WKND Press

Maker Spotlight

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WKND Press first caught our eye with their attention to detail, the beautiful collection of vintage-inspired and modern designs, and their appreciation to the traditional letterpress craft. Meet Shawn and Becca, the designers and printers behind WKND Press!
 
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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind it?

When we opened shop, most of our printing was done on the weekend. Although we were located in Austin, our equipment was down the street in New Braunfels. Production volume increased and we were able to relocate our press. Now things operate more like we’re Evrydy Press, but I still want to keep the passion-project vibe that grew out of limitations we’ve faced (geographic, and other).

Have you always been passionate about design?

Yes. Letterpress printing has been a recent adventure, but I’ve been around studio art and design for most of my life.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

My wife and I were planning a wedding at the beginning of 2014, which provided the perfect opportunity to get hands-on with wedding invitations. It was important to us that our invitations be well-produced, so rather than shelling out for decent printing, we bought a press. Over the next few months we developed a business plan and started rolling.

What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

The coordination of design and print is something that usually exists in two different environments. Since our expertise spans both, we’re working on products that showcase this overlap and give us more room for experimentation from screen to paper.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

If you haven’t spent time mixing inks, calibrating roller levels, and adjusting the depth of an impression on press, it might seem like everything just sorta works when you put it all together. The most important insight we’ve pickup up on is that time spent aiming for accuracy and precision on the front end is much easier than readjusting after you’ve made 1000 of something. It takes misprints and errors to remind us of this on a regular basis. Craft is important, and learning all of the caveats of a printing press is part of the job.

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

Of course! I think time is the biggest one. As much as running a business means you sacrifice financially to get things off the ground, I think giving up time and energy to try things is even more significant. Maybe the occasional all-nighters we have are a little discouraging, but I definitely don’t regret the investment of time.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

Our first pop-up show. There’s something really great about interacting with your client. It somehow makes the entire thing feel legitimate for the first time. You’ve been working on something with a bit of isolation from your audience, and suddenly you get to see people interact with the product.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

We love Austin! One of our greatest assets is the size of the print, paper and design community in this city. We’ve met so many great people who have been our suppliers, supports and friends. Austin has been a direct influence in our custom work, since we’re printing artwork for local creatives.

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

My wife and I both have similar personalities in that we enjoy coordinating lots of moving parts. Even though our experiences never intersected with the print industry before Wknd Press, our combined experiences include retail, production, design, marketing, customer service and management. Running a business takes a little bit of everything to make it work well.

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

The anticipation and pleasure of doing something from start to finish that is mostly contained in itself. Our company has the freedom to move in really any direction we see fit. I like that flexibility—of adapting to our circumstances and our customer without needing permission.

What are some inspirations for your work?

I’m inspired by the printing process itself. Wknd Press is young and doesn’t have a style or genre it’s trying to fit into. Other great letterpress work, paper and books motivate us to keep making and trying things.

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Concern yourself with how your product is presented. We’ve seen people respond really well to the level of care we spend in displaying, packaging, and shipping our product. If you have room to step up your game in these areas, we think it’s definitely worthwhile.

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If there is anything else you’d like to add about your business that might be unique to you?

Most people aren’t aware that we print everything by hand one at a time. Our 1930’s press is built to have an operator manually insert each sheet of paper onto the platen before a plate is smashed onto it, leaving the inked impression. This means everything that we produce goes through our hands one or more times before it gets wrapped up and delivered. Letterpress printing is one of the least automated printing processes available, and is still the only method for getting the tactile deboss effect people love about letterpress cards. There are certainly newer ways to get similar effects, but nothing compares to authentic letterpress printing.

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