Do you remember the days when you had just started screen printing? Grinding out orders in a basement or spare bedroom, using bare minimum equipment, making the dollars stretch to buy another quart of ink or emulsion. Creating and growing a screen printing business requires patience, hustle, and determination to embrace the grind.
Owner of Golden Press Studio Jonathan Overmyer has not forgotten the earlier days in his screen printing career. He worked out of his garage, persuading clients to choose vintage prints because he didn’t have a flash dryer.
“Uh, I remember those days,” Jonathan said. “It sucked. It takes a lot of time.”
When Jonathan was scrolling through posts on the Rogue Printers Facebook Group one night, a post stopped him in his tracks. A new printer in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a few hours away from his shop, was washing out screens in a car wash.
“That wasn’t the first time I’ve seen that,” Jonathan said.”What I saw was the car wash’s name and its location. I thought, ‘Man that guy’s local. That’s cool.’ And I just went down the rabbit trail of seeing what this guy is doing. If he’s at a car wash, he’s just starting out. Or has everything going and washout is like the one problem.”
That’s how Jonathan met Joey Avila, new screen printer and owner of Avila Design Co.
Joey had been working within the graphic design industry for the past five years. During his previous job at a sticker company, Joey started to dabble in screen printing.
“I love digital design and all, but I really like being hands-on,” Joey said.
He went to Hobby Lobby and bought a Speedball screen printing kit in early August. It was a great way to get a taste of the art and process, but Joey knew that he needed to upgrade the equipment and supplies if he wanted to get serious about screen printing.
“I knew that with COVID and everything, it would probably be safe to have a side hustle,” Joey said.
His side hustle became his full-time gig once he was let go from the sticker company. Joey decided to go all in. With his dad’s help, he bought a Riley Hopkins 150 Press, snagged a few screens off of Facebook Marketplace (which also came with a free bucket of emulsion), purchased a heat gun, and got some ink.
Photo by Golden Press Studio.
Joey displayed patience and determination to a whole new level. He printed in a spare bedroom in his home. He cured shirts in an oven, placing them in one at a time, taking ten minutes to cure. He had to expose his screens outside in the sun, checking the weather for the week and planning days to coat and expose screens. He went to car washes to wash out screens.
“I was like, ‘Dude you’re serious,’” Jonathan said. “‘You’re more committed than I was when starting out.’”
The two messaged back and forth. Jonathan had his old equipment stored in his shed. He had thought about selling the equipment on Craigslist, but hadn’t found the time to do it. Learning more about Joey and his story, Jonathan knew Joey would benefit greatly from receiving new equipment.
“I’m just going to help a brother out,” Jonathan said. “I just wanted to see what he needs and I was like, ‘Man let’s make this a big deal and really hook him up.’ That was the start.”
Joey was under the impression that he was going to receive two flash dryers and an exposure unit. The guys at Golden Press Studio had a bigger idea.
“You hold off on equipment to the latest, possible point,” Jonathan said. “You’re trying to make it through and it’s just this realization of, ‘Man, what if he had everything? What if he just had it all?’ That worry would be off and he would be instantly ready to start focusing on the craft.”
The crew loaded up their truck with an exposure unit, washout booth, power washer, two flash dryers, squeegees, platens, whole line of FN-INK™, spatulas, water-based pallet adhesive, EZ Grip Squeegees, scale, screen tape, and a conveyor dryer.
“Why go 90% when you can go 100%?” Jonathan asked.
Off they went, taking the day off to bring Joey his new gear. When the gang arrived, Joey had no idea what was about to happen. Jonathan rolled back the topper to reveal all the new equipment and supplies. Joey was flabbergasted.
“I was like, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’” Joey said.
“It was like watching your kid open something on Christmas,” Videographer Jarred Day said. “You know what’s inside, but they don’t know. They’re about to get that face of like, ‘You got it? It came? It’s really here?!’”
Joey was most surprised to see the conveyor dryer.
“I probably would not have had this conveyor until next year,” he said.
The supplies also helped bring Joey to a whole new level. He had one color of FN-INK™ in his cart, but hadn’t purchased it because he didn’t have the cash for it yet.
“Ink is such a big deal when you’re starting out,” Jarred said. “Most printers when they’re starting out are in Catch-22 of like, ‘I need this ink for this special, one-time job for this guy’s order but I can’t afford it. But I need to complete the job to pay for the ink but I need the ink to complete the job. It’s sitting in my cart on Ryonet’s website.’ That’s the case for so many people.”
Photo by Golden Press Studio.
Receiving all the equipment and supplies has made the world of a difference for Joey. His processes have sped up; he’s able to complete orders more efficiently.
“I didn’t know how much hard work I had to put in to get the little bit of results I was getting and that amplified when Golden came in,” Joey said.
But why? Why go through all this time and money to help a new screen printer? Even Joey was surprised at Golden Press Studio’s willingness and eagerness to give him all the gear.
“We just feel like we’re really in a blessed position,” Jarred said. “Ryonet has been able to come and fill in a lot of needs we have. Not everyone gets that opportunity. We recognize that. We’re in a special position and it seems kinda goofy to us to nickel and dime someone online to sell equipment when we can just hook someone up like how we’ve been hooked up.”
Plus, the team simply wanted to help a printer bypass the difficult climb of expanding a shop and help a friend provide for himself and his family.
“The Bible says, ‘It’s more blessed to give than to receive,’ and it really is that,” Jonathan said. “I was like an ear-to-ear grin because I knew he was going to be blown away. I was just really stoked for him to have a complete setup because I knew he would be able to start cranking out orders and not spend an endless amount of time on one shirt.”
The experience has already paid off. Several potential clients have seen the video and have reached out to Joey about some pretty hefty orders. He’s now able to help out these people because of the equipment he now has.
“If you put good stuff out there, if you sow good seeds, you reap good harvest,” Jarred said. “That was the idea behind it. Let’s just see what happens. That email [from the potential client] is proof.”
Crazy enough, Jonathan didn’t even want to film the experience. He didn’t want to look like he wanted a pat on the back, receive sarcastic comments, etc. He just wanted to give Joey the items and leave it at that.
“Jonathan didn’t come in one day and say, ‘Alright I got a video idea. I want to give some equipment away. Let’s find somebody.’ It didn’t go that way,” Jarred said. “He was like, ‘Hey man, this guy I saw on our printer group last night just inspired me man. I think we can help.’ That was the motivation for it all; we were so inspired.”
Photo by Golden Press Studio.
The inspiration Jarred felt about the experience drove him to film it. He wanted to share it with the community to motivate others to do the same.
“That was the goal, to inspire people to maybe do the same, look for opportunities to help someone out,” Jarred said. “Whether that’s sharing knowledge in a community group or letting some guy become an apprentice for you for a little while, do something to give back.”