The funniest couple in screen printing, Barrel Maker Printing's Justin and Erin Moore, join us for Printavo's PrintHustlers Podcast (aka "Printavocast," according to Justin and Erin). They've grown a print shop from an operation in a drafty apartment to a modern print-on-demand experience backed by a formidable live printing operating. What does it take to be a close-knit family, raise children, and manage a fast-growing screen printing operation? Here's two people that have made it happen.
3:55 How it all began: “I got fired. I got an unemployment check. Instead of paying rent or buying groceries, I bought a press.”
WHY BARREL MAKER WORKS: "Every single day I operate as though we're going out of business," explains Justin. He's built a robust website and e-commerce juggernaut to back it up – "I feel like it’s a fine line between doing well and living on the streets homeless." There's one thing that's kept them profitable: a search for someone who understands that the key is keeping product moving out the door. Despite that, hiring people that will stay for the long haul is always a challenge: "So, bigger picture, you have to think about the fact that: maybe in 2 years this person will leave and we’ll need someone else for this role."
54:00 Live printing events: What's that like? Why do it?
WHAT'S NEXT FOR BARREL MAKER: "I'm of the mindset that if you get something the next day, you're going to be happier," Justin says. Print-on-demand (1:06:30) has become a hot topic in the industry, and they're creating their own model that works with what consumers expect. "There's this whole Amazon culture: people want things quickly."
Are they going to grow into something like Custom Ink? Probably not. “Barrel Maker has run on spontaneous, creative energy. It might just die in a board room," Justin says.
BALANCING FAMILY AND THE SHOP: "One person’s stress ruins another person’s good time," Erin says. Since Erin runs the how and Justin works on the what, they're often out of sync. The solution? "We stopped working together," Erin laughs. From working in 2,000 square feet with 3 presses (11:35) to building a solid internship program (19:10), Barrel Maker and the family behind the business have crafted a Chicago print icon while growing a family.
A huge thanks to Justin and Erin for taking the time to chat with us!
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