PRINTING United Alliance is grateful to serve its members who make such significant impacts on the printing industry. Through our membership spotlights, we want to continue to recognize our members, and help our community get to know their peers professionally and personally. This spotlight features a Q&A with Kristin Lanzarone-Scribner, who started WrapStar Pro eight years ago, and is part of the Alliance's volunteer leadership.
PRINTING United Alliance: What services does WrapStar Pro provide?
Lanzarone-Scribner: We are a full installation and wide-format print shop for vehicle wraps, signs & graphics, wall wraps, and banners. We have two Roland XC540 SolJet Pro printers and are currently rebuilding a third one to add to the team.
We provide color management and design services and promotional products. We label ourselves as the 'brand marketing specialist & fleet wrap specialist.' We have a solid eye for our clients' branding needs as well as keeping the brand consistent across the board, whether it's color consistency or logo placement from vehicle to vehicle. Occasionally, with my interior design degree, we will act as an interior designer for some clients.
Coming Dec. 2021, we will be adding in-house embroidery services for our clients. Our eight-head Barudan machine and single-head proofing machine will be arriving any day. We have too many clients that want to keep everything at one location, and embroidery services is our next most requested service.
How did you become interested in graphic installation/production?
Before WrapStar Pro, I had a media marketing business in motorsports where I was [managing multiple tasks including] designing and managing websites for drivers, teams, race tracks, and driver development teams. Along with websites, I was designing their sponsorship proposal packets, hero cards (autograph cards), and business cards, which led to designing their race car wraps.
After assisting my graphics guy on the printing production and installation of the first few wraps I designed, I knew at that moment I belonged in the vehicle wrap industry. I'm a person who likes to work with my hands and build things, and I'm forever learning how to fix things ("How It's Made" used to be my favorite show). After the second wrap I assisted with, I gave away my media business to a fellow competitor for no cost, just to send me referrals in return. The majority of my media clients hopped on board to have me do all of their wraps. At that time, I quickly became the leading wrap company on the west coast for asphalt circle track and road course racers. It was jokingly said that my wraps were faster than the others!
I am 100% self-taught in this industry. I went to school to be a police officer, went through the police academy and have a degree in criminal justice and interior design. I was fluent in Adobe Photoshop, learning my way through while I had my media business. Transitioning to wraps, I had no idea what vectors were. I then taught myself to be fluent in CorelDraw. For the installation side, I barely knew anything, but motorsports taught me a lot to learn how vinyl works. When I started, I had no idea what the difference was between cast & calendered vinyl. I was plotting out sign vinyl and pushing the vinyl beyond its limits on complex curves. That alone taught me how to finesse vinyl. With each race car I wrapped, I learned new techniques on how to make my job easier.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment and what has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?
Being the owner/operator I am to this day has been both an accomplishment and challenge. I have one installer that is still training and isn't on his own yet. This still adds additional work to assist and train him every day. I do it all here: sales, design, print, production, installation, answering my phone, and walk ins — all while being a single mom to my son, Veloce, and attending to his needs.
To be honest, I don't know how I do it all except that I don't stress about it; I take it one day at a time. If something isn't done on time, there is always tomorrow. It really comes down to communicating with your clients, and I am a big believer in doing the job right the first time!
How has WrapStar Pro been impacted/adjusted due to COVID-19?
COVID-19 did wonders for my business. I'm extremely grateful that I tripled my sales in 2020. The PPE funding gave business owners the opportunity to allocate those funds to advertising, which vehicle wraps fell into that category, along with purchasing new fleet vehicles. With the shortage of commercial vehicles last year, clients were buying colored vehicles and we were doing full wraps. Those who received the stimulus checks were spending it on automotive customizing like hood wraps, roof wraps, and chrome deletes.
During the pandemic, I helped local restaurants take advantage of the closed indoor dinning mandate by remodeling and rebranding their image. I volunteered my interior design and graphic design knowledge, and utilized my expertise in remodels at no charge to the restaurant owners. I would only charge the owners cost of materials and donated my labor hours in general contracting. This also included designing and building COVID booth dividers inside the restaurant.
What hobbies/interests do you enjoy outside of your career?
Outside of business, I love to be adventurous. I work out, hike, backpack, wake surf, play co-ed soccer, ocean fish, and travel. I help my son train for soccer, we play Legos, camp, and I take him to Tahoe.
I just completed an adventure off my bucket list, which was to climb the cables of Half Dome at Yosemite. I backpacked in, climbed Half Dome, and backpacked out.
What key advice would you offer to those entering or starting a business in the installation space?
Find as many individuals within the industry to be your mentors. Get training and get as many certifications as you can get. Get involved within the industry! We need anyone and everyone. I am always open to be anyone's mentor or business coach.
I strive for growth within the wrap printing business, and I strive for industry growth. I'm active on three boards/committees: PRINTING United Alliance's Women in Print Alliance and PDAA Installers Committee, [along with recently becoming a] Big Picture Editorial Advisory Board member, where I volunteer my time with resources, participating on panel discussions, and supporting each community at trade shows and events.
Being on three committees, I've built a reputation within the industry to become an official trainer for the PDAA Installers network, partnering with Arlon Graphics. I want to see the industry grow, whether it's in wide-format printing, in the graphic design departments, or on the finishing side of installations. With that being said, I have plans to launch a "grassroots" level training program to help bring new installers and potential wide-format printing entrepreneurs into the industry. The goal of the training program is to develop quality installers from the beginning and to keep bad habits at bay.
Based on your experience in a predominantly male industry, what advice would you share with your female peers?
Being a female in the wide-format printing and application industry, I have been shown a level of support, respect, and recognition. Because there has been such a positive acceptance within the industry, I call it "bro-culture" — a male-dominated community of individuals linked by a common trade. I value, respect, and look up to many male individuals within the industry, some I call my "bros." This is how I stay motivated to challenge myself and continue to grow every day, because I too can do the same. What I have witnessed is that the industry advocates [for] and supports females; there's a substantial amount of respect and recognition.
Outside of work, females carry those extra roles of being moms and managing their families. The duty of being a mom adds another level of responsibility alongside their careers. (Don't get me started on how the pandemic added levels of frustration and some crazy challenges managing everything.) Juggling responsibilities all while still being able to perform the duties is where the level of respect comes in, and I am thankful that our industry accepts and respects us females.
Why are PDAA and other industry trainings/certifications important for you and your business?
Training is extremely important whether it's for application or for printing. The industry is forever changing, and new technology is always forming. We as individuals or shops need to stay on top of the industry as well as be able to perform and produce a quality product. Proper tools are key to help you accomplish the end result. Tools are another evolving item that is crucial to stay up to date with, whether it's a new X-Rite gadget for color management or Yellotools for application. I encourage all installers to go out and get the training and as many certifications they can get.