I graduated highschool when I was barely 17. I had earned enough credits through summer school that I was able to start my freshman year at Ohio State at 17 years old. I always knew I wanted to do something in the graphics design industry, but it was a tough business to be in because of the competition. I had worked since I was 16 years old in my families pizza shop making pizzas. The shop had been around for 30 years, passed down to my father from his father. Banes Pizzeria was where I learned every aspect of being a hard worker and owning and maintaining a business. After school, I'd go home and do homework and then work from 4 until 11 everyday. My weekends were spent from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the pizzeria making pizzas at first, then working the books until I started college. Once I started college, I landed a job at a local beer distributor working evenings designing banners for the local bars. It was a great start in my graphics design career and although often tedious, I loved the work. Plus the perks of the job included attending concerts, auto races or any other events that the company sponsored, for free.
I was raised on the premise that family came first, then school, work, then if I had time -- a social life. Unfortunately, there just wasn't much time for the latter. However, that was ok. I was an honors student, and well on my way to not fulfilling the family legacy of tossing pizza dough for 12 hours a day.
By my junior year, I met Cane. Cane was an energetic rich kid from Pittsburgh. He hadn't worked a day in his life because he had no need to. His family owned 4 large steel mill. Cane played baseball in high school, was the Prom King, and didn't want for anything other than Madge, his high school sweet heart. Cane's parents raised him on about the same premise as mine did me. Family, School, Sports, Social Life. Cane and his brains and money, and me and my Brains and work ethic were all that we needed to start up our business.
Opportunity came knocking halfway into our junior year when one of the clients I had for work asked about having shirts made. The company I worked for didn't do shirts, just banners. Mrs. Rhodes from Rhodes Bar and Grill was more than desperate to have 50 t-shirts made and I didn't want to lose her business so I designed her a logo (of the clock) and drove it 60 miles home to the same company that made the shirts for our Pizzeria employees. Raven's Screen Printing printed off the shirts and cut me a great deal. Mrs. Rhodes was so thrilled with the design, and the shirts, she paid me $1000.00.
When Cane saw how easy it was to make a grand, he spoke to his parents and we combined the money I had saved up from all of my years in the pizzeria and beer company with the money his parents fronted and bought our first screen printing press. Jack Raven, spent spring break showing Cane and I how to operate the screen press, and for the first year and a half we made shirts out of the basement of our rented house on campus. As you can imagine, business didn't take long to kick up, being on campus of a major university. The rest.. well the rest of our business adventure was history.