We were recently asked to share some info about Offbeat Press by one of our screen-printing t-shirt suppliers and I wanted to share the info here for our customers.
- How did you get involved in screen-printing t-shirts?
With a graphic design and fine art background from U-W Stevens Point, I first began Progress Label clothing brand straight out of college and have steadily grown that small business to serve an niche customer-base. Offbeat Press print shop was created because my retail clothing brand – Progress label, needed a quality, local water-based screen printing t-shirt shop after our California-based contract printer went out of business and left Progress in a bad spot. I took that problem and created a solution for Progress Label as well as an opportunity to serve others. Progress Label is just one of hundreds of customers that we serve in a variety of markets.
- What do you like about screen-printing t-shirts?
We love the hands-on aspect of the process. We are a 100% manual print shop, meaning our presses are only human-powered. We employ skilled craftsmen and craftswomen, which allows us to do all the basics very well, and do a lot of unconventional printing as well. As an illustrator and designer, I love seeing the design process begin with thumbnail scribbles, pen and ink hand-drawn on paper, and go through the computer design process and before returning to that hand-printed dynamic. With so much technology in the world, the basics of screenprinting haven’t changed in over 50+ years. The products, techniques and technology have made it safer and quicker and more efficient, but the printing process remains.
- How long have you been in business?
Before opening Offbeat Press, I was self-employed as a freelance designer and owner of Progress Label clothing. With my clothing label growing, I was frequently hired to design other apparel graphics for bands, organizations and businesses – thus the transition to opening my own print shop was pretty natural. By mid 2008, I had committed to opening an awesome screen-printing t-shirt shop in Oshkosh, WI. Offbeat Press was begun as one of the Midwest’s first full-service, 100% manual, water-based screenprinting shop in December of 2008, however that is only part of what sets us apart.
- What is your favorite brand or favorite apparel for screen-printing?
We pride ourselves on quality and an often overlooked part of having quality shirts made is to start with quality blanks. We prefer ringspun cotton fabrics to the basics and we really like the triblends. Every brand has their own style, our favorites are Royal, Next Level, Canvas, Anvil, American Apparel, Independent & Alternative, but we also work with the basics and a whole lot more.
- What has been your favorite order?
We really like working with musicians, artists, organizations, restaurants, and businesses that we support. As a small creative business, it’s rewarding to know that the people and businesses that we support also support us. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to print for many of our favorite bands, artists, businesses and organizations on a regular basis, both in Oshkosh and far beyond.
- What are some of the challenges your business has had to overcome?
There are daily and weekly challenges both technical and business-related. I started Offbeat in a small way with a small seed investment, we doubled in size and then doubled twice more in just a handful of years. Small business growth brings challenges with new responsibilities, new roles and employees to manage. With a background in graphic design and fine art, I didn’t learn these skills in school – I learned them at the print shop.
- What do you think sets your business apart from other print shops?
There are many things that set us apart as a great print shop. We are a young and fun group of skilled designers and printers with a good deal of experience. We know graphic design and we can design in ways that will save printing costs and save time. We also can talk with designers about the specifics of their orders and understand the design details and challenges and opportunities to make their concept best come to life. On the print side of things we offer specialty print locations, specialty inks and as we mentioned before Offbeat Press is a full-service water-based screen-printing shop. Heres’s more info about our print services.
- What is something cool about your business that not a lot of people know about?
Offbeat Press has a fake owner. When we began Offbeat Press, we had regular telemarketers calling to try to sell us all the crap that we don’t need or want. From the beginning, we told telemarketers that they needed to talk to the owner Carol Waddington and she only works Sundays and holidays. For over 5 years, we’ve created dozens of stories about our fictional business owner, animal hoarder, international ringmaster, etc. Carol has received hundreds of phone calls, junk mail, credit card offers and more. The truth is Carol doesn’t exist but in creating her out of our own enjoyment, we have also saved dozens of headaches from being trapped by telemarketers.