Eric and his wife Gilaine moved from Mexico City to America looking for new opportunities and a better quality of life for their family. After only six months, Eric found himself unemployed after being laid off from the job that brought him to the US. Despite having a long work history with companies such as Microsoft, 3M and Time, he struggled to find work and took it as an opportunity to start his own business.
In October 2012, Eric and Gilaine started Llama Ink, a home-based digital printing company offering custom prints on any type of fabric. With an enormous database of fun and innovative graphics, Llama Ink offers hundreds of pre-made custom design options for t-shirts, hoodies and tote bags. The company’s vision is to dress people with innovative products made in the USA, allowing them to express themselves in a fun and creative way, while supporting the local economy.
Lacking the capital needed to get their company fully operational, the couple sought help from Accion San Diego, a local microlender. Despite having no credit history, Eric was able to secure a $5,000 Kiva loan to be used to purchase equipment and invest in marketing and inventory.
What Eric and Gilaine love most about their new venture is that it allows them to express their creativity, while working from home with their children. They hope to grow their business to the point where they can create new jobs, helping others who are where they once were. They also would like to give back to their community by donating a shirt for every shirt sold.