VIVAS Inc. specializes in end-to-end visual communication and COVID-19 solutions, including their creation, fabrication and installation. The company proudly provides interior graphics and event signage for leading brands including Disney, Instacart, Uber, Lyft and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). What started as a two (2) man operation ten (10) years ago is now a thriving family-owned and operated business located in San Francisco’s Bayview District.
How did your business get its start?
I immigrated to the United States from Peru in July 2006. Thankfully I had several friends in California, and some had extensive experience in the printing industry. This led to my first job with Fast Imaging. The company bought a large format printer for banners and hired someone to operate it. That person became both my mentor and inspiration. Fast Forward to December 2010, when I launched Vivas Banners & Print (now simply VIVAS Inc.) from my two (2) bedroom Alameda apartment. I was a printing visionary with an original idea but funding options didn’t match the size of my vision at that time. The only option was to start an online printing company and that’s precisely what we did with a specialty in oversized printing.
What is the story behind its creation?
We were a true family venture at launch. I served as a broker reselling other firms printing solutions. This enabled me to keep costs low while we grew the company. Bold decisions were made at that stage which were frightening at the time but proved to be the right call over the long term. Our key decision was to put our entire focus on tech companies and name brands. We declined to take any traditional retail clients even though those types of projects would generate substantial revenue. From the start to the present we treated wall graphics as a masterpiece, which always ensured that we produced quality work with high-quality service. Declining retail customers for tech clients ultimately gave us the resources for an office, equipment and staff.
What are some projects that your organization has been a part of here in San Francisco?
The San Francisco Marathon called us on July 26, 2012, just two (2) calendar days before the Sunday, July 29th race. It needed last-minute race banners. My answer was of course yes! We then engaged in a printing marathon of our own, working non-stop from Thursday to Saturday to produce all the required banners and signage. This project represented our first big sale and enabled me to open our first location in San Francisco’s Richmond District. That cozy shop was 400 square feet. It only had room for one person, one printer, one desk and one 4×6 production table.
Our 2012 success with the San Francisco Marathon led to preferred vendor status in 2013. VIVAS produced 600 signs for the race which was a significantly large job for us. This was followed by yet another small, last-minute job from Lucasfilm/Disney. Lucasfilm required one wall graphic at their headquarters in San Francisco’s Presidio. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was a test to see how we could deliver. Disney was happy with the results and engaged us for a massive six (6) month project to install interior graphics from Star Wars and other legendary George Lucas productions throughout their Presidio office. This project set us on the path of our expertise which is interior office graphics and event signage.
We’ve done projects for great San Francisco companies including Airbnb, Salesforce, Instacart, Square, VISA, Uber and the Giants.
What makes you different in terms of your culture, products, services, inception, etc.?
For me, it’s always been about identifying opportunities and providing a personal touch with our service. Rush jobs for high-demand clients were how we started. San Francisco’s tech boom began shortly after we launched. These companies didn’t have the time to visit our shop to place their orders and pick up their jobs. We introduced delivery and shipping to meet this need. Our slogan for the business became online – on time and we grew rapidly. Online oversize printing options were not prevalent during this period. This was another opportunity that we seized and it’s been critical to our growth.
Color proofs are a standard practice in the printing industry, however, it is a major expense both in time and money for oversize printers like VIVAS. Traditionally, printers provide customers with a color proof survey which is a 100% scale representation of a wall graphic’s final version. Color proofs make sense for business cards, but not large interior graphics. We modified this process by asking clients for specific areas of interior graphics they would absolutely need to see prior to proceeding to final print. Generating a color proof is expensive and time consuming which wasn’t aligned with our online on time approach. It all came down to trust which is what I had to focus on early in our history and even more so today. Developing trust in our client relationships enables us to ultimately and consistently deliver what we want, the WOW factor.
How can your business help other businesses as well as people in their everyday lives?
Right now our focus is on helping the Bay Area business community successfully and safely reopen following the COVD-19 crisis. We thankfully made the right investments over the years and have the equipment necessary to make the personal protective equipment (PPE) through our COVID-19 Virus Protection Signature Print + PPE Solutions that everyone needs. Beyond that, we’ve been supporting the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area. One of my sons has Down Syndrome, so there is a very personal connection for me in supporting this cause.
To learn more about VIVAS Inc., please contact Luis Vivas, Founder – Project Manager at email@example.com