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Tony and I recently got the opportunity to relocate to Dallas to what might have been Tony’s absolute dream graphic design job.  He did an internship there a year ago and absolutely loved it. Sadly, after some research about the cost of living in Dallas and the options we had available for housing and a job for me, we ultimately decided to stay Home. I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Should we have done it as scary as it seemed? Should we have uprooted our lives and pursued the shop down there? The economy is so much better there.  As we approach the dreadful winter months here in the mitten it’s hard to think that we could be living somewhere right now where 20 degrees is a “harsh” winter day when that’s a sign of spring approaching here. I’m not sure our start up funds would have been gone as far there so I am optimistic that once word of mouth spreads about our shop, we will know that we made a good decision.

 

I hate talking about money.  It makes me so uncomfortable. Determining prices for the shop is undoubtedly the hardest thing about being in business. I wish I could give everything we make away for free because I absolutely love seeing the joy on someone’s face when they are holding one of our prints, but we are trying to make this our bread and butter. I don’t want to work two jobs forever. Life is so expensive. Mortgage, health insurance, groceries, etc. it’s never ending.  We have been adjusting prices to gauge the market and it’s been sort of a ride.  Americans have grown so accustom to cheap products that it makes it so difficult for the little guy. How do we change that mentality?  Still working on that one. Any ideas out there, send them our way.  Not just for our shops but all small business. How do we restore our pride in products made by American hands? How do we get back to the days of you know someone’s name when you walk into his or her shop? My name is Kristen- Come in and say hello.

 

There are moments of pride for my city and this place we call the Mitten. We recently started printing the urban style Man Hole printing. It’s exactly what it sounds like. We spread ink over a Lansing manhole and block print on an apparel item. I have no doubt that’s going to be popular. My favorite part of offering this so far have been the reason for the sales we have gotten on it lately. One woman is sending a sweatshirt to her son who is in the military right now. She is sending him a reminder of Home. Another man ordered a blanket for his best buddy that moved across the county to California. The things that we make in this shop bring people together on their common ground, Home. That’s an amazing feeling. Between you and me, manhole is a pain in the ass print to achieve. Knowing the story behind the sale, makes all the headache and inevitable F-bombs totally worth it. I love what we do and I think we made the right decision. We are Mitten born and Lansing natives. This city made us, it’s the least we can do to play a role in its revival. There’s cool shit to do in this city, you just have to know where to find it and be willing to put down your phone for a second. Be willing to get out of the house and have real experiences with real human beings.

Tony WilsonALT Printing Co