I thought I could do everything myself. But Ben kept insisting I hire some help. Up until that point, I was still doing all the graphics, designing the entirety of apparel, even building the website. In 2007, after four years, I finally hired a graphic designer to assist me, his name was Benjie Escobar and in the 6 years since, he designed the bulk of our graphics and went on to hire and manage an art department of his own. In the end, teacher became student, and I probably learned more from him than the other way around. It took me years to figure it out, but the secret to a successful business is not only getting some assistance, but surrounding yourself with individuals who are better at their job than you could ever be.
Thank you Benjie for your years of contribution to this project. For the thousands of t-shirt designs and illustrations, for being a leader in the office, and for making us feel so small with your sharp-tongued insults.
Benjie moves on to bigger, brighter, and better things now, pursuing his own projects that you should be hearing about soon. You can still keep up with him in the meantime by following his site HERE or his Instagram HERE.
I will close by sharing some of my favorite iChat conversations with Benjie over the past 6 years. Weird, he was a master in all areas of work and life, except tragically flawed with instant messages. It was like Shaq and his free throws: