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Rick Nevarez, an enrolled Native American participating in the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) program, gained experience in road and bridge construction and worked on public works construction and prevailing wage jobs. The TERO Ordinance mandates that employers operating on reservations prioritize qualified Indians in employment, contracting, and other business activities.

Despite his previous work in construction, Nevarez had a lifelong aspiration to start a custom apparel business and be his own boss. In 2019, he and his girlfriend, Crystal Henderson, established The Ink Lab Custom Apparel.

During the early stages, both Nevarez and Henderson held full-time jobs, with Nevarez printing shirts on weekends and after work until they built a sufficient customer base. Eventually, they saved enough funds to invest in additional equipment and relocate from their garage to a commercial space in March.

The Ink Lab offers various services such as screen printing, embroidery, sublimation, and heat transfers. Nevarez finds joy in the creative process of bringing clients’ logos and designs to life while enjoying the freedom of being his own boss. 

Although starting a business presents challenges, Nevarez advises aspiring entrepreneurs to persevere, work hard, and recognize their own value and worth when setting prices.

Nevarez expressed gratitude for the support and knowledge provided by NAMC-OR’s staff. He considers them an invaluable resource, always available to answer their business-related inquiries. Being a member of NAMC has benefited their business by assisting with website development and introducing them to other businesses in need of their services. Nevarez and Henderson are proud and delighted to be part of the NAMC family.