Youth Business thrives with creativity
International Children’s Day of Broadcasting is celebrated worldwide on the first Sunday of March each year. In keeping with our tradition to encourage children participation in the media, here at News Five we invited Mariana Moguel to show her budding skills as a teen journalist. Working along with Isani Cayetano, Mariana put together a report on an enterprising entrepreneur who started a small and growing business from scratch. Here is Mariana’s report.
Mariana Moguel, Reporting
Meet twenty-seven year old Ruben Novelo, a self-taught graphic designer, whose funny business began inside his bathroom a few years ago. Ruben is a fish in a pool of sharks. Unlike many, he remains afloat in the cutthroat screen-printing industry by incorporating his love for witty phrases unto his many t-shirts.
Ruben Novelo, Screen-printer/Graphic Designer
“I am originally a big fan of funny t-shirts so I always wanted to do my own shirts, I have a lot of ideas to put on t-shirts and I didn’t know how to actually do it. I used to just go at several businesses in Belize and have some t-shirts printed.”
That was until he decided to take matters into his own hands. As a novice, Ruben looked everywhere for inspiration on how to design and print his own tees. At last he stumbled upon it while watching television.
“One night I was just up watching TV and I saw this infomercial on a you-do machine and I thought it was very interesting. It was a compact machine where you can print your own t-shirts, but I went on the internet the following day, I took a look at it, took a look at the reviews but one thing led to the other and I wanted to be bigger than that. So I researched on how to actually, what was the actual procedure in printing t-shirts and that just grew on me and I found a blueprint on how to build my own machine.”
Taking this unique approach Ruben, along with a friend, had a handmade, wooden printing press up and running within two months. What started out as a hobby, with a single shirt being produced weekly, has now grown into Sir Pryz Ink. With a little money and help from Youth Business Trust Belize he was able to expand his venture into the world of screen-printing.
“Family, actually, and friends helped me out to get some financing and I got this place from a family, so I could use this place which was a very big help for me. And then [with] a little bit of help and so forth I got a small business plan made up. I ordered my stuff and then ordered a couple t-shirts, probably a hundred t-shirts or so and then I started from there. So I didn’t get a loan initially; however, afterwards I met the guys over at YBTB and then I enrolled in a program to create another business plan. I did a business plan for an expansion and that’s where I bought a bigger machine, so I have two machines now and I got some more t-shirts and more supplies.”
Screen-printing, for Ruben, is a labor of love. In a few easy steps he walked me through the entire process of designing and producing my own t-shirt. By creating a business out of his hobby, Ruben Novelo is an inspiration to those with a certain passion. He shows us that when you are determined and motivated you can make a business out of anything you really love to do.
“If you have the passion for it, because it has to be something you love, you can’t just wake up one day and say, “Well this looks like a good business venture so” you know, “I’ll try it.” It has to be something you want to do, something you’ve liked for a long time, in my opinion, you know and just go for it. If you want, I prefer taking my time just doing it little by little because in that way you’re kind of nourishing the business and letting it grow at its own pace. Sometimes you do have to get like maybe a loan or so to advance. But the way I would advise is just take it a little at a time, you have to commit yourself and you have to work hard because it’s not easy, it’s not always easy. And even when you’re at this stage it’s not easy.”
While it is not always easy, Ruben, through his eye-catching designs, has surely caught the attention of already established businesses. Reporting for News Five on International Children’s Day of Broadcasting, I am Mariana Moguel.