VOXVOICE Customer Spotlight: Graffiti Shield

Graffiti Shield logo

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff Green, the co-founder of Graffiti Shield, based out of Anaheim, California. Jeff and his business partner Mike Schuch manufacture and sell surface protection solutions for glass, metal, and solid surfaces. They specialize in precut anti-graffiti films for public and private spaces.

Graffiti Shield has been a shopVOX user for several years and has had great success with our software. We wanted to get to know more about Jeff and his businesses, as well as the unique ways Graffiti Shield utilizes shopVOX. You can learn more about them by reading a transcription of our interview below and by visiting their website.

Jeff Green co-founder of Graffiti Shield

How did you get started in the industry?

I’ve been in the industry for quite some time. Prior to owning and then selling my own window film company, I worked for one of the largest window film manufacturers around back then with worldwide distribution. I learned all the inner makings of how the film is made, different adhesive coat weights, scratch-resistant coatings, metallization; you name it, I was learning it. That really helped when it came to having to make our own product.

When we went out on our own, we originally started out as a company called Excel Intent out of Anaheim in 1999. There were five of us, and then, within that company, we opened up specific offices throughout the country. We had offices in Las Vegas, Anaheim, and Maryland, each with different specializations within different markets. 

For instance, here in Anaheim, it was residential, commercial, and automotive films. In Las Vegas, it was mainly residential and commercial. And then, on the East Coast, it was blast mitigation films and anti-eavesdropping films for government applications. We sold all three of those offices throughout the years, and in 2019, we sold the Anaheim location. We started Graffiti Shield in 2013, and it had pretty much been dominating all of our time. Within one year with Graffiti Shield, we were doing more sales than in all 3 offices combined.

Graffiti Shield production space

How was Graffiti Shield founded?

We started our Anaheim location in 1996, producing and pushing anti-graffiti films. All that means is that it's a clear, sacrificial film we would apply to glass. We began to work here in the LA market, where glass is very vulnerable to vandalism. Sometimes vandalism in LA is just paint, but more often than not, it’s permanent damage. People will use drill bits, rocks, keys, or anything sharp and etch their name or moniker on glass.

Our glass shield film acts as a protective barrier we would put on the glass. So, if you installed our film and it gets vandalized, the film is engineered to pull off the glass, which then pulls all the vandalism off. Once you remove the old film, you apply a new piece of film on the glass, and it's a brand new clean surface with no graffiti on it.

Then, we got in with our local transit authority, who adopted it to all the glass in their elevators, map cases, fire cases, etc. We helped develop a contract for them, which was a small contract at first, something like $35,000 a year. Then, by 2019, we had grown that to a 5-year contract worth $6 or 7 million.

At the same time, they asked if we had anything for covering up stainless steel. They have about 200,000 square feet of stainless steel on their system, all of which had been vandalized. It's very hard to clean stainless steel back to what it used to look like, so my partner Mike and I developed a film that looks just like stainless steel and is engineered to be installed on stainless steel. That's our metal shield product.

This work scored us a five-year large contract that we’ve done multiple times and that pretty much launched Graffiti Shield as a separate company. Now we have, just on the Graffiti Shield side, about fifty employees, seven cutting lines, two large format lasers, and five CNC Machines running between 5 and 7 days a week. We ship our materials all over the world, and we’re very big in the transit arena across the country and different countries. It’s our niche market, but we’re going after it very heavily.

before and after photo of metal shield on the side of a metal escalator

Graffiti Shield’s international growth is impressive, especially during a pandemic; how did that affect you? 

The pandemic did affect us. We were heavy in transit and commercial industries, so a lot of those things slowed down because ridership was down on transit due to the pandemic. We had all this equipment and all these people, so we decided to figure out what we could do.

We figured out how to make face shields, desk dividers, rolling dividers, and floor graphics that everyone was doing, and we did very well. We made about half a million face shields and almost 40,000 desk shields, so we were actually hiring during the pandemic. 

We still lost some sales, but now we don’t make any of those things at all anymore. We’re 100% back to what we were doing and then some, but it was nice to see how we could transition to that, to be able to at least keep the lights on and keep our people employed. I’d say it was not fun.

How is this film different from the window tinting that you’ve done before?

It's similar in nature, but it’s a different type of product. We like the repeat business, so we like the repeatability of the anti-graffiti film market because once we do it, we generally re-do it over and over again.

Is your film easy enough to remove for someone to come by just and tear it off?

No, It’s got a pretty good coat weight, and the pull strength is pretty good. The nice thing about it is most people don't know it's there. The mantra of our business is to coat the substrate that we’re doing with a like-looking substrate. We don’t really have an issue with vandals knowing. All that vandals care about is that their moniker is there. If they see that it’s there, they’ve done their job, and our job is to remove it and make it fresh again.

Graffiti Shield on the windows of a Jack in the Box restaurantbefore and after photo of metal shield applied to public bathroom stall doors

How long does this film last if it’s not vandalized?

Once it’s installed, it really just depends on where it’s installed. Our glass film is generally installed outside facing the sun, so it has a 2-year warranty. For our other products, we give a 1-year warranty.

What is the process when an order is placed with Graffiti Shield?

We sell our products in two different ways. We sell it by the roll in different footage and widths if they want to cut it themselves and install it, but the majority of what we do is what we call pre-cut, where they can give us their shapes and sizes, and we can do our own deductions in our design department. 

Everything is designed in CAD. We push part numbering, so we can either engrave or print the part number. The reason we like that is that when you’re doing an elevator and it’s part-numbered if a panel gets vandalized, we save all parts and designs by customer, by property. Once we design it, we catalog everything. We have about 250,000 parts in our library right now.

Our surveyors can also go out to walk a property to notate what part numbers need to be replaced. For the last three years, we’ve been 3D scanning. The 3D scanning has been nice because it gives us exactly what we need. We know how flat the surface is and where the metal bends on the ends.

Once the surveys are done, and you’ve got the part numbers, what’s the next step?

That’s where shopVox comes in. In our system, we use shopVOX for all of our quoting. Once it becomes a sales order turned into a job, it’s identified in our workflow. We have different workflows for different types of products and services that we have. That starts the process from the “products in stock” team to the design team, then goes to the production team.

If anything needs custom lamination or printing, those are all separate workflows that everyone has to work on. Once it hits production, that team performs the cutting, sorting, and packaging. And then from there, it gets shipped or delivered or installed, depending on the services we’re offering.

mirror shield applied to a mirror in a public restroom

When did you sign up for shopVOX, and how did you become a customer?

It was around 2018 or 2019. We were using another type of system, but we really needed something for our production folks. We were using multiple systems to run our company, and it was very cumbersome. It’s kind of ironic, we have a t-shirt shop next to us, and the owner happened to walk into our company. We were just chatting, and he looked at my computer screen. I was actually looking at one of your competitors. I didn’t even know about shopVOX at the time. He says, “I use this company called shopVOX,” and I’m like, “Really?” And that’s what got me to look into your product.

How was the onboarding process for Graffiti Shield?

I decided if we were going down this path, I needed someone to come in and onboard us. That was definitely one of the options you guys had, which was a major plus for us. During our initial period, we were visited by your co-founder, Rao. He became my go-to guy. He was here for about a week. We did a lot of stuff pre-onboarding to get everything ready, and then he came in and got us launched and got a few of us taught on the behind-the-scenes stuff, so we could be 90% self-sufficient in tweaking and doing different things we needed to, and we’ve been using it ever since.

Do you do any wholesale pricing for sign or film companies?

Yeah, we consider those our resellers, so we have specific pricing for them. This allows them to resell our products, and rarely do we compete against each other because of the different markets we go after. Having the different price levels from shopVOX has been very helpful. We use that for everything, whether it's pre-cut or rolled material. 

Be sure to check out Graffiti Shield’s Social Media on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

The featured photo and all other images were provided by Graffiti Shield.

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