All of us bear in mind the place we had been slightly over three years in the past, once we heard the information that every one our gigs had been cancelled and nearly all of our work had dried up. A few of us went out of the trade to discover a completely different job as an ‘important employee’, others hung round and took what little work was left. A few of us received JobKeeper and had been fortunate sufficient to stay off financial savings till all of it blew over. A handful of individuals even retired.

A couple of folks had been courageous sufficient to have a crack at beginning a enterprise. Statistics will inform us that 9 out of each 10 companies will fail of their first 12 months, a reasonably harrowing determine by itself. Compounded with the lockdowns and uncertainty, early 2020 didn’t look like essentially the most opportune time to be beginning a enterprise.

Karen Skillen began out within the trade as a followspot operator in 2007. Her first gig was Lionel Richie. Having labored within the trade nearly solely up till Covid hit, she, like the remainder of us, was out of labor.

In response, she determined to create her personal job. She had a number of T-shirts printed to promote on-line, which proved to be an instantaneous success. After spending a number of months studying and researching printers (Covid left many people with spare hours) she spent up and began a T-shirt printing enterprise in a 3m x 2.8m storage unit in Kennards at Moore Park. Kolour by Kaz was born.

Though a majority of the leisure trade was shut down, Karen’s first T-shirt printing contract was with Marvel for the crew shirts on the movie set of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Printing for this started on the day the primary printer was put in. A slew of different contracts for film crew T-shirts would observe and up to now have included Thor, Mad Max, and Planet of the Apes.


Inside a month the storage unit had been outgrown and an even bigger premises was subsequently sought out and rented. It was a shopfront retailer on Liverpool Avenue in Darlinghurst, Sydney. This meant public entry and allowed folks to stroll in off the road. The store would stay there for about two years. This has additionally been outgrown by the enterprise and late final 12 months, the transfer was made to Oxford Avenue.

Since shifting to Oxford Avenue, enterprise has improved immensely but once more. That is due partially to the placement which has offered higher road frontage, publicity, visibility and a rise in foot visitors. Enterprise has continued to enhance, primarily via phrase of mouth. As many purchases are made on the spot by passers-by, location and visibility have confirmed to be key.

To go together with shifting to a extra fascinating location, printing gear has been upgraded too. The upgrades have greater than doubled printing capability. At this stage, the shop at present owns Sublimation, DTG and DTF printers, which covers an intensive vary of printing.

Sublimation printing (dye sublimation) is a course of that first prints textual content or pictures onto particular switch paper, then transfers that from the paper to a different materials (usually polyester or a polyester combine). The ink is then heated till it disintegrates (sublimates) into the material.

DTG Printing (Direct-to-Garment printing), often known as digital printing, has solely been round for about 20 years. In that quick period of time, nevertheless, this printing method has revolutionised the style world in ways in which no one anticipated.

DTF Printing (Direct-to-Movie) means that you can print a design on a movie and switch it on to the supposed floor, comparable to cloth. The important thing motive why DTF is gaining prominence is the liberty it offers you to decide on nearly any floor for printing.

Today Karen runs the store 9-5 and can tackle further followspot work outdoors of hours. She now employs three folks on an informal foundation. Kolour by Kaz specialises in customized prints, with no minimal print requirement. Single customized prints, the place you herald your personal design, might be finished whilst you wait. These days, the store can print on absolutely anything, together with and never restricted to: T-shirts, hoodies, espresso mugs, cushion covers, pillowcases, tea towels, drink bottles, identify tags, Xmas decorations, baggage and coasters.

“Having the leisure Trade background has been extraordinarily useful with my enterprise proper from the beginning, and getting film contracts is a large bonus,” says Karen. “I’ve additionally finished print jobs for bands and company occasions and the assist has been wonderful from trade colleagues.”

Whereas nonetheless very energetic within the trade, Karen has no plans on scaling again or slowing down Kolour By Kaz. The enterprise has grown immensely and continues to take action. The longer term seems brilliant and busy, she has just lately landed a young to produce merchandise for Sydney World Satisfaction.


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