Hermes Ortiz is not just a drafting engineer and graphic designer — the man is a visualizer. He leaves a physical copy of his business plan and a brochure for the next piece of printing equipment he needs on his desk in plain view. These visual reminders motivate Ortiz and his wife and business partner, Jeanette Rosario, to keep working tirelessly. “Many days, we work more than twelve hours. It’s very hard, but through design, we’re helping people,” Ortiz said. At Ortiz Art Drafts Design, Ortiz and Rosario help people in ways beyond design. At the front desk, you’ll find countless business cards with services from everything from construction to landscaping. OADD functions as a Cleveland-area hub, for local Hispanic-and-Latino-owned businesses. They hold open houses for networking and their Facebook page routinely publicizes other small businesses, events, and job fairs as much as OADD products and services. The sheer variety of products and services OADD offer is staggering. Architectural drawings, embroidery, logo design, engraving, blankets, advertising services, heat-transfer vinyl on clothing, giant decals for cars and trucks, full-color sublimated shirts, and even custom-printed tents make up just some of their offerings. “We’re proud to own this business and all this specialized equipment. We can create everything here,” Ortiz said.
"We’re proud to own this business and all this specialized equipment. We can create everything here.”
Ortiz learned design at 15 years old, living and working in Puerto Rico at a medical device supplier. He studied drafting engineering, learning to create schematics for everything from phones to water towers. In 2016, Rosario and Ortiz immigrated from Puerto Rico to Cleveland to live near Ortiz’s father. Ortiz had trouble finding work as a drafting engineer. “My father told me I should start my own business and connect with some local guys,” Ortiz said. The same year, Ortiz Art Drafts Designs was born in a small apartment with little more than a consumer-grade printer and an embroidery machine.
Word got around. Soon he connected with local restaurateurs and contractors. He found himself designing logos, then creating and
installing vinyl decal advertising for trucks. OADD became the first business in the area to provide full-color offset printing, the most accurate commercial printing — and the most costly for the printer. “Printing equipment is very expensive,” Ortiz said. Commercial printing equipment can start at upwards of $70,000. OADD was growing and needed a loan. OADD connected with ECDI through a Hispanic business advisor at Jumpstart Inc., a venture development organization based in Cleveland. The advisor’s brother happened to work for ECDI. “We were able to continue growing with that loan,” Ortiz said. Ortiz now recommends businesses and would be businesses to ECDI, displaying ECDI cards next to those from local companies. Ortiz credits his wife with much of the business’s success. “Jeanette manages some of the most important areas of our business: finance, marketing, and customer service,” Ortiz said. The couple both get hands-on with everything, though, with Ortiz installing large vinyl advertising and Rosario embroidering and printing. Ortiz’s eye for design is critical to the business’s success. “A good design is pleasing to the eye with the right contrasting color combinations. It captures the attention of the public.” OADD certainly captured the public’s attention recently when mega-network Telemundo featured them. “It was such an honor, and a pleasure to be able to share with Telemundo, and their support for our Hispanic community is invaluable,” Ortiz said. Business is great, but so far, success has relied on word-of-mouth. Soon, Ortiz Art Drafts Designs plans to hire outside marketing. “I want to continue expanding our business and create even more opportunities for Latinos,” Ortiz said. “Everybody comes here. They ask, ‘Hermes, do you know anybody who does painting, construction, landscaping, or towing services?’ and I say, ‘Yes!’ I’m happy to say I know these people and give out their business cards.”