Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Anthony.
Hi Josh, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
We’ve been in business for over 35 years and I grew up in the shop but I’ll try to be brief…
Our mom, Cindy Porter, started the company in 1987 as a result of printing shirts and hats for her softball league on a small hobby press. Everyone loved the quality of her work and it was clear there was an opportunity to turn the side hustle into a career. Along with the slogan “Our prints speak for themselves” she named her company Silkscreams. Mom screen printed custom shirts and hats through the nineties and into the new millennium, adding embroidery, heat pressing, and vinyl lettering along the way.
Meanwhile, I’m growing up alongside the company and the technology. I took tons of art classes in school and tried to help with production in any way a kid really could. Stacking shirts, washing screens, and mesmerized by our new 1995 Apple Power Mac, I started playing with the art programs. By 14 I was on the press and creating some client art during the Summer. I worked for Silkscreams on and off into my twenties. Trying other types of work here and there but nothing really stuck. Always finding my way back to printing. Then in 2008, the economy crashed. We went from 12 employees to almost none within a year. It just plain sucked.
Mom understandably was looking to take a quieter role in the company after the crash took it’s toll. Apropos of that decision, my studious sister Samantha, graduated from college with a business degree. She was the best person to take the helm and right the ship. She saved the company by cutting waste and paying debts. It took a few years to stabilize, but Silkscreams was growing again.
After all this, I spent some time on a walkabout. Living in far-flung places, working for much bigger shops in other states. I learned a lot from these experiences. A lot about myself and a lot about the industry. I saw how a printing company should and should not be run. I found out how much I knew and didn’t know. It really shaped my identity as a printer. I was ready to come back home.
Once back at Silkscreams, I became concerned about a hypothetical, super slick and well-branded competitor coming to town and eating our lunch. Tired of this feeling, I decided we should become the type of company we were afraid of (kinda like Batman lol) Me, Samantha, and Josie, another sister with an equally compelling story, went to work modernizing Silkscreams. Bringing in what used to be intimidating tech, initializing systems and creating processes, chucking outdated equipment and methods. Not to mention refocusing our niche. And well, here we are. Better than ever but always focused on finding more effective ways to complete our mission: Deliver high-quality work with great customer service.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Has it been a smooth road for anyone? If it’s smooth now, look out! Struggle is on its way! Just kidding. Hang in there, you got it.
I’ve struggled with ADHD my whole life, finally getting a diagnosis and treatment a couple of years ago. I was afraid to start anything complicated or tedious because I just knew I wouldn’t be able to see it through. Once I lost interest it was almost painful to proceed with a challenge. You can imagine how difficult it could be trying to build a modern business under these circumstances. Everything nowadays is complicated and tedious haha. I still get it done though.
I really think most of my struggles outside of ADHD were actually coping mechanisms for the distress caused by the condition itself. Pretty wild huh?
As you know, we’re big fans of Silkscreams. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We’re family-owned. My sisters and I run the company mom created 35 years ago. It’s special to us. We fought to keep it going all these years.
You should know we really care about whether or not our clients like our work. That’s what keeps us going. I asked Samantha to come and get me when someone picks up so I can be a part of the excitement. Or the flip side of that coin, be there to listen if they’re unsatisfied. This way I can understand the issue and resolve the situation. It keeps me up at night if I know someone is out there thinking we did wrong by them. I’ll always work toward resolution.
We specialize in serving small to medium-sized businesses and organizations with screen printing, embroidery, and other branding methods. Our clients are just like us. Balancing work and family. We know they don’t want to spend much time sourcing shirts and hats for their employees. So we put a lot of time into streamlining our ordering process to the point of almost concierge-level service.
If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I was polite but rambunctious. Often the class clown. I was into drawing though. I’d draw elaborate pirate ships on the back of my worksheets at school. Probably a few parent-teacher conferences about that. Kids would ask me to draw stuff for them. Batman. Dinosaurs, dinosaurs in a Batman costume, typical kid stuff. I wanted acceptance and approval like anyone else. I was smart but couldn’t deliver on it cuz ADHD. Hence the pirate ships on the worksheets. To be fair, those ships were period accurate.