We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandy Flower and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandy, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
In 2001 for my 30th birthday, I purchased a small tabletop screen printing set-up and decided to teach myself how to print in my apartment kitchen. This was before YouTube tutorials so I just fumbled along making every mistake possible. After ruining hundreds of shirts I finally started getting the hang of it and started showing off my “frankenstein” tees, so friends dug them and wanted to come over and print their own. The first friend I invited over was my college buddy Mike Crivello. He came over one night and brought a belt to print on. Here I was barely able to print on t-shirts and he wants to print on a belt! Well after many late night sessions and intimate gatherings later a friend, Jennifer Brandon, convinced me to pry the screen printing gear out of my smokey apartment and print live for guests at her summer bbq in Silverlake … this was Summer 2005. I printed for over 10 hours that day and honestly had the worst time printing, mixing inks, cleaning screens and doing everything myself… but it was a hit. The next day Mike called me up and was so excited, sharing how cool it was to see me the center of attention during the party and how much everyone got into the live screen printing. I told him that I never want to do it ever again, but he insisted that we should start a limited-edition clothing line that had live print run parties. I was working full time as an Art Director for Sony Music and screen printing was just my private hobby so I didn’t really want to do it. Everyone said I should start my own t-shirt company but it never interested me. I held out for a few months and then eventually gave in when Mike wouldn’t stop asking. We called it HIT+RUN…we’re the “hit” of the party, and then before you know it, we “run” and its gone. Ultimately the clothing line went away and now we mostly do live screen printing for other companies. Screen printing is my passion; I love it and sharing the process with other people. I didn’t want to start my own business but my passion took over and I love what HIT+RUN has become. I’ve traveled all over the world and we’ve printed millions of custom t-shirts in the process. They say the secret of life is to “follow your bliss” but I believe your passion also has to serve others. We add art experiences to the world where you’d least likely find them, HIT+RUN brings art to the people and they love it!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started the concept known as live screen printing. Silk screening classes, public demonstrations and private workshops had existed in the past, but never in history has anyone done exactly what HIT+RUN does. Even since, many inspired imitators have come along, but no one in the world activates live screen printing on site better than we do. The methods that we involve each guest into participating in the printing process is unlike anything done before. We flipped live art on its head and helped cement live screen printing as a permanent modern fixture in merchandising, gifting, promotions and (a new term created in the early 2000’s) experiential marketing. We pulled the gorgeous art of screen printing out of the sweat shop and in front of the eyes of adoring art lovers, makers, hipsters, freaks, geeks, men, women children and everyone in between. Innovation owns the distinct quality of uniqueness because often there is nothing to base your path upon. Our path has been uphill for a very long time, it keeps us innovating even more. People were legitimately confused when they first saw HIT+RUN out at events…we still get questions of “what is this?”, but back in the beginning the biggest question was “why?”… which was hard to answer. except that it was just fun. Obviously how to monetize a new invention was a huge challenge, but we followed our passion, carved out a path and over time created an industry with demand all over the world. We’ve shared our love for screen printing with over a million people across the planet and inspired many all over the world with art. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to be honest & true to yourself and don’t be afraid to say “no”. Don’t get me wrong, in the corporate world you have to say “yes” quite a lot, but unless you have a strong identity, core values & solid boundaries, you will change, and often not for the good.Say yes as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to say no. Be an expert but don’t be arrogant. Share your knowledge, talk to strangers, smile, don’t hide your powers, be humble and make the world a better place. I taught myself how to screen print, some say got pretty good at it, built a nation-wide company from the ground up, traveled the world a couple times over, and am very proud of what we have established over the past 15 years. I’ve met some amazing people, talented artists, serious OGs and also single-handedly curated & art directed a record label (wrapping it up in 2021) with 99 awesome releases…go find ’em. The smiling faces we’ve seen make it all worth it. I know what I’ve done and it feels good.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well Los Angeles is a funny place because most visitors usually have a laundry list of places they want to check off their bucket list…..the Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach and nowadays weed dispensaries. None of that stuff really interests me, but sometimes its actually enjoyable to rediscover parts unknown in this big town…its always changing. Notorious Hollywood haunts like the CHATEAU MARMOT plus live music clubs on the Sunset Strip (WHISKY A GO GO, THE RAINBOW BAR & GRILL and nearby TROUBADOUR) are beyond legendary and all quite dear to my heart. I can’t really rave about LA’s museums, but the BROAD MUSEUM is great (and FREE!) even just the outside architecture of it and nearby WALT DISNEY HALL in downtown are a must. A chill drive up PCH to secret spots in MALIBU (beach) is fun (stop by MALIBU SEAFOOD for the freshest fish tacos), and getting out of town to JOSHUA TREE (desert) or ARROWHEAD LAKE (mountains) are not-too-distant day trips to fully see the scope of our diverse surrounding area. If you’re out in the desert, make sure to stop by art star Kime Buzzelli’s rad vintage shop THE END in Yucca Valley. PAPPY & HARRIET’s live music venue and restaurant in Pioneertown is close by too. Next to San Diego, LA has the best Mexican food in the universe, so a couple of my favorite taco spots are GUERRILLA TACOS & GUISADO’S,.. mandatory eating. You can find local star chef Wes Avila (founder of Guerrilla Tacos) at his new ANGRY EGRETTE DINETTE in Chinatown, not too far from PHILLIPPE’s, founding home of the French dip sandwich. Other great sandwich spots in LA are BAY CITIES ITALIAN DELI in Santa Monica (The Godmother!) and THE HEIGHTS in Lincoln Park (The Broadway!). PIZZANISTA has some great pizza …The Sicilian , White and Seitan Meats Jesus get me every time! I’ve been haunting WILD LIVING FOODS in downtown recently, their raw vegan food is just beyond yum. Legendary SWINGER’S disappeared for a bit during the pandemic, but this late-night spot is back and is always good for after hours grub. For vinyl record nerds, HIGH FIDELITY on West Adams has some serious finds and a great staff. (Shout out to Pay Ray!) Louie Ryan’s renovated TOWNHOUSE BAR and basement DEL MONTE SPEAKEASY are fun spots on the Westside…lots of history! THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY in San Marino and DESCANSO GARDENS in La Canada are two gorgeous nature retreats that would definitely be on my list to take a friend. Little jewels! And lastly THE SCUM DUNGEON (our secret skid row clubhouse) would obviously be on the itinerary, to stop and make some custom t-shirts!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve had many supportive folks in my life that I am eternally grateful to…the first was an English teacher in high school named Larry Minne who was the first to tell me I had something special. In college, I was mad skeptical of the teachers who seemed to be teaching graphic design from the 70’s and didn’t know what design in the brave new 90’s was really like. I had a teacher named Steven Abeyta who was a part time instructor who also was working freelance in the real world and encouraged me to focus on my passion (art & design in the music industry) and steered me in the direction for an internship at Sony Music. Doug Erb was the Art Director at Sony who hired me for that infamous internship, who along with Mary Maurer & Frank Harkins helped build confidence in my graphic design abilities. Tom Recchion was another early supporter, helping me feel strong and confident in my work. Mike C saw the future in my little hobby and together we built HIT+RUN.. one of my proudest life achievements. My Mom, Dad and two younger brothers have always been extremely supportive of my art. Mom & Dad bought my first screen printing set-up and set me off on this awesome journey. The HIT+RUN Crew, over 100 core past and present members have helped us get to this juncture in life, I couldn’t have done it without the Crew! My little dog Sneaky is the cutest pup in the world ! Love to Jovana.