by Viviane Gilbert Stein
It’s all about the art.
That’s the basis of Doxa Print, and owner Kyle Maligro believes it’s what makes his screen printing stand out from the rest.
“I really have a passion for what I do,” Maligro said. “It’s more than a 9-to-5 job; it’s more in my blood.”
The Kalaheo business, whose tagline is “More than a print shop,” provides a range of services, from custom screen printing to graphic design. Customers include schools and businesses, artists and non-profits, as well as designers of unique clothing lines.
The small shop in downtown Kalaheo, tucked in a bay next to the 76 Gas Station, prints T-shirts, trucker hats, business cards, stickers, banners and more for a growing number of clients around Kaua`i and the Mainland, “from New York to Seattle” Maligro said.
After more than 10 years’ experience, he’s found a surprising niche: trucker hats. Apparently, Doxa Print is one of only a few print shops in the United States who use screen printing instead of a heat press for the distinctive hats. Clients from Idaho and Montana, New York and Texas find him online at doxaprint.com, and are happy to order from the middle of the Pacific.
Maligro also does collaborative art with friends for on-island events, and occasionally does “fun stuff” for his original clothing line, Stardumb. But his main focus is keeping up with all the business that comes rolling in, driven strictly by website traffic and word of mouth.
“It’s not easy,” he admitted. “It’s very challenging. But I love it.”
Maligro is obviously exhilarated by his work. “I love the trade,” he says with relish. “It’s crazy. It’s always different. It’s creative.”
Born on O`ahu, Maligro moved to Kaua`i as a young teen, graduating from Waimea High in 1988. He modestly admits to being a professional body boarder, “back in the days.” In fact, he was a member of the ground-breaking Kaua`i Classic Team coached by Bob Sato in the 1990s.
Around that time, he also developed his clothing line, and moved to California in 1999 to promote it.
There, Maligro decided he should learn the printing trade, so he wouldn’t have to rely on others.
“I just jumped in,” he said. “I knew nothing about screen printing but I knew art. And that’s key, to know art.”
The initial results? “It was pretty crappy,” he admitted with a laugh.
But he persevered.
“I developed a passion, and I needed to know how to make it good or my product line would go down the tubes,” he explained.
This was before easy access to expert advice via Google and YouTube, so Maligro did it the old-fashioned way: He asked a lot of questions and worked hard at improving his product.
He knew he’d succeeded when more and more friends brought him their designs to print.
“It just snowballed,” Maligro recalled. “It was just crazy.”
Eventually, he thought, “Maybe I can make a business out of it, because I had the art background already.”
Then one day, he had an epiphany while stuck in the “whole nightmare” of L.A. traffic. Maligro heard God speak to him as he looked around and realized that every car he saw was full of people with something in common. “Everybody wears T-shirts!” he said.
From that, Doxa Print was born. The name reflects Maligro’s faith and that divine inspiration — the Greek word means “Glory.”
“I’m giving God the glory for what I do, and what He’s given me,” Maligro said.
He operated Doxa Print in California for a few years, then moved back to Kaua`i in 2006, where he had to start all over again. But with the support of friends and family, it’s taken off.
“It’s been going good,” he said. “It’s been a blessing.”
So far, it’s been a one-man shop, with the assistance of his wife and fellow artist, Kristy. She’s a busy woman as well; in addition to raising their children, Tagen, 8, and Aveda, 7, Kristy also has her own clothing line for keiki, The Wren Collection, and is a visual art director for KUGA (Kaua`i UnderGround Artists).
But the growing business has been “kinda crazy, so I might be hiring soon; we’ll see,” he said.
“My thing is, I could care less if I get super huge,” Maligro explained. “I love to provide quality work.”
So that’s what he does. And in the meantime, he’s giving the glory to God for the bounty of almost-too-much business.
Doxa Print can be reached at 808-647-4308 or firstname.lastname@example.org.