Kait Lane Production Manager, K8s Collabs

LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/kait-lane

What do you do?

Hello! Kait Lane here. Custom Collaborative Artist/Print and Production enthusiast with 9 years in the industry. Currently, I am a Production Manager with Crown Trophy located in Littleton, Colorado. We are one of the largest shops in this USA-based franchise specializing in awards, gifts, signage, and some apparel. It is a very fun shop setting with many decorating techniques offered.

My favorite part of working with Crown Trophy is our team. Each of us works hard and takes care of each other as well as our clients. We each put love into the products and projects we produce.

Besides the amazing team, I am all about the machines! I operate every machine in the shop but specialize in a few of them.

We use Epilog Laser Engravers, Gerber CNC Scratch Engraver, Mimaki and LogoJet UV Printers, a Mimaki Wide Format Printer/Plotter, Wide Format Lamination Machine, Sawgrass Sublimation Printers, as well as Geoknight and Hotronix Heat Presses. I specialize in the UV, Wide format, and sublimation printers.

Throughout my career as a custom decorator, I have had the opportunity to work in several print shop settings. Such as a designer/sales/production tech with Big Frog Customs T-Shirts and More, Bench Jeweler Apprentice with Signet Jewelers, Production Tech with Print Connection(Paper Goods), Embroidery Tech with Educational Outfitters, Production Manager/Sales with FASTSIGNS, and now Production Manager with Crown Trophy.

With these different types of shops and titles, I have learned so much.

I am an aspiring business owner with foundations that have already begun!

What investments have you made in your professional career development?

Investing in my team is the most important move I have made in my current career setting. With the experience I have, the goal was to help my current place of employment become more team and client-minded while ensuring we strive for clear processes and procedures.

The first year at Crown Trophy was spent learning the ins and outs of the workflow program, learning how to run the showroom with sales and client care, and of course, learning all the variables when it comes to decorating in the production area. This first year was also a time to become intimate with my team to ensure we could all count on each other.

The second year was spent paying attention to where we were lacking in communication and efficiency. I was able to verify these trouble areas by listening to feedback from my coworkers and noting where we were experiencing frequent redos and bottlenecks in productivity.

Collaboration with each team member and having support from the shop owners has made space for us all to have fun on the job with little stress. The beginning of 2024 was fruitful with a full staff meeting going over our goals to Kick Butt in this new year.

What investments have you made in your personal development?

I am in the process of finalizing my LLC and obtaining insurance to market my business.

The business is called K8s Collabs. The name is a shortened version of Kait that I took inspiration from my Uncle N8 (Nate). Collabs is short for collaboration. K8s Collabs aims to be a resource to the printing and production community of the Denver Metro Area.

The services offered include machine operation/maintenance, production execution, website maintenance, print/production design, project management, and print shop consultations. K8s Collabs is a contract print expert, trained and willing to help in your shop when extra hands or consideration are needed.

I have invested in hosting my website for 2 years now, business cards that I hand out constantly, and putting myself out there in various ways. I put myself out on a limb and requested to be a guest on one of my favorite podcasts called The Print on Demand Cast. I have even interviewed a local makerspace with the intent to write an article that I will submit to a resourceful magazine for the print industry.

Here I am again supporting the Girls Who Print initiative! Which I am pretty excited about.

How can the industry proactively invest in women, and why should this be a priority?

I would say making investments in our industry for the betterment of humanity is a more forward-thinking approach. We can do this by making sure we are mindful of our ink disposal, using scarp material first when possible, and donating leftover tools and materials to makerspaces. I am a huge supporter of Makerspaces in the community. A lot of public libraries, universities, for-profit, and nonprofits, offer the ability to use printing and decorating technologies to all skill levels and ages.

Women should strive to be bold and confident in their skills and advocate for the growth they feel they deserve. But I also want this for men and children of all ages. Even the most seasoned man in the printing industry can use a pick me up or a reason to be inspired again.

That being said, printing is a huge part of our world when it comes to wayfinding, brand/ product recognition, and so much more.

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