After official uniform changes last year, Francesca Reinisch ’09 instated her own reforms to the school uniform with entrepreneurial spirit. In February, Reinisch, along with friends Daniel Tator, Lucas Lappe, and Rafe Goldberg, started Art Haus Printing: a silk screening t-shirt company.
The company caters to Marlborough students through its line of self-produced “Marlborough legal” polos. With small designs including a rising sun, a tree, and a boy and girl holding hands, just above the pocket, the polos adhere to the school’s uniform policy of being able to be covered with the palm of a hand.
Ella ’13 purchased two polos at a back-to-school t-shirt sale that Reinisch hosted at her house in early September.
“It’s nice to have some freedom in what you wear on your polo. Our uniform is pretty limited, so the designs become a way to differentiate yourself from other students,” Ella said.
Nicole ’11 said that she was attracted to Art Haus’ “basic, classical and versatile designs” because they weren’t from a store brand.
“The shirts are so appealing because they were made for Marlborough girls especially,” said Natalie ’14. “They are custom-made and so wearable.”
One of the reasons the polos, burnout t-shirts, tank tops, and v-neck shirts are popular with Hancock Park teens and other Los Angeles students is because they are “local designs, for local kids, by local kids,” Reinisch said.
Art Haus promoted its designs and sold shirts at $2 shows: backyard concerts organized and attended by many students from Buckley, Oakwood, Marlborough, Crossroads, Wildwood, and Campbell Hall.
“Our mission is to make shirts and have fun, while making art that we love and are passionate about,” Reinisch said. “We aim to make shirts for people like us.”
According to Reinisch, one of the goals of the company is to create clothing that is safe for the environment by using non-toxic water based inks instead of plastisol. The company began as just an idea cooked up one night as a kind of “joke,” while hanging out in Lappe’s basement, which the team named “the laboratory.”
Reinisch said she wanted to start a business making use of this funky lair. The team invested in a silkscreening station, and entered the business world. They obtained a wholesale and resale shirt license, and decided to print their designs on American Apparel and Alternative Apparel clothing. Reinisch said she has run into problems with Art Haus, such as taking on orders too large to handle, and in the process she has learned that it is necessary to have an open dialogue with clients.
“The whole process has definitely been a learning experience. We didn’t expect it or set goals for ourselves at first,” Reinisch said.
Customers can purchase shirts online with a credit card, and Marlborough students receive discounts if they buy multiple polos at once. Reinisch said she will continue Art Haus while she attends Oberlin College. The team is currently working on designs for thefmly.com, an indie music blog.
Visit www.arthausprinting.com to view and purchase designs.