The Interview Series: Hugh Johnson, California, USA. HJohnson Garment Services, & Hjohnson Consultants

First out in my Interview series is Hugh Johnson from California, USA. I interview people I have come to know through Corel forums, and who are fellow beta testers of and fellow CorelDRAW users. And some of us have met in real life.

Your Name?
Hugh M. Johnson

http://www.hjohnson.com & http://www.jcon.com

Style & type of work you produce? 

Mostly prepared material for the local embroidery and screen print shops. I provide heat transfer materials and cut tackle-twill used to decorate clothing.

You like myself is a user of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. What was it that made you discover and drew you to CorelDRAW Graphics Suite? 

In 2003, i retired from the software engineering industry. At first I thought it was great to not go to work each day and to be paid for staying home. But that caused me to come down with a large dose of boredom. My wife works for her brother, who owns an embroidery shop. I started hanging around there, getting in the way of their work.

At that time, a new type of machine was being introduced to the garment decorating industry. It was a highly modified Epson printer, modified to be able to print directly upon garments. After investigating this machine, I purchased it and then found out that I needed a good graphics program to be able to take full advantage of the print capabilities of the garment printer. I searched and found Corel Graphics Suite and purchased it. I taught myself how to use the applications. I am still learning, everyday, more and more of CorelDRAW and PhotoPaint.

Also, I purchased a plotter/cutter used in the sign industry. I use the plotter/cutter, mainly to cut heat transfer material that is applied to garments, and also for precise cutting of pressure sensitive tackle twill.

Today, I even design rhinestone decorations and provide the template to produce the rhinestone patterns upon transfer tape for application to the garment.

What year was it?

I bought the Corel Graphics Suite in 2003, that was version 11. I have since kept current on the new releases of Corel Graphics Suite.

Which Programs do you use, Corel and none-Corel programs? 

Phew! That would be a large list, but I will keep it down to graphics related items. I do use CorelDRAW and PhotoPaint, both of which are part of the the Corel Graphics Suite. I have CoCut, which is a great program that allows me to design away in CorelDRAW and then with a single click of the mouse, have that design in CoCut, ready to be sent directly to the plotter/cutter. Another tool that I use often, is the Flexi/LXi vector design and plotter/cutter driver. This item is I use mostly for cutting names to be applied to team sports uniforms.

Do you use any analog tools in conjuntion with your work?

I still use a ruler and sharp knife to cut material, be it heat transfer vinyl, sign vinyl or tackle twill, by hand.

Which year was it you started your business, your work?

I am a rather late bloomer to starting my own business, I began in 2003, at the age of 65. But, I have been working since forever. I began my adult life in the military, in 1958, out of school. I found that I can not be without work of some kind…

Would you recomend CorelDRAW Graphics Suite? 

I most certainly would. I have played with just about all the other graphics programs out there, but I found I like the Corel Suite, best. I can get more work done, in a given period of time, with it than any other.

What, more importantly, made you begin working with the work you do today? After all you could have made a career as a hairdresser or something in that line instead, like any other human being. 

I have been a soldier, geophysicist and engineer. Now I am in the garment decorating business. As I explained above, I got into this business as I was not ready to retire, and a little help from my wife…

What is it that you like with your work? 

Even though I am not an artist, but more of a mechanic, when it comes too graphics, I love the satisfaction that I get when I accomplish a creation. And much of my work is worn and seen by others.

In an interview in the Digital Artist Magazine, who interviewed me a few years back, I was asked what I would like to see in future versions of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. Is there anything you would like to see? 

Corel Graphics Suite is used by many people in many industries, so this is a difficult question as one answer will not provide for all. But the one generic thing would be to continuously improve and expand the Suite capabilities as the digital graphics industry continues to expand and grow.

Do you drink coffee or tea in the morning? 

Most of my coffee mugs are 12 fluid ounce (approximately 350 ml) mugs. I drink three mugs of coffee before breakfast and usually one or two more, after breakfast. I usually like a robust coffee and lean towards the stronger flavors. Direct infusion would be more efficient.

What do you think is important to think about running your own business or in your line of work, to think about. Is it discipline or and something else? 

Perseverance is the key. Starting your own business can be frustrating and even take some time. But, listening to your customers and keeping up with your industry, as well as a long term outlook can be keys to succeeding in business. You should love what you are doing, that will show when you discuss your work with your customers.

For someone just starting out, what do you think they should think about? 

They should investigate their target market and find something that can fulfill a niche in that market. They should also make long range plans for fulfilling that market niche.

Is there any big change in how and what you worked with when you first started out. Have the business changed in any way? 

Everything that I have worked on, in my life, changed from the time I first started out. That is a law of nature, that things will change and grow, if not grow, then evolve. An example of this, is when I bought my garment printer, it was the only one available on the market. Within one to two years, there were many of them available, to the point that just about every garment decorating shop could purchase one to supplement their business. 

The plotter/cutter, that I use for garment decorating, has slowly evolved from the time I started out in it with a some what limited material availability. This was not a new industry facet when I entered, but it still continued to grow. Today, there are more material variations that is available for heat transfer onto garments than there were eight/nine years ago.

Hugh, a big thank you!
Stefan Lindblad

Stefan Lindblad, January 2012
Copyright Hugh Johnson & Stefan Lindblad

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