Cured in 60 Seconds: An inside look at live screen printing

Ten years ago we ventured into the unknown world of Live Screen Printing. At the time, no one was really doing it so our gauge on whether or not it would work was… well, there was no gauge. We were attempting to build an entire business around something that had zero proof it would actually be successful. All we knew was that we had a solid idea, the skills to pull it off, and the drive to make it work.

Today, a decade later, we are doing over four hundred events a year. To say we’ve been extremely fortunate is an understatement. We owe a giant debt of gratitude to all the incredible people who have supported us along the way, and all the brands we’ve been lucky enough to work with throughout the years.

As incredibly exciting as these past ten years have been, we couldn’t have gotten to this point without lots and LOTS of practice. As cliché as it is, practice really does make perfect. We’ve had to fall and pick ourselves back up more times than not, but those falls have taught us something each time. That’s why, in the spirit of learning, we wanted to show you how we make the magic happen. From prep work to the event itself, there’s a lot that goes into live screen printing.

Here’s a little inside look into how we do what we do…


Stagecoach 2019 Prep — Before we headed to the desert for 2019’s Stagecoach Country Music Festival, we had to prepare hundreds of pre-printed posters for the event.

Stagecoach 2019 Prep — Before we headed to the desert for 2019’s Stagecoach Country Music Festival, we had to prepare hundreds of pre-printed posters for the event.

Some say that “eighty percent of life is just showing up”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really apply to live screen printing. Depending on the type of item we’re printing on, as well as the designs themselves; prep work is usually inevitable. We never want to walk into an event blindly, so we typically spend the days leading up to it practicing the activation.

Reasons for prep work ranges from types of ink we’re using to pre-printing tags and brand logos onto the items. For example, before we went to Tik Tok’s “For Black History” event in Hollywood, we pre-printed hundreds of denim jackets with the Tik Tok logo.

You may be asking yourself: “Wait. if you’re ‘live screen printing’ why are you printing stuff BEFORE you’re actually live?” That’s a solid question. What it usually comes down to is twofold: time and branding. Typically when we’re hired to work an event, a company will want their logo/branding on the items we’ll be live printing. This is completely separate from the design(s) they want to be printed live.

Whenever we’re live, we want to make sure guests of the event are given their items in a timely manner, and not wasting their time waiting in line. No one wants to wait a long time for a t-shirt when there’s food and drinks to be had! So in order to save time, we tend to pre-print any branding that the company wants on their items. That way, the items are ready to go for guests once they get to our booth. They only thing they have to worry about is choosing which design they want live printed.

Pre-printing is far from the only reason we do prep work for our live events. Sometimes we’re asked to print on an item we’ve never printed on before, and like anything you want to get good at doing: practice makes perfect.

This past April we were asked by The Fields Restaurant to do live printing on clear, PVC tote bags. While it may sound simple, printing on plastic bags can be quite tough. ESPECIALLY live. That’s why our Production Manager Mike hit the floor and practiced until we knew we could pull this off. Lucky for us, Mike is a master problem solver and came up with a system that would make this activation possible. Check out photos of the bags below!

pack it up, pack it in…


Once we’ve got everything prepped and ready to go, it’s time for everyone’s favorite activity: PACKING! Lugging our equipment around as often as we do can be quite taxing, but practice has certainly made for a smoother operation.

Most of the events we do call for a specific type of screen printing ink. Before everything gets packed up, we need to get all those inks ready to go. Our live team will either grab something off of the ink wall that’s already prepared, or mix something up.

After the inks are ready to go, we gather all our road-ready equipment and pack it up. Depending on where the event is taking place, we either transport the equipment ourselves or ship it to the event destination.

live from [insert location]… it’s family industries!

Stagecoach Country Music Festival 2019 - Indio, CA

Stagecoach Country Music Festival 2019 - Indio, CA

Over the last ten years, we’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the country. Life on the road is a rollercoaster, but it’s like a rollercoaster in Disneyland; it never gets old, it’s always a good time, and there is very little motion sickness.

Every event is different, but load in and set up always take place before the festivities get going. After everything’s good to go, that’s when the fun begins. It can get pretty nuts whenever we’re live printing, especially at large scale music festivals like Lollapalooza and Stagecoach, but that’s kind of why we love it. We feed off the energy of the crowd, and that’s what keeps the work interesting after all these years.

Depending on the activation and item being printed, our live team can turn an item out every thirty to ninety seconds. That’s why we’ve been able to take events on like the grand opening of Toyota’s headquarters in Plano, Texas where we printed five thousand shirts in four hours. Our heads were spinning and our arms were tired, but boy did we have a great time! That’s why we’re always down for a good challenge. The more, the merrier.

THAt’s all folks!

Bugs Ball 2019 - Warner Bros. Studio

Bugs Ball 2019 - Warner Bros. Studio


For more information on Live Screen Printing and all the other awesome activations we do, head over to our website:

Meet A Family Member - Kerin Amit

Each month we bring you inside our warehouse to introduce you to a member of our Family.


Kerin Amit

Fulfillment Department Manager / Master of Direct to Garment

Though it is far from finished, we’ve been working out of Camp Family (our new facility in Frogtown, LA) for quite some time now. Simultaneously managing the workflow of two separate locations would be a much more difficult and stressful situation if it weren’t for one person: Kerin Amit. Over here at the Chinatown warehouse we’re fortunate enough to work alongside our fellow Family members, with someone always there to help pick up the slack. Meanwhile, at Camp Family, Kerin has had to handle the bulk of everything on her own. Most people would lose their minds, but somehow she manages to stay above it all. She’s the very definition of hard worker, and her ability to handle everything with poise and a level head is what makes her an invaluable member of the Family. The Fulfillment Department is a non-stop, ever-changing machine; yet somehow Kerin makes managing it look easy. Add to that the fact that she’s our go-to Direct to Garment printer, and you begin to wonder: is Kerin half human, half machine? Simply put, without Kerin we would be lost. Very few people could do what she does on a daily basis and manage to keep their head on straight. There is never a moment of nuttiness (of which there are plenty) that Kerin let’s get to her. She’s Camp Family’s knight in shining armor, and there isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t make us feel lucky as hell for getting to call her a member of our Family.

Without further ado, we’re excited to finally introduce you to THE Kerin Amit.

What do you do at Family Industries?

To put it simply, I manage the Fulfillment department and run the Direct to Garment printers. I also do live events. I can pretty much do anything. DTG, embroidery, screen print, sublimation, vinyl, heat transfer.

Breaking it down, my main job is to work with clients in managing and maintaining their online store. We offer on demand printing for fulfillment, so when orders come in, I’ll either print them or if there is printed stock I’ll pull from inventory. And then I ship everything out. We can get anywhere between 40-100 orders overnight, so it’s always busy.

What piece of clothing that you own could you not live without?

High waisted pants.


At the moment, what are your top three songs?

1. “Lost On You” - LP

2. “Little Bit” - Terror Jr.

3. “Needy” - Ariana Grande


On top of steering the ship known as Camp Family, Kerin is also an incredible artist. If you attended Record Store Day 2019 at Amoeba Records, you might have snagged a shirt with Kerin’s design on it. That’s right, she’s the amazing artist behind this year’s Amoeba Tape design!



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As you may or may not know, we have been in the process of building our brand new facility in Frogtown, LA. We’re calling it Camp Family. There’s still quite a lot to do, but we’re too excited to keep all the updates to ourselves.

A couple weeks ago we got to witness the cement being poured onto the ground floor, and while the ground breaking had happened months prior, the cement made it all feel much more real. Then, as if that wasn’t cool enough for us, 10 days ago we got to watch the first walls go up. We know that all of this sounds way less exciting than it actually was, but watching your dream come to life in physical form is a pretty crazy thing.

Anyway, enough of the emotional blabber. Here are some pictures of the progress we’re making at Camp Family. Stay tuned for more.

Meet A Family Member - Phil McDonald

Each month we bring you inside our warehouse to introduce you to a member of our Family.



Customer Service Manager

It’s quite fitting that Phil is the first face you see when you walk into Family Industries. From his unique ability to make everyone around him feel comfortable, to the always present smile on his face; Phil is the physical embodiment of what we represent as a company. Whether your a customer who’s been with Family for ten years or ten minutes, he makes you feel like there’s no one else in the world more important than YOU. Despite the occasional crap we give him for being such a sweet-hearted softy, this place wouldn’t be the same without him.

We’re really excited to introduce you to the man who’s stolen all of our hearts, and might just steal yours: Phil McDonald.

What do you do at Family Industries?

I work with our customers one on one to help them get their projects off the ground. From their initial idea, all the way to the physical, tangible product; I am there to make sure it gets where it needs to be, and gets there on time. I work hand-in-hand with people to help them brainstorm ideas, and make sure they get exactly what they came in looking for. If necessary, as some customers don’t always have a solid idea of exactly what they want, I’ll bring in our in-house art department to help with artwork and design. From there, it’s off to the presses… well, not THAT quickly. Because our day-to-day workload is often quite substantial, I am always keeping track of our production schedule, as to avoid any potential delays. I’m also in constant contact with the customer throughout the art and design phase to make sure they’re seeing their vision come to life. My goal is for the customer to have a seamless experience with us, and for everything to come together like magic!

What piece of clothing that you own could you not live without?

Does my Casio F-91W count? Cause if so, DEFINITELY that.



Outside of working at Family Industries, Phil’s in a band! They’re named Punch Punch Kick, and you can check their music out here:

Official Music Video for "Licking My Wounds" by Punch Punch Kick From the debut album available now on Lolipop Records.



Zenyatta_highlight_heroic - Phil McDonald.gif

Bella+Canvas x Family Industries

This past February we invited Bella+Canvas over to the shop to shoot a how-to video on screen printing and heat pressing vinyl designs on fitness leggings.

Our Production Manager, Mike hit the manual screen press while Phil, our in-house jack-of-all-trades, hopped on the heat press. Getting the opportunity to work on a video with Bella+Canvas was an incredible experience, and it’s always fun for us to help others learn a little more about our craft.


Behind the Scenes photos

10 Years of Family

An Interview with Alex Meiners & Max Hellmann:

Founders of Family Industries & BFFs for Life

10 Year Post.jpg

Ten years ago, Alex Meiners and Max Hellmann lost their jobs on the same day. They had just enough money to continue renting a garage in Downtown Los Angeles for $300 a month, and a solid enough network of people who were able to hire them to do small printing jobs.

Today, ten years later, Alex and Max have built a company beyond their wildest dreams. From a small carriage house with no power, to building their very own, brand new office and printing facility; Alex and Max have not only built a company from nothing, they’ve raised a Family.

How did you two meet?

Max: Alex and I met at a new years eve house party hosted by our mutual friend Josh back in 2007.

Alex: It was like straight up out of the movies. Looked like “Can’t Hardly Wait 2”, but instead of high schoolers trying to be more adult, it was just a bunch of adults acting like they were in high school again.


After that fateful meeting, what was it that made you two decide to start a business together?

Alex: I had been wanting to start some sort of printing business, but it was straight up IMPOSSIBLE to find anyone that wanted to do it for real. Like, actually knew what it took and was ready to go all in. Not just a club of buddies making shirts and messing around.

Max: I mean, we became pretty fast friends there at the beginning. Similar interests and mindsets kept bringing us back to the idea of working together.

Alex: Totally. Which made it even more apparent, I think to the both of us, that we had each found someone who knew what they wanted, and was ready to do whatever it took to get it. We both wanted something bigger and more structured than anything we had done previously.

What were those early days like? Before Family Industries, when you were just two friends with a small printing business?

Max: At the time, we worked in a TINY back carriage house in Echo Park. It had no power, so we used to have to throw an extension cord from the Juliet balcony of my apartment, across the back lawn so that we could get power for our the flash dryer. We probably blew the circuits of the apartment building once a print session.

Alex: Humble beginnings to say the least, but hey, we were broke.

The carriage house. Max & Alex’s first “office”.

The carriage house. Max & Alex’s first “office”.

Like some kind of divine, really twisted intervention; you both lost your jobs on the SAME DAY in 2009. Tell us more about that day, and the days thereafter that ultimately led to you going all-in on starting Family Industries. 

Alex: I’ll never forget that day. I was already out of the building I had been working at, and I was printing in the garage we were renting Downtown LA. I was pouring my frustrations, and all of that pent-up emotion into my printing. Then, and I remember this moment like it was yesterday, Max pulled up in his car. I knew something was up, cause it was the middle of the day. He parked in his spot, I walked outside, and Max just said “welp, I no longer work at Filter Magazine anymore”. Then, just like that famous shot in “Jaws”, the background behind him blurred, and my whole perspective just zoomed in on Max. It was a weird feeling, but I think we both knew, in a weird sort of way, that this was meant to happen.


Max: As excited as we both were that we no longer had to work for someone other than ourselves, we were broke. I mean, BROKE.

Alex: It was a rough go at the beginning, cause we had zero help from our parents or anyone. It was our money, and if we failed, that was it.

Max: It was better than the alternative though, which was finding another job working for someone else. Which we just couldn’t do. Luckily, we had a built up a solid network and were able to bring in a steady stream of work to slowly grow the business. 

Alex: Max is the Ying to my yang. Over the years we have grown up together. We have learned from each other tremendously. From that, we’ve been able to adapt to anything that gets thrown our way. From the jump, we knew how to weather storms together and not get caught up in the little things.

family photo.png

Why the name "Family Industries"?

Max: Even from the very beginning we set ourselves apart from the pack because we treated all of our customers and clients like family. In the printing world, that kind of personal touch and attention to detail didn’t really exist. On top of that, Alex and I had been through so much together as friends that we actually became brothers. So, we decided on Family Industries for the simple fact that our goal was to always treat our employees and customers like Family.

… and everyone wants to know: Why the elephant??

Alex: Oh, it’s very random. We were playing with graphics for an event. I was mocking up a burger headed man playing an accordion. It was sort of a remix off another design we used for… was it Record Store Day?

Max: Yeah, Record Store Day 2009 at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.

Alex: I shot the design over to Max and he sent me over a Frankenstein-ed design. Instead of a burger head, he changed it to an elephant head. He also threw a boom-box in place of the accordion, which I really dug. I sharpened it up, tweaked a few things, and there it was. Originally it wasn’t our logo, but people were loving it so much that we decided it made sense for our logo.

Max: As anti-climactic as that may sound, that's how "Elly" was born. 

The OG logo.

The OG logo.

It's been 10 years since the day you started your company. You've seen a hell of a lot, rode the roller coaster through all the ups and downs, and now you've reached a milestone very few businesses in the modern era may ever hit. What would you say was THE defining moment for Family Industries.

Alex: [laughs] I always think back to this one job we did for a pretty big client, and how that order went terribly wrong. We were sent a perfect looking graphic from the client, everything looked solid.

Max: From what I remember, the graphic was a URL for their new website.

Alex: Right! Yes, and we didn’t see aaaaanything wrong with it. So, we went and printed the order. 1,000 shirts.

Max: We sent it to the client, thinking ‘hell yeah, we nailed it’. Then, we get a call telling us WE messed up the entire order.

Alex: Which, fine I’m always willing to take the heat whenever I mess up, but we couldn’t see a thing wrong with the graphic they sent us.

Max: It turns out that the graphic they sent us of their URL had a period somewhere that should have been a dash. So minuscule a detail, but obviously something that needed to be changed IMMEDIATELY.

Alex: I’ll never forget the client told us it was only “30%” their fault. How they came up with that number, I'll never know, but we both had to move passed the ridiculousness of that statement and try to make it work. Cause at that point, we either made this order happen, and make it right, or Max and I were getting back on craigslist to find new jobs.

Max: As unfortunate as the situation was, it taught us that mistakes happen, and though it may not 100% be our fault, we have to do what we have to do to make things right. It almost killed us as a brand new business, but we were able to work with the client and make things right.

What have each of you learned the most from being business owners for 10 years?

Alex: I’ve learned to always move forward, and never let adversity get in the way. It’s never as hard as it seems, and if you keep a level head about things; anything is possible. 

Max: To keep plowing forward, and learn from your mistakes. Make sure your employees are taken care of, and have a vision of your company’s future. Our business is our ship, and it’s up to us to steer it in the right direction.


As business owners, friends, and bosses to a wide range of different personalities: What is the most important advice you can give to someone looking to start their own business?

Alex: Speaking for a CO-owner of a business: NEVER HOLD ON TO BULLS*** FEELINGS. Max and I never hold on to a fight or an argument. We address it and move forward. If we need to talk to each other we go outside, look each other straight in the eyes, and hash it out. As I said earlier, always move forward. Max and I don't hold grudges. Grudges are a waste of time.

Also, for anyone looking to start a business: PUT MONEY BACK INTO THE BUSINESS!!! Don't gobble up the profits. You have to invest in the business. Sacrifice is key.

Max: You are either 100% in, or you are going to fail. That simple.

10 years down. What next?

Max: Hard to say what the next 10 years hold, but we are looking forward to expanding our reach, continuing to be the innovators in the on-site customization world, and navigating the changes that are coming to this industry. We’re prepared for whatever comes our way.

Alex: To piggy back off of Max’s sentiment, part of our expansion is moving into our BRAND NEW FACILITY! Construction just recently begun, but we are beyond pumped to move into a space we’re building from the ground up. It’s weird, but in some ways our new building (Camp Family in Elysian Valley, CA) is a physical manifestation of the hard work we’ve put in to building our company.

Max: In Family Industries’s story, this is the most exciting chapter yet.


A Family Photo Album