Field Trip: Trust’s Awesome Weekend at ISS

Ryan Johnson
February 8th, 2016

Trust at ISS Long Beach

Hi all. My name is Ryan and I’m the Operations Manager and Integrator here at Trust Printshop. This is my first blogpost so don’t critique me too hard.

Five times a year, the Imprinted Sportswear Show—or ISS—lands at one of their five host cities. Long Beach, California is typically their first stop in January to kick off the new year. For the last several years, our fearless leader Matt has braved the insanity that is this screen printing trade show to get a pulse on what’s going on in the industry. He connects with our brother and sister print shops and they share issues and solutions in order to make one another better. He connects with our vendors who link us with new products from our current and potential suppliers, and he sees the big-ticket items that have the potential to take Trust to the next level. One of our favorite pieces of equipment in Trust’s history, for example, our I-Jet 2 (Trust’s direct-to-screen imager), was originally introduced to us at a trade show like this one. Suffice to say that these trade shows have the potential to provide a significant impact to its attendees. One of the stops ISS makes is Fort Worth around October and lately Trust has made a concerted effort to bring more and more of our team to attend our hometown’s trade show. One issue with this, however, is that our attendance is always limited in that with our shop so near, it is easy to be distracted by the day-to-day work at the shop which subtracts from our trade show focus. So we thought, what if that wasn’t the case? What if we brought a chunk of our team to Long Beach to get fully saturated in the industry? No distractions of other work to get done. No other goals than to see, learn, and get excited about where this industry–and our own shop–is heading. So that’s what we did. Trust Printshop brought a team of 7 to spend the weekend in Long Beach and crush the ISS trade show.

Trust's ISS Team

While there, we saw a lot of things that excited us. I’ll try and hit the high points because I have a habit of being a bit wordy and this post could get really long really fast. So first things first, we took a quick jog around the scene and tried to get a feel for the locations of everything and just comfortable with the layout. We connected with our vendor friends: Mike Ortega at GSG, Mike Shiffler at SPSI, and Nick Wood at Ryonet. These three dudes know the products they sell like the back of their hand and while we at Trust take a lot of pride in investigating products on our own, we trust these three to typically point us in the right direction.

Meeting with Geoff

What stood out? Above all at this show, what we could not take our eyes off of was what Mike led us to at KIWO. Remember how I said that we love our I-Jet 2 and how significant a tool it has been to Trust? Well our friend Geoff McCue and the KIWO team had their new baby on display for all to see: The XTS, our I-Jet 2’s younger and more talented and athletic younger brother. In short, it’s beautiful. It has 1200×1200 resolution (4 times that of the I-Jet 2), it’s faster (more heads than the I-Jet 2), the software is integrated with the machine through LINUX, and it’s made of better parts (the X in XTS stands for Xerox). Needless to say, it blew us away. They also had their sweet reclaim machine from their friends at Grünig on display. We hear that baby is gonna be modular soon too so there was lots to be excited about.

The XTS is an example of a very big thing in a very big package. That is not always the case, nor does it need or have to be. You can have great equipment, but if you aren’t using quality inks and chemicals to use alongside them, you’re only driving half a car. Mike from SPSI brought us over to Rutland’s booth (which had a Nespresso bar, pretty baller move) to let us see what they had been working on. It’s called Silixtreme. It’s their new silicone ink and we’re somewhere between quite and very interested to say the least. As performance wear continues to grow, Trust feels a need to continue to strive to offer the best solutions for printing on such garments. We aren’t going to pretend to be experts on the product just yet, but Rutland knows what they’re doing and we’re excited to get our hands on it.

Talking with Ryonet

Last, but certainly not least, our friend Nick at Ryonet gave us the tour of what they had going on and while their ROQ presses were certainly at the forefront of what they were touting (we even got to play with those bad boys all by ourselves for a few hours), what we saw and knew we had to have right away was their AllureGalaxy ink line. Ryonet teamed up with AllureGlow USA and are distributing this beautiful HSA reflective ink. It’s rad. We’ll be sampling with that in the very near future. Ryonet is a very cool company with some very cool people like Nick and they really spoiled our Long Beach team at every turn, and hosted quite a party at Long Beach’s Federal Bar. Good times were had by all. Some of our friends indulged in way more fun than others, but that is beside the point ;).

Lastly, ISS Long Beach was a good opportunity for us to link up with old friends and make new ones with other printshops and product providers in the industry. Our friends from Keller, Printed Threads were there as were the T-Shirt Guys from Grapevine and Denver Printhouse, Barrel Maker Printing in Chicago, and Motion Textile from Sacramento. There’s plenty of work to go around in this industry and it’s fun to have friends and collegues that sharpen one another like these guys and gals do. We also met an ink distributor from the UK called MagnaColours. M&R, our press manufacturer was running with their stuff in their section. And we also got to connect with Shur-Loc, our mesh panel manufacturer and Douthitt, who built our exposure unit.

Everyone mentioned in this post are absolutely wonderful people and we’re so blessed to get to work with each and every one of them.

But without question, the best part of the whole trip– without getting too mishy-mushy–was getting to bring the team we brought to just get immersed and saturated in the show. Matt didn’t have to fly solo the whole time, we all got to share in the experiences and knowledge gleaned from those experiences. Every day after trade-showing as hard as possible, the seven would head to our hotel’s hot tub and download everything we saw and took note of onto one another. We like sharing our experiences. And we like hot tubs. And now that we’re all back home, we’re pumped to start putting in work and chasing after all the cool things we saw and learned. And maybe start thinking about some new toys to buy.

Hot Tub Meeting

As Operations Manager, Ryan has taken over a lot of the day to day operations of Trust and is working steadily to free up Matt’s time for innovation and growth. His white-collar position, however, has not made him any more serious or made his jokes any more work-appropriate.

Filed under: Events