Chris Pyle is a one-man band.

The 58-year-old entrepreneur owns and operates Splitscreen Grafix in Whangarei.

Mr Pyle is the designer, artist, printer, manufacturer and retailer of printed products produced out of his Kamo-based premises.

While living in the United Kingdom he was a sub-contractor to a London online retailer, manufacturing and dispatching its entire range to customers worldwide.


Since moving back to New Zealand, he is establishing his own online presence here as well as offering the same services to the London retailer directly from his Pipiwai Rd office.

Splitscreen Grafix does screen print T-shirts, hoodies ,tank tops, vests, stickers and canvas prints, custom made by himself and from other artists' designs.

"I am able to knock up one of a kind sublimation prints, photorealistic and/or hard edge graphics," he said. "I can complete simple custom jobs within an hour and put one of my designs on a customer's own apparel from as little as $5.

"This can be printed on jeans, jackets (cotton, polycotton), hi-vis, canvas, paper, glass and metal."

He says because he does the job from start to finish nothing gets past quality control which is why he has a factory seconds shop with prints ranging from $5.

He prefers to operate after hours during the week and can be available during the weekends for rush jobs from time to time.

Mr Pyle, who started printing 12 years ago, says he got into the graphics business because of an experience in Phi Phi Island,Thailand. He kept tripping over ropes, that were securing boats, one night on a beach.

"I got the crazy idea to knock up some humorous cartoon style T-shirts depicting my experiences. I always see the funny side of things.

"I landed in Shoreditch, in East London, soon after and it started from there as a hobby.

"Thanks to technology, the internet and YouTube were my teachers."

His hobby took off.

"I've always loved art, colour, being creative, photography [non digital] and I love humour.

"I wanted a way to express my thoughts and humour [and those of others] and screen printing on apparel allowed me to do this. It was something I had never done before and I found it exciting."

For Mr Pyle a normal day or week is never the same, there is always something different and new that pops up and stops him from doing what may be considered by most as "normal".

"One day I'm knocking up a new design and the next I'm delivering a T-shirt personally to a customer in another country, being picked up at the airport, toured around and entertained.

"Who would have thought designing a T-shirt would get you into places and social scenes you'd never even imagined."

He said the most rewarding thing about his career was seeing something he had produced look better on the product than initially visualised.

The most challenging was adjusting to third-party online selling platforms that change the layout unexpectedly ... "Something to do with better selling and buying experiences, they say".

This sort of thing was his worst nightmare, he said.

"I fire up the computer in the morning and go straight to it then find the layout isn't looking like it did last night ... where are all the orders? Where's this, where's that ... and where's the customer support number hiding?"

To deal with the challenges of being a sole operator his business motto is to try to keep it simple.

He doesn't consider himself a tradesman as such but has always had an ability to learn from trial and error with a determination to succeed.

He says people skills and getting on with others is most important whether it be for business or personal reasons.

It's also helpful to not be offended by anything or anyone.

"Some people take a saying or drawing to seriously. There's always two sides to a story and I like to show both, as both are potential sellers."