Carisma creatives bring ads to life with dimensional bus wraps – and much more
Moshe Gil is a creator, a man who uses tools to imagine and fabricate opportunities that become solutions for his customers: “I build my dreams on concrete, not in the clouds.” Fran Gidalowitz, Carisma’s director of marketing and sales, described him as “a pragmatic dreamer.” Gil’s leadership of Carisma and its now 22-member staff affirm that description. For Gil, his Massivit 1800 3D printer, which can build life-sized objects, is just a tool like a hammer or a screwdriver.
Gil moved from Haifa, Israel to Brooklyn, New York in 1989. There he opened a vehicle repair shop, Carisma. In the late-1990s, he needed new signs, but sign companies quoted prices so high that he bought a vinyl plotter and material to make the signs himself! When repair shop customers noticed, they asked him to make signs for them, too. Soon, he was cutting store signs, door lettering and tradeshow graphics. He acquired an inkjet printer and the sign business continued to grow.
Eventually, Gil closed his repair business to focus on building Carisma as a large-format printing enterprise. Once a mechanic, he added digital plotters and printers to his toolbox and, with his growing team, converted the repair shop on Third Avenue behind a 24-hour Getty gas station in Brooklyn into a signmaking one, offering digitally printed wraps, banners and backlit signage. As its business outgrew its first location, it moved to a larger one near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.
On October 29, 2012, the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded Carisma’s plant, disabling its equipment and halting operations. Just before Sandy, Carisma had received its first order from Apple for 70 bus wraps to promote the latest iPod’s introduction.
Gil told his team, “We have no time to cry.” They worked around the clock removing debris, cleaning walls, floors and machines stained black with ink, salvaging what could be salvaged, obtaining parts and repairing printers. They managed to run an electrical service from a generous neighbor; the shop would wait nearly a month for its own service to be restored.
After Sandy, Gil found an industrial building on Third Avenue in Brooklyn and began planning a bigger, better and drier place for the Carisma team. They gutted and rebuilt their new building’s interior with expansion in mind.
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