Founder & CEO
Cream City Print Lounge LLC
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Industry: Graphic Arts and garment printing
Rachaad Howard graduated 12 years ago with a degree in graphic design and a plan to land an office job in his field, but things don’t always work out as planned.
Howard started doing freelance design work around the Milwaukee area, and someone asked him to make T-shirts with a specific design. Howard had no idea how to do that, but he went to Wal-Mart, bought iron-on T-shirt paper and got the job done. While that first T-shirt job was rocky, in the ensuing years Howard taught himself how to print T-shirts, learning how to do the work efficiently by observing a large printing company in Chicago.
In 2014, Howard started his first printing company, landing partners like the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Store. Howard then shifted the business, creating Cream City Print Lounge.
Cream City Print Lounge is an interactive T-shirt printing experience based in Milwaukee. It offers step-by-step T-shirt printing classes by a trained local artist, with some classes including wine and beer, thus creating the world’s first T-shirt “print and sip” studio, the company said. “We believe that everyone loves a good T-shirt,” the company said. “It is our goal to make the printing experience a fun, relaxing and enjoyable activity for our guests.”
Howard’s vision for Cream City Print Lounge is to build it into a franchise brand in the next three to five years. “Year one I will continue to build on the current plan and make sure we are a well-oiled machine and start a crowdfunding campaign,” Howard said. “Years two and three we will start looking for locations to expand and meet with franchise lawyers, then years four and five we plan on having two to four franchise owners locked in.
“I will have a team of creatives and business-minded people … to help grow this to the next level. I believe partnering with resorts to expand will be the key to the success of the company because that will allow us to reach people globally in a short amount of time because everyone wants T-shirts or apparel to remember their trip when they are on vacation. Building this revenue stream will be the hardest thing I have ever done, but I believe in the saying, ‘hard work pays off!’”
In 2020, Howard appeared on a local entrepreneur show called Project Pitch It, pitching ideas to local investors in Milwaukee, and he won first place. In 2021, Howard was named to The Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. Howard has also received the governor’s Rising Star business award.
“I always think growth first; awards will come when they are meant to be,” Howard said.
A fun fact fact about me is that I love traveling to mexico to dance bachata, hope to travel to spain soon where it was made popular and try it there.