Here at Blue Collar, we merchandise for a diverse list of people from the darkest death metal bands to high-fashion boutiques. Weâ€™ve screen printed on everything from t-shirts, hoodies and panties to vinyl records and even slip mats. Blue Collarâ€™s talented staff is also capable of creating eye-catching buttons, while printing on small accessories like hats, belts and ties is never a problem. We can also handle huge orders through our website without forgetting the small details that helps make our company stand out like an Isis saw blade 12â€ť in a used record bin. It breaks down like this. Even though we just moved into a warehouse that has a press for every job; there was a time – about five years ago in fact – that Blue Collar was a one man show in a tiny basement workroom.
It all started when Sean from Coalesce and Robbie, Ryan and Matt from The Get Up Kids, two of the most respected bands from the Midwest, decided they were tired of dealing with merch companies that did not respect them as customers and Punks with presses in their garages that couldnâ€™t keep a reliable schedule or quality standard. Since both of these innovative bands had honed their musical chops in a DIY scene, they got together, decided to do things their way, and Blue Collar was born.
At first, Blue Collar was Sean, our company President, printing orders by hand on an old-fashioned screen printing press. The first customers were The Get Up Kids and Coalesce, but as more and more people started to find out about the business the busier things got. Soon, Sean had hired some help, acquired some more equipment, and by 2002 Blue Collar had found themselves with 5+ employees occupying 4,000 square feet Eudora, Kansas.
By this time, Blue Collar was printing merch for several well-known acts such as Lucero, Dashboard Confessional, Motion City Soundtrack, and for independent record labels such as Hydra Head, Doghouse, and Vagrant. Even though Blue Collar was hectic there was always enough time to print for a local band, organization, or school club. In December of 2002 Blue Collar expanded to the web, by creating a dynamic online distro, and offering clients access to our detailed workmanship and an awesome location that literally puts us in the middle of everything.
And Blue Collar just keeps growing. In four years the press has had to upgrade into a larger building, this time a spacious warehouse just east of the shops and music venues of Downtown Lawrence. And, because everyone who works at Blue Collar is either a musician, or loves music, screen printing for bands like Isis, Pelican, Lucky Boys Confusion and The Cardigans remains an important part of what we do here at the press. In fact, bands have been known to crash on our office floors after they play shows at local clubs.
This just goes to show that, while weâ€™re no longer in a basement, some things never change. Blue Collar is still owned by the same musicians who began it back in the day.