This week’s featured designers are Whitney and Julie Teska of Orchard Street Press! This husband and wife have teamed up to create an incredible brand, all while creating an even more incredible bond! This is a must read story that you won’t want to miss:
1. Can you give a brief description of what your business is all about, in general?
We are two entities, actually. Orchard Street Press our sustainable screen printing and graphic design company. We print apparel, accessories, posters, patches and other merchandise for businesses, bands, organizations and events; custom fabric for designers; and limited-edition prints for museums and artists.
Orchard Street Apparel is our retail line that we design and print ourselves. We make clothes for old souls. We’re nostalgic for the past with our eyes set on the future. With a commitment to responsible and ethical printing practices, we work with eco-friendly, waterbased inks to produce prints that are as soft on you as they are on the environment.
2. What is the history behind your business?
Orchard Street Press is a love story — both for us owners, husband-and-wife duo Whitney and Julie Teska — but also for the creative process involved in bringing a garment to life with inks and artwork.
Growing up playing in bands, my husband Whitney learned to screen print the punk rock way — self-taught with homemade equipment. He later employed some of those same D.I.Y. values when we started our own business in 2008.
Orchard Street Press is named for the street that housed our first basement print shop. It was a pretty little farmhouse somewhat oddly placed in the heart of an industrial area of Milwaukee; it was where our love and our creativity grew. We didn’t know very much about business at the time, though we managed to convince the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to give us a chance by taking first place in their business planning competition. Our goal was simple: Provide eco-friendly screenprinting on ethically-produced garments.
Screen-printing has historically been an industry of environmentally harmful plastisol inks containing gender-bending phthalates and harsh solvent chemicals. OSP was committed from the start to breaking that pollution cycle and was ahead of the vast majority of print shops in exclusively using phthalate-free plastisol and environmentally-friendly soy-based biodegradable cleaners.
In 2011 we launched our own apparel and accessories line – Orchard Street Apparel – that we design and print at Orchard Street Press!
3. Where does your inspiration come from for your work?
We love Milwaukee and believe in the unique spirit its supportive community of local entrepreneurs has helped create. Many of the designs found in our shop reflect this admiration for our Midwestern home on the Great Lake.
4. What is your favorite part about your business?
Being an entrepreneur is hard work, but we both thrive on this challenge. We love being 100% responsible for our output; the color choices, the fabric texture, the fit of the garment, the way in which it’s printed. These creative decisions are the most fun part of the job, but we also love the technical side of running a business and getting people interested in our work.
5. What is your favorite craft that you make for your business?
We’ve been getting really excited about a new design concept we’ve been playing around with lately. My husband Whitney is a huge history buff and we both have a love for antiques and treasures of the past. This has inspired us to create new apparel designs based on historical flags from the Revolutionary and Civil War periods. We are getting a great response so far and it’s encouraging us to branch out into other mediums. Our goal is to screen print cotton remakes of antique U.S. flags.
6. Do you have any future plans for your business?
We want to continue to grow both sides of the company — the screenprinting and the apparel. Our ultimate dream is to move into a building big enough to accommodate our print shop but also have an area for a small boutique where we could sell our garments.
7. What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to get into the craft business?
Know your market, and don’t try to appeal to the masses. Find the niche that suits you (and that you’re inherently passionate about) and focus your creative energy into making the best unique products you can dream up.
Want to learn more about these wonderful designers? Check out their websites listed below!