19 - How This Couple Started a Letterpress Brand to Create Beautiful Art and Preserve History
“It really is a case of a rising tide lifts all boats. Other artists doing well makes the markets we’re at better, which brings more people, which means we do better. So it’s definitely something where the incredible community allows us to do what we do.”
On the podcast this week, Emily chats with Tammy and Adam Winn, owners of Red Door Press. Red Door Press is a letterpress print shop specializing in hand-printed cards, broadsides, social stationery, gig and event posters, corporate branding, workshops and much more.
In 2008 Tammy went through a career change and was in search of a creative outlet as a result. After taking a class at the Des Moines Art Center, she ended up finding and purchasing an old printing press that was about to be thrown away. Her desire for creativity combined with the idea that she could help preserve this technique drove this decision despite the fact that she had no idea how to restore or use the press. The 1,500 lb printing press moved into her garage and was the piece of equipment that ultimately started the journey to starting a business.
In support of his wife’s passion, Adam leaned in to support rather than resist the takeover of the garage. Together they began to learn from an older generation of printers who were gracious enough to share the history, techniques, equipment, type, and much wisdom. They attended their first market with little experience and that led to being invited to another, which led to another, and they soon were included in a lot of indie craft markets throughout the community. Over the years participation has grown and in 2019 they attended 75 different events; all the while both are employed full time outside of the print shop.
This is one of the very things that make Tammy and Adam, and their business, unique. Having their full time jobs allows them to not worry about their basic cost of living, allowing them to create simply because they want to rather than because they have to. This has expanded their freedom and creativity in intentionally making things that they feel are one of a kind, valuable, spread an important message, and are desired by their customers...the stuff you can’t just find in any home decor store.
Don’t miss this fascinating episode as Tammy and Adam dive into what starting a business in a “supposedly” dead industry entails, how they give back and share with the next generation of printers, and their hopes for the future of Red Door Press.
Tune in for topics like:
- What letterpress printing actually means
- How having foresight into business purchases is important
- Why knowing your strengths and those of your business partner is important for teamwork
- The importance of supporting the community around you
Links from the episode:
- Visit the Red Door Press website to view their prints and learn more
- Follow Red Door Press on instagram for new designs and behind the scenes at the shop
- Free Training – Sign up + learn how to generate consistent sales for your local business WITHOUT a complicated or expensive marketing strategy
- Follow me (Emily Steele) (Love Local) on Instagram for a little business + a little life, and a whole lot of positive energy!