With 1.7 million Instagram followers and one of the strongest brands around, there’s no doubt that Black Rifle Coffee Company resonates. So there’s always been an opportunity to offer clever BRCC branded merch.
Thanks to Tyler Adams, BRCC’s in-house printing production manager, that merch is everywhere you look. While coffee remains the focus, there’s a universe of products backing their operations – from blankets to hoodies to custom mugs. We were super fortunate to get Tyler to sit down and talk shop.
Printavo has been at the heart of the printing operation from the beginning. “It’s fun to go back and look at those first Printavo invoices and see how things have changed,” Tyler told us.
While BRCC has grown by leaps and bounds, Printavo allowed Tyler and his team the flexibility to scale their operation. From custom statuses to their general workflow, everything has changed – without changing shop management software.
“It’s very different from those initial orders,” he told us. “It was not the most efficient way to do things. Now we’re doing 5,000 shirts instead of 80 shirts.”
Bringing printing in-house
Black Rifle Coffee Company brought merchandising in-house…and within a couple years outgrew its entire print shop. A deep roster of community events for veterans and military spouses lets the company contribute merchandise that a normal operation would consider waste. Started in 2014 in a garage, the veteran-owned company decided to open a print shop in 2017 in Salt Lake City. By 2021, they’ve outgrown their shop with two automatic presses.
“Once we brought it in-house, it took off.”
BRCC offers thousands of SKUs and has a forecast and demand planning team. “They review the data constantly and look into the lifecycle of items,” which lets them add more items than they’ve ever had. “Throw it at the wall and see what sticks.”
Before that team was in place, they were limited by the number of items they could offer at one time. Now they can simply try new designs and ideas and see how they perform, adjusting inventory on the fly.
Printing’s a hard business
So what’s in the shop? They have two automatic presses, a fully automated packaging line, and 27 employees (including the embroidery team). Tyler knew nothing about printing when he walked into BRCC – “it’s one of the best parts about this place, and I got super excited about the science of printing.” A self-described science nerd, Tyler latched onto an early employee that knew the ropes.
“The learning curve was pretty much straight up, and scheduling the amount of jobs we need to get done is a big challenge. Just keep moving forward.”
Quality control at an operation like BRCC is a massive effort. “They scan every piece for quality, run the machine, and package things in the quantities we need,” Tyler said. They’re a physical team with an eye for detail.
But the current scale isn’t enough: they’re investing in a larger scale operation. “In a year, we’ll have more presses, more dryers, a different darkroom, and two more packaging lines. It will look quite different,” he told us.