The Print Room
Jon Thom and Chris Brun grew up together in Clyde, Central Otago going to Clyde Primary and Dunstan High School together before moving down to Dunedin.
“Originally, I wanted to be a doctor so enrolled to do health sciences at Otago,” says Jon, “but before I arrived I had a change of heart and switched to study law and psychology, with a few art history papers thrown in the mix. It wasn’t until I took a design paper in that I figured out what I really wanted to do. I came away with Bachelor of Arts majoring in Design Studies and Art History. The demise of the Uni’s Department of Design is very sad, especially considering some of the talent that came out of that place. I think Chris and I both owe a lot for the time we spent in the Design Department learning how to use software, equipment and design thinking from our lecturers.”
Jon began his foray into the rag trade in his second year of university, selling screen-printed t-shirts out of his Forth Street flat under the name ‘Moodie Tuesday’; the t-shirts featured screen prints of portraits that he had painted or drawn.
“Chris and I ran into each other one night in town, he mentioned wanting to make some t-shirts and I was looking for someone else to help me kick along things with Moodie Tuesday. We agreed to start working together. The rest is history I guess.”
After a few years of running Moodie Tuesday while at University Chris and Jon began to be approached by people who wanted t-shirts designed and printed for them.
“After a number of requests we decided to give it a crack! Initially, we worked for others under the guise of Moodie Tuesday, essentially starting from scratch. In our first week of business we managed to wrangle orders of a few thousand t-shirts. We pretty much printed 24 hours days on this tiny little single platen carousel; it was hard graft and something I hope we never have to do again!!
“But it was totally worth it. At the end of that week we had raised enough funds to buy a new entry-level screen printing carousel and tunnel dryer. This is when we decided to set-up The Print Room and focus our attention more toward print and design for clients.
The Print Room, officially established in mid 2014, offers well-designed and printed garments for businesses, sports teams, schools, clubs and other organisations. The service has since widened to include embroidery and other promotional merchandise. The goal is to create consistently high quality products, efficiently.
“We create products that people love to wear and talk about, ensuring our client’s brands are communicated clearly and are top of mind. The plan is to continue to grow. I want to keep building our customer base locally and throughout NZ and then start looking further afield to Australia. We’ve made a commitment to the business and invested heavily in new plant so we now need to focus on maximising our increased production capacity and margins. My goal for The Print Room is to be leaders in the promotional apparel and merchandise industry so we’re focusing on how we realise that.”
“I think we’ve been well supported by the Dunedin community; Dunedinites are extremely loyal and believe it is important to support local enterprises - this support we are extremely grateful for. Dunedin is a pretty cheap place to live in and operate a business I’ve found, although there is a smaller population than other centres, we have low living costs and rent. This means the barriers of entry for people setting up a business are lower if they are prepared to back themselves.”
“I believe because there is a smaller population, to succeed in business, you must look outward and focus on growth throughout the country and further afield. It’s very encouraging to see a number of young people choosing to set-up business here; we all feed off each others success and it makes Dunedin an even more desirable place to live.
Locals Jon and Chris are founders and owners ofThe Print Room, what startedas a side project at uni has now transformed into an impressive brand; creating printed garments for businesses nationwide. Both Chris and Jon have always been extremely creative but it was their clothing label, Moodie Tuesday, that introduced them into the fashion world. Sold at local store Slick Willys it was a hit from day one. Jon is also an amazing artist and often lends his hand to creating original art pieces for the Moodie Tuesday collections.
With street art in Dunedin taking off Jon was giving the opportunity to leave his own stamp on the City. He created 'Bel' the beautiful mural found on the Queen’s Garden side of Vogel St.
”Basically I drove past that wall every morning and would stop at the lights on the way to work. I'd been offered that wall and wanted to create something that would make people happy or smile when they saw it. The image is of Chris' partner Annabel."
Jon’s works are often shown at the Artist Room (under his name Jon Thom), which is well worth a visit.
Keep your eyes on The Print Room; they have their fingers in many pies and some exciting projects on the horizon.
We are lucky to have such talented young local lads choosing to keep Dunedin as their home; both extremely humble and super loyal. They have built a reputation on going the extra mile to keep their customers happy which has undoubtedly helped build their success. With a bit of ingenuity and a lot of hard work and dedication Jon and Chris show that Dunedin is the perfect launchpad for a great business.
Submitted by Buchan & Co