everyone has their Corpus ‘loop’ and this is a way to bring people back to that.”
The most surprising effect of their “Corpus” slogan? The number of people looking to buy products with the sayings to send to loved ones who no longer live in Corpus Christi.
It’s these kinds of conversations and impacts on their community that Rick, a Corpus Christi native, and Jessica, a Florida native, love the most. Their ability to help clients create quality products from their specific visions and then be hands-on from start to finish in is unparalleled in the industry.
So what’s next for Elevated Screen Printing? As they continue to work for the people of Corpus Christi, they will do their best to elevate it.
“We don’t try to create accounts,” muses Rick, “we try to create relationships.” It shows.
The relationship that Elevated has created with Downtown Corpus Christi is sure to be lasting and fruitful. #stayelevated