Growing a Screenprinting Business From Scratch

Growing a Screenprinting Business From Scratch

by Susan Neuhalfen

Lantana resident Heather Searcy was feeling a little discouraged when she wasn’t able to secure a full-time teaching position at an area elementary school. She told her husband, Brian, that she wanted to work but wanted the freedom to be home for their two young girls. That’s when she came across something unusual.

It was an ad for someone selling screenprinting equipment. Heather had no experience and had not considered it, so she did what any interested party would do – she turned to YouTube.

“I started watching YouTube videos on how to do screen printing,” said Heather, laughing. “I thought to myself, hey this is something I could do.”

As soon as Brian got home she talked to him about it. They prayed about it and felt led to continue so they went to Austin. An old friend who owns a company in Lewisville gave her a quick lesson and she immediately went to work.

Her first job was shirts for Lantana’s Scout Troop 99. She proudly hangs one in the front hall of Lantern Ink’s new location because it reminds her of how they began. After doing a few jobs and learning as she went, Heather took another class to learn a little more. The instructor gave her some advice she’ll never forget:

It’s not hard in this business to stand out. Be on time and be willing to do whatever it takes.

Heather took this advice to heart and she never looked back.

After three years of working out of her garage, the business was growing and she needed more room. They rented space in Argyle and purchased an automatic press, hiring high school students to work part time. One day, an employee of another screenprinting company in the same complex came to meet Heather. She was looking for extra money to pay medical bills and asked if she could put in some hours. In addition to being a very hard worker, Ginger had the experience of being a floor manager for the other screen printer and had several years and several jobs under her belt. Her connection become instrumental in what happened next for Lantern Ink.

The people who owned the shop where Ginger worked were thinking about moving the business to another state while Heather was looking to expand again.

Lantern Ink purchased the business and with it got not only more equipment and a larger space, but a group of employees with unprecedented knowledge and work ethic.

“These people are family to us,” said Heather of Ginger and her staff. “We are so blessed to have them here.”

Heather had been so caught up trying to keep up with everyday work, she wasn’t able to learn and grow the business like she’d wanted. The new addition helped her to focus on her strengths.

“I love to be creative, but I’m a type A personality so I’m about quality and on time work,” she said. “One thing I’ve learned here is that it’s better to be an expert at one thing and do it right.”

For Heather, the most important thing is to stand by Lantern Ink’s philosophy of always delivering great quality and great service.

“We don’t argue with the clients, they are always right in our book,” said Heather. “Every day we stand by our philosophy and we’re so proud of what we’ve built.”

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