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Industry

Leeds printer takes SXSW by storm

The print company that started with humble beginnings in a bedroom in Leeds has launched its US operation following a successful Crowdcube campaign.

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Charlotte and Luke Hodson, Randy Muniz, Sam Jarvis, Joseph Piedra and Dolly the dog at the site in Austin, Texas

Awesome Merchandise chose the SXSW (South by Southwest) festival in Austin, Texas to launch its brand into the US market, targeting the music, art and technology communities with its brand.

The company produced over 62,000 pieces of print and merchandise for British bands, promoters, graphic artists, illustrators and record labels attending the show to help them promote their work.

James Lyall, managing director of the company, comments: "SXSW is an incredible opportunity for the music, arts and tech communities in the UK to come to the US and show them what we are capable of.

"For us, to be able to help these people is a real buzz, as well as hard launching and activating our brand in the US too.

“A lot of these customers have also been long-term customers of ours in the UK, so to be able to seamlessly help in the US market makes total sense for us and them. Our team in the US and UK have been fantastic, so it’s a credit to them for getting everything together for the festival & all our customers."

The SXSW festivals combine music, art and technology

Awesome was first launched in 2005 and has since grown to over 100 members of staff at its Leeds site, turning over £7m in 2018 and producing over 12 million items from its factory last year.

Luke and Charlotte Hodson co-founded the company and raised over £650,000 on a crowdfunding page last year to support the move into the US market.

Print Monthly interviewed Luke Hodson last year before the US operation opened about the kind of kit the company would like to have at its new site.

He comments: “In the US we will be using primarily Roq screen printing presses, this is new for us, we have one machine in the UK but primarily run a different brand."

At its Texas site, Awesome is currently operating two Roq presses, a Roqtunnel Dryer, Roqfold and Roqpack inline, an Epson Surecolor SC80600 and a Summa S2 T160 vinyl cutter. 

The firm also took active roles with other events and sponsored showcases at venues including the British Music Embassy, Mohawk, Cheer Up Charlies and gig poster show Flatstock. 

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