Luis Vivas, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based VIVAS Inc., emigrated from Peru in 2006. He started his printing business in 2012 from his apartment with a laptop. Today, he and his seven employees work in a 3,000-square-foot facility, serving A-list clients like Lucasfilm (creators of the legendary Star Wars), Facebook, Nike, Nissan, Sephora, and Google.
When he began his business, Vivas advertised banners delivered “online and on time.” There was just one problem—he didn’t have a printer. “Regardless, I began walking the streets of San Francisco handing out flyers to promote my startup,” says Vivas.
His first job came a few days later when the San Francisco Marathon organizers asked if he could print 20 banners by the end of the week. Vivas called upon a friend who owned a wide-format digital printer, and they got to work. They ended up producing a total of 200 banners for the event on time.
“With that job done, I went to a lender to get money to invest in my business,” Vivas recalls.
In 2015, Vivas received a job request from what would turn out to be a significant client.
“I never expected to be contacted by a company as big as Lucasfilm, but that’s exactly what happened,” he says. “I used the down payment on that job to buy my very first Roland DG printer/cutter. I got a feel for the quality and reliability of Roland DG’s products at a trade show in Las Vegas, and I knew that machine was exactly what we needed to meet the demands of a client like Lucasfilm.”
Following that job, business increased rapidly for Vivas. By consistently delivering outstanding work, he grew his company by more than 100% annually each of the next three years, and in 2019, a growth of 200% over the prior year.
To handle the growing workload, Vivas brought in three more Roland DG inkjets—a TrueVIS VG-640 printer/cutter, a VersaUV LEJ-640 hybrid printer, and most recently, a TrueVIS VG2-640. These machines have enabled the company to expand its offerings to include rigid signage, vehicle wraps, window and wall graphics, floor graphics, and more.
Vivas’s company continued to experience substantial growth into early 2020, but COVID-19 changed things dramatically. Vivas knew he had to adapt quickly.
“While we continued to receive requests from our core customers, we had to make up for an initial drop in new business,” Vivas points out. “So we began producing social distancing and safety signage, printed PPE, and customized acrylic shields for retail and office environments. Now, we have a dedicated section on our website where we offer all these services, free templates, even Hexis antimicrobial film.”
Vivas credits his success to his printers’ performance and the wide color gamut and image quality they produce.
Despite the hardships brought on by the pandemic, Vivas is quick to count his blessings.
“We’re lucky to be able to remain open and retain all our employees. Now, we have the opportunity to help others.”