How I Got the Job: Moshe Gil
Carisma’s CEO on competing in NYC, playing in the 3D print world, and keeping clients coming back for more.
So, what’s a normal day look like for you?
The glory of my work is that no two days are the same. I never know what tomorrow will bring. Our work is driven by our clients, their visions, and their whims – there is no predictability to this. I can tell you this: Each day starts with a meeting that involves my executive team. We discuss all upcoming projects and deadlines as well as production techniques. This is what I love; we’re always learning here. We’re always perfecting – this is what keeps us at the top of our game.
What were you doing before Carisma? How did you get involved in the world of wide format?
I owned a car repair shop in Brooklyn. Our shop did body work. At some point, I needed signage for my shop and bought myself a small plotter. I never could have imagined, or planned, for what came next. Clients started asking me to produce signage for them and before I knew it, my shop was filled with printers.
Tell us more about your shop. What year did you take the leap to becoming a print service provider? How have you seen the shop grow since then?
In 1996, Carisma transitioned from a car repair shop to a print service provider. Our business today is a far cry from what it was when we started. In the beginning, we operated out of the back of an auto body shop with a client base that consisted of local moving companies. A few years later, our relationship with a local bus company owner led us to Vector Media - the media company that is responsible for all these amazing contracts and developing what is now our niche market, double-decker buses. It was not until the summer of 2010 that we moved into a space that really allowed us to grow by leaps and bounds.
We moved to our current location in 2014. The new shop tripled our production space and allowed us to double our design and marketing departments as well.
What has been the biggest change for your company in the last five years?
In 2016, we introduced 3D printing to our offerings. This has allowed us to take transit advertising to the next level and provided first-to-market opportunities for our clientele. By adding 3D prints to the sides of buses, we have allowed the advertiser to literally reach outside of the box and grab the attention of the consumer walking down a street that already has large format everywhere you turn.
Tell me about the decision process that led to purchasing the Massivit 3D printer. How has that changed your company and your wide-format offerings?
In an attempt to stay ahead of the needs of our clients, we have been researching the 3D print industry for more than five years. Before the Massivit, we never really saw a printer that would work for us. The Massivit has allowed us to add 3D on the sides of buses and bring our large-format digital prints to life.
We’ve covered some pretty cool Carisma bus wraps. What’s been your favorite so far?
That’s like asking a father who their favorite child is. I can’t answer that. Each job we do gets the same level of attention as the next. We have become successful by treating every client as our favorite.
Peter Rabbit was a fun project that allowed us to incorporate almost all of our bus embellishment techniques on one canvas. Peter himself was created with a mix of 3D-printed elements, CNC-routed elements, and was completely illuminated. In addition, each of the 3D carrots that protruded from both sides of the bus were embellished with “real” silk carrot greens. No detail was left unaddressed.
All projects have unique hurdles. Can you describe a past project that had specific challenges and how Carisma overcame those issues?
Carisma has a reputation for always pushing the limits and never saying something cannot be done. Everything can be done – it’s just a matter of how. As we push the embellishments on the double-decker buses to the next limit (no limit is ever final), we consistently run into issues that require our team to come out of their comfort zones. We do a ton of research and development in our shop. There’s no such thing as failure or wasting time; everything is a learning experience. I’m lucky enough to have surrounded myself with a core team of professionals that feel as passionately as I do. It’s these personalities that make Carisma as successful as it is.
What’s it like working in New York City, where wide-format digitally printed graphics are everywhere you turn?
Competition is our friend. We challenge ourselves every day to stay at the top. We build relationships with our clients and know that they have plenty of choices when it comes to wide-format printers in New York, but they keep coming back.
Why do you think that is?
Our clients know that we give every job the attention it deserves. Starting with concept and design, we pride ourselves on being honest and objective. If something won’t work, we speak up. We always have the best interests of our clients at heart.
What makes Carisma unique among so much competition?
Our team at Carisma takes the time to forge relationships with our clients. They know that they can count on us. We make things happen – and happen well.
Do you primarily serve the New York market, or does Carisma print jobs for clients nationwide?
Carisma maintains a national client base. We have completed marketing campaigns in Kansas all the way to Seattle, from Texas to Minnesota. About 35 percent of our work is in the Los Angeles market.
What’s the most demanding part of your job?
Honestly, the biggest challenge is not getting comfortable. I am happy that our business has grown substantially over the last five years. I am more happy that I have an amazing crew. We share a passion for what we do and we take tremendous pride with every project. We cannot become too comfortable – we need to maintain the personal connection to every job.
What are your interests outside of work?
We have insane deadline-driven schedules, so when we have a moment to relax, I go back to my first love: the ocean. You can find me piloting my boat during down time.