Print Renegades sprouted from the ashes of 7Lightningbolt, a local couture handmade clothing brand based out of Los Angeles. Joe Wall, Kenny Valera, and JD Nielsen founded this non-traditional brand which focused on deconstructing vintage pieces and creating new ones thru a variety of cut and sew, screen printing, spray painting and appliqué. As the brand grew, the owners began to invest in their own equipment, to limit outsourcing as much as possible and to bring everything in house, to really bring out the values of the brand as much as possible.
When 7Lightningbolt was dissolved in 2008, the owners parted ways, buyouts were negotiated and one of them was left with all the equipment. JD, having been involved with the music industry for years and having a lot of colleagues in local LA bands, started being asked to help them with producing their band merch. Helping them was a given, as he was shown by example by the Elmer Ave guys who trained him to give freely to all those in need. This he did, and after the month was over of helping out bands, he realized that he made more in that month alone than he did the entire last YEAR of working full time for 7Lightningbolt. After this, the decision to start a screen printing company was kind of decided for him.
Since then, JD has been able to use his hard work ethic, high quality standards, technical knowledge of screen printing and ability to work with customers to build Print Renegades to what it is today.
Since our establishment in 2008, we have been located in a variety of different shops and locations. These are the main locations that have really made up who Print Renegades is:
After starting our print shop in a garage in West Hollywood, we then shared a space with Art Rebel, an art school and education facility for kids. We printed all things related to the school and even got to hold classes to teach children the basics of screen printing. (very eye opening).
Next, we got our first legit shop in Echo Park when we shared a space with the LA Derby Dolls (A Los Angeles roller derby club). This was fun since we got to see the games and practices for free, print all of their team shirts and enjoy the open house that we had during the monthly games. Our 1000 sq ft of space helped us grow, helped us be able to have a location for clients to meet with us for the first time, and allowed us to figure out what our niche was in this industry.
From there, we finally moved into our first large industrial space. Although it was located in South Central LA, it was large and we had a lot of space to grow and expand our business. (we were the only white hipster kids on that side of the city). This place was 2400 sq ft, gave us more than enough space to grow, hire our first employees and have enough room to buy new equipment for our business.
We then tried out a different approach of the print business and moved into our first retail store in Glendale, CA. The warehouse in the back of the retail store was small but the retail storefront was large and we were excited about this new approach, with the thought that we could venture down the road of retail, direct to garment on-the-spot printing and brand development and not as much high volume printing. Being in this retail store wasn’t ideal, and although it was a good experiment, we quickly realized that our true love was for a large open warehouse so that we could have the room to be able to work with clients to help them achieve their dreams.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with many other garment manufacturing and decorating warehouses in the Downtown Los Angeles Fashion District, our previous location was better than anything we could have ever dreamt of (at the time). The 5000 sq ft open studio was centrally located with ample parking for our customers and more space than we originally thought we would ever need. Our equipment fit neatly with enough room to navigate the space without bumping into something and still allowed for a nice showroom, coffee bar and sitting area to welcome our customers. The extended searching and months of reject properties we were shown was all worth it after finding that Renegades HQ.