Ryly Sann says his passion for creative problem solving and aim for excellence led him to reevaluate his career last June when the coronavirus pandemic was starting to wane.
“At that time, I took a step back and got into screen printing,” Sann said. “But after about six months, I became convinced that wrapping was what I needed to do. I didn’t know what the future would bring, but I thought, sink or swim, that’s what I need to do.”
That conviction led to the start of his business, SIC Wraps, located in Green Bay.
By wrapping, Sann means the process of applying a vinyl graphic or decal over the original paint of a vehicle to allow a person to change the look of a vehicle without the need for a costly and complicated paint job. The wrap is commonly used for advertising so a company can display its logo and graphics, but can also be used by an individual for personalization.
“The biggest wrap I do is for 52-foot semi-trailers; that’s a common one," Sann said. "I’ve done projects like big trailers for hospitals that are very high and very wide. That’s fun to do; to see the transformation from a silver trailer and stand back and see that it is now an MRI trailer or trailer for a bike team.”
The discovery of a new career path came from almost a decade of experience in the graphics and customization industry. His career took him through a wide variety of roles that gave him familiarity with all aspects of design. For the past five years, he has specialized in wraps and graphic installation.
“I saw someone looking for wraps on Facebook,” he said. “I contacted him and did two vehicles and he liked my work, and gave me three states of vehicles. For the next three months, I traveled around and installed wraps on hotel shuttle buses.”
As he traveled and visited a variety of shops that did wraps, he witnessed the good, bad and positive practices. He saw that there was a lot of work and was convinced that he possessed a rare skill set that would result in success.
The next step was finding his own garage. That led to hours of driving around the Green Bay area looking for a space that matched his vision. The solution came when a friend suggested that he look into the Green Bay SCORE chapter and the Startup Hub, a project of the economic development team of the Greater Green Bay Chamber located at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College-Green Bay campus.
“I was set up with two SCORE mentors, and they gave me the confidence to take the next step," Sann said. "I had always been considering this, and having the experience, knew I had a good plan. They said that I was going in the right direction, and just needed to polish my business plan a bit.”
His biggest challenge was the financial aspect, and that gap was filled by his now-wife, Sara. As he completed the plan, the SCORE mentors mentioned the spaces that were available at the Startup Hub where SCORE has an office.
“The mentors mentioned the manufacturing spaces at the Startup Hub that have garage doors," Sann said. "I needed a 10-foot-by-16-foot garage door, and most of the spaces that I looked at were too big or too small. It was hard to find space on a restricted budget, but when I saw the space at the Startup Hub, it was exactly what I had in my head.”
He opened March 1, and although he says it’s stressful to start a new business, he is taking it one step at a time. From being in the industry, his network is large, and by word-of-mouth alone, he is booked out several months. He doesn’t limit the business to company and personal vehicles, he also does murals, windows, restyling, motorcycles and recreational vehicles.
While he works in the shop, Sara, who also has a full-time job elsewhere, assists with administrative tasks. He brags that she is a pro at organization and making sure that every project goes smoothly from scheduling to pick-up. It is a detail-oriented process.
“It starts with design and figuring out what the client wants me to do," Sann said. "The best wraps take the inside of the business and put that message on the outside. It is figuring out what they want, what problem they’re trying to solve, and what I can do to bring that vision to life.”
On average, it takes about six weeks from consultation to finish. When a design has been approved and sent to the printer, it takes a few weeks for the graphics to be produced. Once that happens, installation is scheduled and takes about four days. The longevity is about five years, and after that, it can be easily removed and a new wrap installed.
Sann plans to be around when it’s time for a new wrap. His goal is to hire an apprentice installer within the next year, and have his own facility and employees within five years. But he doesn’t plan to expand too quickly.
“We’re still getting things figured out with the inner structure of the business," Sann said. "I haven’t wanted to take on more work that I can handle so that we grow at the right rate. It can be challenging to stick to the plan, but so far, it has played out pretty well.”
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Green Bay graphic artist ventures out with new business SIC Wraps