MRC PROMO chops it up with South Bay Area, California Definitive Projects artist/shop/gallery owner David Roseblade…
Where is home?
Born and raised in the South Bay Area, California. Never moved outside of about a 10 mile radius, from Milpitas and San Jose. The shop was in San Jose but is currently located in Fremont.
How did Definitive Projects come about?
I’ve been working full time for a printing company called Neuron Publishing (formerly Progressive Solutions) since 2005, running HP Indigo digital presses. In 2019 my boss had acquired a small flatbed UV printer that he didn’t plan on keeping.
I had already been playing with it, experimenting with printing on different objects, so I really didn’t want to see the printer go. After convincing him to sell it to me, I needed to have a plan to make the money back.
I met with two close friends that had also been around the printing industry, and decided to start the business with them as partners. Originally we were planning on offering printing as a service, and the artist series prints were secondary.
But that didn’t really work out. I was enjoying trying different things and was more focused on creating something different with artists that I was into.
How many people do you employ?
I am now solo, with no partners. Sometimes it’s challenging, because I’m already working full time, but have my family to help back me up when I get busy. My wife helps me with packing and shipping and my son will help with whatever odd jobs I need him to do.
Do you have exclusive deals with certain companies like Hip Hop Toys?
I’ve worked with Hip Hop toys on a couple projects now, and have a couple more lined up. They’ve really been a great partner so far and I’m grateful that they had reached out to me in the first place.
Do you have a strategy for gaining new customers?
I’ve never been too concerned about blowing up, I just let things grow organically. A lot of my business comes from referrals by word of mouth, and also working with new artists and being introduced to their fan base.
I think the final product speaks for itself, so people are more likely to share something that’s different.
Who is your typical customer?
A lot of the people that follow me are writers, but the actual customers are not. They are more fans of graffiti and are collectors. I feel very blessed to have such understanding customers.
What are some challenges of owning a space like yours?
I’ve been blessed to have such an understanding employer. When I first bought my printer, my boss allowed me to keep it at work, and now I have my own space in the corner.
This has helped a lot, and made it easier for my customers to come through during normal business hours. It’s also been a little challenging, because it is such a small space, and the more I grow, the more space I need.
Any advice for someone who wants to get in the business?
Don’t give up. I was thinking of calling it quits after year 2 because of being slow, but I just kept it going. Doing projects with artists like Skeme, Askew and Sam Rodriguez helped me to get through the slow times and have opened other doors that have helped me to continue.
Items you can’t keep on the shelf?
So far, I’ve done a couple HO scale trains with Mecro that have sold out in minutes. Also have done a few projects with Jaber that have sold out as well.
I just appreciate these artists being willing to work with me on something that is not just a standard print. I think that’s what makes what I do special.
Are all your products online, are there exclusives for pick up only?
Most of my products are online, but I do have some things that I make that I can sell at local events and street markets.
Mostly my own artwork and things that have to do with the event or the city It’s in. I may release some of these online, since they seem to do well at the events.
Long term goals?
I just simply want to keep it up. I am continuing to reach out to different artists that I feel I could make a dope print with in one way or another. I also continue to experiment with the equipment that I have available to me.
I also know a few different shops that do different types of printing and services, so I’m always thinking about how I could use their capabilities as well.
Last words or shout outs?
Thank you for this opportunity. Just wanna give a shout out to my lovely wife Eunice and my kids, Kalel and Maxwell. Also to my boss Mark, who has helped me out tremendously with this.
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EDITOR: La Mont
IMAGE: Definitive Projects