Jeff Becker, president of Seattle-based Kotis Design, and screen printing shop director, Eoin Doherty, traces the company’s history and discusses the principles that have led to its rapid growth.
The company got its start while Jeff was at the University of Washington. The student-run business provided custom-designed T-shirts to sororities and fraternities, and the operation was so successful that he created Kotis Design after graduating in 2003.
In the intervening years, the company has repeatedly moved to progressively larger facilities—and recently opened a satellite operation in Ohio. Kotis Design also expanded well beyond its original market, which now accounts for only 25 percent of the business. Kotis Design didn’t get into screen printing until 2011 when Jeff decided he wanted the control and first-hand knowledge of the process that could only be obtained by bringing the operation in-house. The Seattle location now has three automatic presses and operates two shifts.
The key to Kotis Design’s successful screen printing operation is investing in employees and in the latest technology. Says Eoin, “We invest in our employees…and have them grow with us. Experience, if it stays here, is always beneficial to…what you’re trying to do.”
As for technology, Jeff Becker says, “We’re trying to make this process more efficient.” To help accomplish that, Kotis Design invested in M&R’s Uni-Kote screen coater, Eco-Rinse, i-Image STE, and Tri-Loc. The result is a screen room where one person can accomplish what used to require a staff of three. “That’s why we bought every efficient machine that [M&R offers],” says Jeff. “Clearly, these things save time, and they make a huge difference since we can focus on how we can make an awesome T-shirt.”
Why did they choose M&R? Eoin has been working in screen printing since he was fourteen, and one of the last shops he worked at had equipment from a variety of manufacturers. According to Eoin, “The ones that required the least amount of repair and maintenance were the M&R equipment. So when it came time for us to purchase equipment I immediately started looking at M&R. M&R is definitely key to how we’ve been able to grow as we have.”