If there’s one thing that can be said about Joey Barrientos, 20, is that he’s been committed to Noble Works for quite some time now. In the beginning, all of Noble Works services (screen printing, embroidery, design, vinyl, signage, promotional products, brand media) weren’t offered at the same location. Ariel Barrientos’s, current Noble Works owner, first business venture was AB Customs where he offered vinyl, graphic, signage and promotional services. In early 2019, A. Barrientos bought out Image Actionwear and started running its screen printing and embroidery services. At the time J. Barrientos was a student athlete at Chemeketa Community College. Attending school in Salem made it easy to pay visits to Ariel and start seeing what kind of work he was doing.
“Really at first, if I’m going to be honest, my brother needed help. And so I thought, ‘What better opportunity than to help a close sibling start his business up,’”-Joey Barrientos.
His role started out with him coming in and helping in whatever way he could. In July of 2019 Noble Works had officially relocated and J. Barrientos started transitioning into the shipping and receiving manager position, a vital part of screenprinting and embroidery production. J. Barrientos was born and raised in Albany, OR and one of his biggest values is family which makes his time at Noble Works incredibly meaningful for him.
What’s the hardest part about your job?
“I would say the hardest part, even though it’s probably the simplest part, is ordering and keeping track of the quantities. It’s important to be fully focused because you could make a mistake by ordering too much or too little. I try my best to eliminate any distractions I can.”
How do you balance being in college and work?
“It’s been kind of hard, especially when soccer season came around. I had to toss around soccer, school, and work. Not to mention, I was also in a relationship at that time. So trying to balance the four was stressful. But I got through it and for anyone reading who’s a working student-athlete, I encourage creating a calendar so that you can manage your time for all your commitments. Don’t forget to make time for your friends too.”
What are you studying?
“At first I was pursuing education to become a teacher. But once I got more into this job, I started to get interested in the marketing process for businesses. So once I resume school, I’ll be going back for marketing and maybe one day I could start something related to sports marketing at Noble Works.”
What inspired you to switch your career focus to marketing?
“It’s always been an interest of mine since high school. But once I started watching Ariel work closely with clients it drew my attention more. I started seeing the process it took to help businesses create their own branded products, as well as helping them understand the right demographics to market their services to.”
What’s it like working in a family business?
“Pros and cons. I think it’s cool but sometimes it can be overwhelming because I know I’m always around two family members. At times I just want my space, but there’s also times where I don’t see them a lot of the day. So sometimes it almost feels like they’re not here. I like that I get to spend more time with my family now than before working at Noble.”
What’s it like to be the youngest employee?
“I don’t really think about being the youngest employee nor does it mean anything to me. I still show up to work like everyone else. That’s what I like about Noble, whether you’re the oldest or youngest, no one treats you different.”
What are some lessons you’ve learned here at Noble that you haven’t learned anywhere else?
“Similar to what I mentioned earlier, it’s important to stay focused. With the position I’m in, if I’m not transparent when I mess up with my boss or coworkers, it could damage the flow of how production runs here. I try not to dwell on my mistakes and continue to make sure that production stays running smoothly. No matter how much I want to rush jobs, my past mistakes have taught me to be slow and steady. That way I don’t miss any steps and make sure everything is properly executed.”
How has the pandemic affected your job this year?
“Oh, man. Better question is, what hasn’t it done to my job? Before, apparel was always in stock. Since the pandemic hit, access to in stock items has been more difficult and we’ve had to extend our due dates. It got to the point where shipping would be delayed up to three weeks. It’s been madness for me and the rest of Noble. We’ve continued to be flexible and adjust operations when needed. The best we can do right now to control the situation is communicate with our clients and help them understand what we’re dealing with. We’ve been very lucky to have clients that are super understanding and patient with us during these times.”
How has the Noble Works community grown?
“In terms of community we have a wide variety of people that come and place orders with us. Often when I talk to clients I get to hear the stories of when they started their businesses. There’s a lot of interesting people I get to meet and always enjoy when they share life stories with us. We’ve tried really hard to get our brand out more into the community. One of the first things we started doing was handing out a lot of our Noble Works gear to our clients, friends and family. It’s been really cool to see how far our brand has been able to reach different people. I never thought that we would scale this quickly for the amount of time we’ve been open. There’s been many times now where I’ve walked around Salem or Albany, and I see people I don’t know wearing the brand. It gives me hope that company is continuing to grow.”
What kind of impact do you think Noble Works has had?
“Client wise, Noble helps businesses be seen by providing marketing/advertising services that help their brand grow. Clients come up with lots of their own branding ideas and need help with bringing that idea to life. That’s where we come in. It’s always a cool feeling seeing our client’s eyes light up when we exceed their expectations. Personally wise, to be able to see my brother launch his own business and help contribute to the company’s success is something I’m incredibly proud of and grateful for.”