News and Press Releases
LOS ANGELES, April 8, 2011 -- For eight years, Carmen Rad successfully operated her custom apparel and embroidery business, serving such customers as JC Penney and Universal Studios. But in 2001, it became clear to Rad that the garment industry was changing with growing competition from China and Nicaragua.
4/8/2011 9:15 AM
So Rad did what few business owners have the foresight and wherewithal to do -- she switched gears and transitioned to a different industry -- large format digital printing.
Today, her firm, CR&A Custom, Inc., is a large digital print production and visual display company that produces and installs billboards, banners, vehicle and building wraps, sports and stadium signage, exhibit booths, window graphics, and more.
"I wanted to shift the business to something that could only be manufactured in the U.S. -- no one's going to send a banner overseas," says the Puerto Rican-born Rad, whose background is in fashion marketing and design. The transition, which took nearly two years, went smoothly since "we understood deadlines, colors, and integrity of brands," she adds.
The Southern California Minority Business Development Council (SCMBDC)-certified company and its nearly 30 employees operate out of a 24,000-square-foot building in Los Angeles and have served many well-known customers. These include the NBA, Nike, Union Bank, Coors, X-Box and Coke. CR&A works with clients in a number of ways, from coming up with design concepts, redesigning clients' artwork to directly printing from clients' files.
Everything CR&A prints is on a large scale, with billboards running 14'x48' and some signage as large as 500'x20.' Among its more unique projects: turning Disneyland's monorail ride into a "Finding Nemo" submarine and using large-scale pillars and banners to create a traveling soccer "pit" for Nike.
The company has received numerous honors for its innovative work, including the "Rising Star" award by the National Association of Women Business Owners and SBA and Minority Business Enterprise's "Green Firm of the Year" award for the use of environmentally friendly UV inks.
Rad says minority business certification through the council has been a key part of CR&A's success. "I wouldn't have had the opportunities to meet with prospective clients without certification," she explains, adding the company won contracts with Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association following referrals by the council.
She notes, however, that certification can take her company so far. "I have to perform and exceed expectations. I can't be good -- I have to be great and prove my value."
Carmen Rad on....
Success. "Many of our successes are due to the team we have here...I'm just the person who happens to be the founder. Without my husband, who's my business partner, and others, we wouldn't have grown to this level."
Minority business certification. "Certification alone won't work for you -- you need to be an active member of the council, participate in networking events, and get involved."
Building a business. "If you don't have a good foundation or put in the time, you'll plateau and meet capacity early. You need to reevaluate your business every three years and figure out the bottlenecks. Sometimes you need to step back and look at what you've done...you may find you're in the wrong field."
Southern California Minority Business Development Council is the premiere organization
strengthening economic ties between large, public-, private- and foreign-owned corporations and minority men- and women-owned business enterprises. As the region’s leading minority business advocacy organization, SCMBDC represents the interests of more than 600,000 minority businesses in its 13-county service area in Southern California. The council offers nationally recognized certification to minority-owned businesses, strategic networking between corporate members and certified firms, and education, information and skills development to help minority businesses enhance their capacity. Headquartered in Los Angeles and one of 37 regional councils in the National Minority Supplier Development Council network, SCMBDC has made a positive impact in the minority business community since its founding in 1975. For more information, visit www.scmbdc.org.
# # #
Vicki Cho Estrada
Cho Estrada Communications
News Feed Lists