When Cal Poly business students Lance Brandenberg and Ryan Reyes started screen printing, it was only a weekend hobby. However, this weekend hobby has now blossomed into their own screen printing shop in San Luis Obispo called Mediums.
“Ryan and I did it just for fun and never thought long term,” Brandenberg said. “The more we started doing it, we really got into the industry and learned a lot of things.”
Brandenberg, 22, and Reyes, 22, will be graduating from Cal Poly in June. They also share ownership with Cal Poly graduate Matt Johnson, 23, and UC Santa Barbara graduate Spencer Kellogg, 23.
Mediums, which is located off Broad Street on Capitolio Way, does custom screen printing on promotional products like T-shirts, hats, shot glasses and banners.
Brandenberg said that while Cal Poly allowed him to learn the theoretical aspects of owning a business, it wasn’t until he started his own company that he realized it was an entirely different world.
“In the beginning I felt that Cal Poly hadn’t prepared me at all – I was struggling and learning along the way. But the more we developed we get with Mediums, the more I am able to apply what I learned in school,” he said.
Juggling college classes and starting a business is not always easy as the team discovered.
“It was crazy – we worked a lot of weekends. We joke around here that the neat part about owning your own business is that you know you will have to work half the day, but it doesn’t matter which half you work,” Brandenberg said.
However, after many hours in the office, Reyes said that seeing results is gratifying.
“You don’t see how tough it is until you sit back and realize how long it took to get to the point you’re at now,” Reyes said. “On the bright side, I think once you realize that you have the foresight to look ahead to future goals.”
Brandenberg credits much of Mediums’ success to the San Luis Obispo community.
“San Luis is an amazing place to start a business. We had so much support through the Chamber of Commerce,” he said. “I was blown away when we started meeting people in the local community and seeing how they were willing to go out of their way to help us.”
For other Cal Poly students who are interested in starting a business, Reyes and Brandenberg said that most importantly, “you have to really want to do it” and that though obstacles and frustrations are part of the game, once you get through them, you will be on your way.
The two also said that they will always feel connected to Cal Poly and the students who go there.
“If you’re a Cal Poly student we will deal with you,” Brandenberg said. “We give all Cal Poly students 15 percent off – I like dealing with Cal Poly kids because we can relate to them and I think we understand what they are looking for.”
Reyes said he knows that a lot of work still lies ahead, but the future does not look as daunting as it did when Mediums first started.
“I’m just happy I found a way to stay in the city I went to school in. I love the city and I wasn’t ready to leave,” Reyes said.