Success Fits a Local Screen Printing Business Perfectly | Company

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Arguably, the t-shirt makers and screen printing companies had a love/hate relationship with how the pandemic affected them. On the one hand, schools closed, high school sports stopped; recreational leagues went on hiatus; gatherings were limited; concerts passed over in silence. All of this tore the very fabric of industries apart.

But, as companies searched for ways to win back customers’ attention and rekindle people’s interest in doing things away from home again, t-shirt makers and screen printing companies found a solution. opportunity.

And then you have Hillsborough-based Small Town Screenprinting, which launched its small business just over six months before Covid-19 restrictions were put in place. The company had barely taken off before being grounded. But that meant he had little to lose and a lot to gain.

“We were just starting out; we work from home and we have other jobs,” said Brett Horiuchi, who runs Small Town Screenprinting with his wife. “It wasn’t the rent, it wasn’t the mortgage. I don’t want to say it helped, but it was one of those things that wasn’t as stressful as the others. We didn’t have to struggle to keep a business going. Because it was a slow time, we appreciated the work we got. Throughout Covid, we’ve been pretty steady because I think companies were like, ‘Hey, we need to generate as much business as possible.’

Horiuchi mainly worked as a graphic designer. He had a friend who did screen printing, and Horiuchi was intrigued by his work and saw it as an opportunity and a challenge to learn something new. His friend advised him to go for it and choose the equipment that would suit what he wanted to do.

What was appropriate for Horiuchi and his wife’s business was being able to take on business that they could manage with, preferably, no more than two weeks. This allows Small Town Screenprinting to continue and be available for small orders.

Over the past year, Horiuchi said, business has picked up. The company has printed t-shirts for Orange High School, Hillsborough Cheer and Dance Co., Wooden Nickel, and Alamance Community College, to name a few.

“We go for anything,” he said. “Some people say ‘What’s your minimum? Many stores have a minimum. We have a minimum, but it’s smaller than most. We don’t post them as much on social media, but it’s one of those quirky things that people appreciate, and you never know. It could turn into “My husband has a landscaping business” or “My wife has this”. We try not to refuse any work. It’s just kind of a funny thing. It’s a bit underappreciated. When you bring a design to the table for someone, or bring someone a shirt. They get excited. I am sometimes surprised at how excited people are.

Small Town Screenprinting has handled orders of up to 900 t-shirts, which Horiuchi says is great, but almost pushes their comfort level to deliver the finished product.

“We like to say 14 days, but it feels really good when we can do it in a week and say, ‘Hey, we’re done,'” he said. “It is these larger orders that, since we are smaller, push us to meet this deadline. It is a problem? No, but we would like to shoot to do it sooner. Everyone likes to be surprised.

Small Town Screenprinters operates out of an 860 square foot building behind the owners’ house. It’s big enough for a six-color hand press, flash dryer, screen storage, computer, place to fold and stack orders, storage for t-shirts, work tables and some other equipment and supplies. And, of course, room to work. But Horiuchi said he was happy with the space and was glad he didn’t have to pay to rent space for his and his wife’s business. And he keeps in mind the advice of the same friend who got him started.

“Never go past the building,” Horiuchi said. “Just do what you can, but don’t overdo it. Grow it slowly. Be smart because once you start growing you start thinking about renting more space. It puts constraints on you. It puts pressure on you. If you play smart and build it the way you want, and run the commercial load you want, at the pace you want, that’s a much smarter way to do business.

Horiuchi said that although he has now produced thousands of different t-shirts, the excitement he feels after printing a new t-shirt design has not yet waned. In fact, he said he’s probably noticing the other t-shirts’ work more than ever. And he never tires of watching the faces of his clients as they see their creations come to life.

“When you pull out the t-shirt and show them, they’re like, ‘That’s exactly it. I can’t believe we’re here. I can’t believe it’s right in front of us. A lot of people in this industry would say they want all the big companies Well it’s really the smaller ones who are just starting out and wanting to be known that you want to help the most This t-shirt could be a stepping stone for that this small business becomes what she hopes for.

Small Town Screenprinting can be found on Instagram at @smalltownscreenprintingnc.

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