Lila Klinck talks about Savannah GA-based print shop Elate Apparel

At 2105 Skidaway Road, there is a small white house with a red door. For years it hosted a revolving door of hair salons, but towards the end of 2020 it invited a new tenant: Elate Apparel.

“We want people to be thrilled,” explained company founder and owner Lila Klinck. “It’s silly, but that’s how we came up with this name.

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“It’s like it’s the perfect name because exalted, the word, it just means to bring joy or to be delighted and that’s the point, it’s to bring joy into people’s lives for everything we create for them, with them.”

Within the space is a small retail store, but the majority of the former home’s 1200 square feet is dedicated to “making things”. Apparently Elate is a screen printing company, but that’s like saying a bakery makes muffins and doesn’t tell nearly the whole story.

“It’s funny, people are always like, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?'” she said, laughing. We have vinyl, we have sublimation, we try a little and too much, all at the same time.

Printing at Elate Apparel

Klinck’s dynamic spirit reflects his love of people and his desire to help them achieve their goals. Several times during our interview, I tried to give her credit or do business about her, but she always deflected that praise, deferring instead to the talented clientele that helped make of Elate what it is today.

“I like to think about it like us!” she cried enthusiastically. “Even on our website it’s like ‘Let’s grow together’. Because we all start somewhere, and none of us do it alone, period. No matter what you do, none of us do it alone We’re all in. So that’s often how I approach people.

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Today, Elate counts the popular Auspicious Baking Company at Sandfly and Sea Wolf on Tybee Island among its customers, and they have begun hosting quarterly street fairs in their parking lot. Given how long they’ve been in space, it would be easy to assume that their success happened virtually overnight. But for Klinck, it’s been a long drive to the little white house on Skidaway Road.

Auspicious Baking t-shirt by Elate Apparel.

In 2009, she and two of her classmates from SCAD decided to create a studio together where they could work without the constraints of the university environment. They eventually landed in a 1,600 square foot space on 37th Street and even held a single art exhibit there.

But by 2013, his creative colleagues had moved on to other pursuits, leaving Klinck as the only remaining member of the team. That’s when she saw a drawing by her artist friend Jefferson O’Neal that she thought she could do something with.

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“I was like, ‘Hey man, can I simplify this design and put it on a shirt, and split the money with you and just throw in a few shirts?'” she recalled. “And he was like, ‘Cool, whatevs.’

“And I built this table so she could print on it and I was like pinning t-shirts, and pretty much centering this design and doing some prints.”

Lila Klinck, owner of Elate Apparel

As fate would have it, Casey Patrick, someone she had just started dating then but who has now become Klinck’s long-term partner, saw his talent as an engraver and decided to buy him a press. , even though they barely knew each other at that point.

“It’s like that [it] started,” she said. “A t-shirt press. One color, one press station.

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Over the next ten years, his business has metamorphosed and changed. Initially, she and Patrick worked together as partners, calling themselves The Dogg House Studio, and Klinck credits her for helping her learn the intricacies of commercial printmaking, as opposed to printmaking. art more formal than it had been. trained in school. But eventually, as Patrick continued to pursue other interests, she decided to break it off on her own, and Elate Apparel has her personality printed all over it.

A Sea Wolf Tybee hat created by Elate Apparel.

“Everything has become very automated: everything is online; it’s social media,” she said. “I like being in contact with people. That’s what I really like, and I think other people like that too, because we just want to connect.

“I don’t want to be someone else’s competition,” she added. “I’m like, ‘Let’s do this together. Let’s work together to lift each other up.

Learn more about Elate Apparel via their website at elateapparel.com. Follow them on Instagram @elateapparel1.

Art off the Air is a complement to the radio show “Art on the Air” hosted by Rob Hessler and Gretchen Hilmers. The column can also be found at savannahnow.com/entertainment.

The show airs Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m. on WRUU 107.5 FM Savannah and on WRUU.org.

Laura J. Boyer