When I was younger and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up – I didn’t really know how to answer. Did other people really have that figured out already? I knew that I wanted to be able to use my creativity in whatever career I chose, but I couldn’t think of a certain field I would enjoy. College came and I was still clueless. I took some visual arts and business classes hoping that inspiration would strike – but still nothing. After graduating with a degree in Communications just to have something to show for my time at university, I moved home and was just kind of stuck. Living in a small town, there weren’t a ton of options so I got a couple of part time jobs and tried to figure myself out. But after a while, I still didn’t feel like I was anywhere close to finding my dream job… so I made one up.
I was gifted a hobby screen printer for Christmas and got to work making myself goofy t-shirts. I had no idea what I was doing and my work was by no means professional-grade, but I was having a good time. Later that year, I came up with a fun design for an upcoming town holiday and put it up on Facebook to see if anyone else might like one. Two hundred shirts (that I had to iron by hand) later, I realized that maybe this was something that could be more than a hobby.
The unknown is scary and the idea of starting my own business seemed like a huge risk. My advice to anyone starting their own business, or anything new really, is this:
"You’re going to second guess yourself, but persevere. Every accomplishment begins when you decide to try."
So, we jumped in with both feet. In 2010, my husband and I found a local company that sold industrial screen printers, bought tons of supplies, set up accounts with wholesalers and tried to figure out what we were doing. In the beginning we made a ton of mistakes as we worked out the kinks, but we learned from each one and finally got the hang of it. We began reaching out to local schools and businesses and, thankfully, orders started rolling in. I am so thankful to those first customers who took a chance on us, spread the word, and came back time and time again with more orders.
Currently our screen printing company, IndiPrints Screen Printing & Design, does custom screen printing orders for individuals, organizations, schools and sports teams who come to us with their own designs or just ideas of what they’re looking for. I love being able to take someone’s seed of an idea and make it come to life for them. IndiPrints will turn five years old in October and every year has been better than the last. We always want to keep growing and adding new facets to our company - we’ve added an embroidery machine to our shop to give our customers more options, and just last month we launched Raconteur T’s on Etsy which is our line of apparel that will feature our original designs.
On top of IndiPrints, I’ve kept the job that I got right out of college at a small independent bookstore because I love to read and talk about books. I love the diversity and change of pace working both jobs allows me – it keeps life interesting. At first, I kept my bookselling job to be able to pay the bills while we started our own company, but now I stay because I love it and it makes me happy. My boss at Liberty Bay Books is an incredible business woman in her own right and has been an invaluable mentor to me in running my own small business. Finding someone who can give you advice from their own experiences is so beneficial and can really help you work through any of the obstacles that you’re bound to encounter.
Even though I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, I knew that I wanted to love my job. I couldn’t imagine going to work every day and being miserable. Now I get to work from home, work when I want to and hang out with my dog while I’m doing it – life is good.