The/Studio: Introduce yourself. Tell our readers a little bit about who you are!
Johnny: My name is Johnny Garcia and with my friends, I run an urban streetwear storefront called PRODUCE® located in downtown Corpus Christi, Texas. Everything in here is created, designed, or handmade by us. Our store also doubles as a full-service creative agency called PRODUCE® Design Team where we have assembled a team of creatives. Next door is PRODUCE® Gallery, our very own art gallery, where I also serve as head curator. I also started PRODUCE® PrintShop, which is a place artists and photographers can come and replicate their work, businesses can come get a flyer designed, printed, and distributed by our other branch, PRODUCE® Couriers, our fixed gear bicycle messenger service.
The/Studio: That’s awesome that you started all of this with your friends! What does your business do?
Johnny: PRODUCE® started off as an artist-run collective, where 6 friends gathered with an idea to produce art, music, and culture— all underneath one roof, in order to enhance our artistic community as a whole. We create and produce our own urban apparel, as well as work with businesses—doing logos, branding, and websites. We also pair with local artists, giving them a platform to showcase their talents in our gallery.
The/Studio: What have you learned since starting your organization or business?
Johnny: Over the past 5 years, I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how to balance the business side to compliment our already established artist identity. Our creative team is constantly producing new products and our artists are constantly producing new artwork. That is the fun part. We get excited when an idea goes from pencil and paper to a complete, realized product in our hands. The not so fun part was the realization that we had to make sales to pay the bills. We had to stop undervaluing our talents and products, and at the same time, not misrepresent our brand with sub-par releases.
The/Studio: What about your business are you most proud of?
Johnny: I’m most proud of the fact we are all enjoying our lives, as well as our work. We get to spend all day with our best friends, making impressive products, as well as brainstorming new ideas, producing music videos, organizing street festivals… I don’t even know where to stop! We have the funnest job on the planet!
The/Studio: That’s great that you enjoy and love what you do. What are some of the greatest challenges you face with your business?
Johnny: The greatest challenge is educating customers on what branding truly means. I am a firm believer in “brand integrity”, which means that no one is allowed to distort your brand identity in any way. Getting people educated about brand integrity is a challenge in itself. Small businesses should realize that a logo always needs to be the same, across any platform. My advice is to let the creative agency who created your brand help with that. If you need your logo on white background, black background, transparent background, just ask your agency! they created it and know how your brand needs to be portrayed!
The/Studio: I’m going to remember that! That’s great advice! Where do you see your business in 10 years?
Johnny: Hopefully PRODUCE® will expand to other areas in Texas— staring with our clothing store, and then the agency, film division, gallery, and the smaller supplemental services, such as the PrintShop and Couriers. We have so many ideas. Probably too many!
The/Studio: I believe, there is no such thing as too many ideas! What type of legacy do you want to leave?
Johnny: Our goal is to create long-lasting design impressions in our city. From city-wide community art projects, to a business logo that stands the test of time, to working with musical acts. I want PRODUCE® to be known as innovators of design, as well as purveyors of culture.
The/Studio: What is the story behind the custom product that you produced with The/Studio?
Johnny: Our lead designer, Aaron Ybarra has an amazing talent. We paired up with him and his own clothing label “KNOW FUTURE” for this collaboration. We ordered custom iron-on patches from The/Studio and pressed them onto snapback baseball caps. The patch says “I never went to art school” which could apply to all of us, but also the regular street artist.
The/Studio: I love that! Very witty! How are you going to use this custom product?
Johnny: We released the “Never Went To Art School” snapback yesterday, and are almost sold out. I guess we hit a home-run.
The/Studio: Congratulations! That doesn’t surprise me at all! Do you have any promotions you would like to offer our community?
Johnny: If you are starting a new business, you can contact us with your idea and we can design your identity for a great price.
The/Studio: Do you have any upcoming events that our community members can attend?
Johnny: On May 9th, 2015, PRODUCE® will be at WHAT’S GOOD Micro-Street Festival on Peoples Street in Downtown Corpus Christi. We will be having several musical acts, a live graffiti mural collaboration, a skate course, a sidewalk chalk zone, water gun fight, food trucks, and art vendors lining the streets. You should drop by from 2pm-midnight for the fun!