Third-year UCSB student Garrett Gerstenberger and business partner Jose el Cardoso will celebrate the grand opening of their T-shirt printing business, “I.V. Screen Printing,” on 6565 Trigo Rd. on April 17.
During the opening, Gerstenberger will offer music, free BBQ and discounted shirts in an effort to clear out his current inventory of clothes and make room for new designs. Gerstenberger said the celebration will be a first step toward his overall goal of creating an “I.V. identity” brand.
“The big goal is to create a hub for Isla Vista artists and involve the community,” Gerstenberger said. “It would be fun to have a legitimate Isla Vista T-shirt design.”
Gerstenberger and el Cardoso have hired a number of interns for graphic designing, freehand artwork and marketing.
Gerstenberger said the idea to create his own clothing designs began in high school, when he started to research the process of screen-printing designs and planned the necessary purchases to begin his own work. After buying equipment, Gerstenberger opened his first store inside the garage of his house on Camino del Sur toward the end of last year. Around this time, Gerstenberger began collaborating with business partner Jose el Cardoso, who has worked in screen-printing for 25 years.
Gerstenberger said he has learned from el Cardoso’s experience.
“All of last year was kind of my trial and error,” Gerstenberger said. “I called a bunch of printers and started working with Jose. At first I gave him the bigger jobs because he had more experience and I was still learning.”
Jose el Cardoso said he was planning on retiring until Gerstenberger offered him a partnership in his screen-printing business. The two signed a lease for the 6565 Trigo address on June 1 of last year and began working there Aug. 15.
Gerstenberger said that most of their current commissions have come from local campus organizations, but business has begun to expand outside the campus.
“Most of the stuff is students’,” Gerstenberger said. “Right now we are doing stuff for the Interfraternity Council. We have done a lot of other businesses too, though, even outside of Isla Vista.”