Back in 2008, I was working as an automotive engineer when the recession hit. As I watched everyone around me face layoff or forced retirement, I realized that this had nothing to do with my 30-year plan. I began questioning exactly what it was that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. In the process of thinking about my future, I was forced to reflect on my past. Which moments in life did I truly enjoy? The one that kept showing itself to me was the time I spent in college traveling in a 1971 VW pop-top, following a couple of bands, and selling t-shirts as a means of getting to the next show. It was simple and may seem foolish to some, but these were the best times I had ever experienced until that point. As I continued to build up hours sitting behind a desk, I couldn't help but reflect on the summers I spent selling t-shirts to people who loved music.
So, I decided to go for it. I had a little money saved up at the time, so I started doing some research. I found some used Caps equipment, a 4-color press, a tiny dryer, and a flash. After renting a space in a not-so-nice part of town, I started printing some t-shirts. I started my first company, Guerrilla Ink, which went on until about 2011. Since then, I've owned and operated two more apparel brands: Guerrilla Tees and Custom Screen Printing. Now, I'm no stranger to the apparel industry.
That brings us to today. Finger Lakes Apparel is a custom screen printing and embroidery company run out of a small studio in Upstate New York by a tight-knit team, and we wouldn't have it any other way. It has no doubt been an incredible struggle to get to this point, but it has also been the most rewarding accomplishment of my life. So thank you to everyone who helped make this possible: my friends, family, and all of my valued customers who have supported us throughout the years.
Founder, Finger Lakes Apparel