Excerpt from How HS Grafik Print Started
HS Grafik Print started out like any other mom-and-pop operation: at home or in the backyard. Homer and Sol started out with very little working capital, so small that they had to wait for their respective monthly salaries to buy raw materials and supplies before they can start on a project. On paper, they used Oscar's accounting firm as their first business address – and business phone, to which Sol's former mentor and boss agreed upon.
Why did you use Oscar's address and office phone for HS Grafik Print?
Sol (S): Para kapag may client na tumawag, may sasagot, which is ako nga because I worked there. E di parang ang laki-laki na kaagad ng HS Grafik Print kasi may secretary na. May blessing yan ng boss ko.
Their very first client was an automotive aircon manufacturer which was then called Nippondenso. They started producing custom-designed stickers using the conventional process of silk screen printing.
When Oscar left for the U.S., Sol inherited some of his accounting firm's clients, one of which was the Philippine Society of Anesthesiologist (PSA).
It was then when the couple decided to focus on their small but growing operations while Sol continued to work as an accountant of PSA to continue her accountancy practice.
S: Pareho kami ni Homer na employed that time. Pero pinili namin na mag-focus sa business. Si Homer nag-resign na sa Intergraphics while I continued my accounting profession by providing the accounting needs of some clients that Oscar left me.
The mom-and-pop operations continued. From their first rented apartment in Project 4, Quezon City, the small family transferred to their first, privately owned home in Cainta, Rizal, bringing with them the small business.
Unlike some small businesses, the long list of clients came first before the fleet of printing equipment. In fact, HS Grafik Print operated for a long time without their own printing machines. From 1983 to 2006, Homer and Sol acted as the “middle men” or “jobbers” between clients (both local and international) and printing suppliers who have their own equipment.
S: Hindi kami marunong mag-computer ni Homer noon. Pero nagtiyaga kami na pindot ng pindot. Hindi namin kayang bumili ng computer books. Ang ginawa namin nagpa-photo copy kami ng libro ng kaibigan namin. Yun ang ginamit namin para matuto ng CorelDRAW, a design software.
Homer (H): Mayroon din kaming mga suppliers na naging mabubuting kaibigan, isa na dyan si Mang Rene, owner of Emerald Commercial. Isa kami sa mga unang-unang customers niya. Sa kanya kami bumibili ng mga paper materials.
But unlike other “jobbers,” HS Grafik Print used the latest in computer design technology to produce top quality, camera-ready materials. This dedication to the back-of-house printing process made them one of the most sought-after jobbers in the local printing industry. It also helped the business grow their list of clients, which soon included other medical societies, retail brands, automotive companies and schools.
H: Noong una, tinuturuan ko lang si Sol kung paano gumawa ng quotation for a printing job or production. Tapos nang natuto siya, mayroon pala siyang mga shortcuts na mas madaling intindihin.