When it comes to feeling comfy and looking great, Kelli from Gusto Graphic Tees has you covered! Her ultra-soft tees are printed with fun Texas-themed prints, like their Margaritas, Texas & Tacos tee and their Retro Dallas design. And we “Willie” think you’ll love this Willie Nelson tee! We’re excited to introduce you to Kello so you can learn a little more about her business and story!
Hi Kelli! Thanks for sharing your story with us today! Can you please tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Kelli and I own Gusto Graphic Tees. I am originally from Louisiana, I’m a true mix of Cajun and Texan. I’ve lived in Texas for over half of my life now so it seems fair to have a big love of the state. I live on the outskirts of Austin with my wife, who’s an amazing teacher and tween son whose introverted personality is working for him during this pandemic. We have 3 fur babies, 2 are rescue pups and one quarantine puppy that we couldn’t resist, who’s now the center of everyone’s world.
Your love for Texas certainly comes through in the work that you do! Tell us about your Gusto Graphic Tees! What do you make and how long have you been doing it?
The journey began 5 years ago when I followed my dream, literally, by quitting my graphic design job to start designing/screen printing t-shirts. In a dream I had of my dad, who had recently passed away, he kept repeating, “Go for the Gusto, Kelli.” With the help and support of my wife, I was able to transition into this creative adventure that my soul needed and I get to go for the Gusto every day. I hope that everyone has the opportunity to follow their own gusto and make their dreams come true!
We are a local Austin, woman-owned business that designs and screen prints t-shirts that are primarily Austin- and Texas-themed. In addition to t-shirts, we’ve added stickers, drinkware, hats, bags, can coolers, to our product line and we will soon include laser engraved wood products.
What a beautiful way to honor your dad and inspire others to live life to the fullest, too! What are you most proud of?
What I love most about our business is that I am able to use my creativity to design our t-shirts and stickers. When we began, I had taken a screen printing class and had created several designs. We purchased a single-platen, 4 color press and had a flash dryer that we set up in our single-car garage. I emailed several local, Austin stores to see if they had any interest in our designs and we heard back from a local chain store almost immediately. This prompted our move into a room in our home, but I discovered quickly that printing with a single platen and a flash dryer took a considerable amount of time. Thankfully, as we were invited to sell in other stores and vendor pop-ups, we were able to get a conveyor dryer.
You’ve accomplished so much through your creativity, and we know you’ll continue to grow! How has your work evolved over time?
After being in business for 3 years, were able to upgrade to a six-platen, six-color press and into a larger space. We continue to add to our product line by including our designs on products that we have sublimated and laser engraved.
How exciting! We love your shirts and the creativity you’re able to express with the new press! What’s the most recent show you binge-watched?
Our family just binge-watched Lost in Space on Netflix. I’ve been wearing Birkenstocks since the ’80s and when I am screen printing, that is my shoe of choice.
I haven’t seen that one yet, but I’ll add it to the list! Thanks so much for telling us about Gusto Graphic Tees today. We’ve loved learning about you and your business and we’re so glad you’re a part of the Mosaic Makers Collective!
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