Henry Screen Printing is a new business in the downtown area, opening earlier this year in January of 2019. But business partners and couple Jake Henry and Jillian Caudill are quickly turning what was only recently a dream into a successful reality.
Jake Henry began to realize his passion for screen printing in 2015. He is a musician, and his band Divebomb wanted to make and sell t-shirts to advertise.
“Ordering shirts is an expensive thing for a small band to do,” said Henry. “If you order a couple hundred dollars in shirts, you hope to sell them all and make a profit, but there’s a lot of risk there. So instead of ordering them, I bought some simple stuff and started printing in my kitchen at my house.”
Henry enjoyed making the shirts, and he began seeking out mentors that could help him with screen printing. He met a few local printers, including the Bissman family at Pirate Printing, who took him under their wing. This was also how he met Mike Slater, the owner of Slater Silkscreen.
Henry credits much of where he and Henry Screen Printing are today to Slater.
While Slater was teaching Henry about the art of screen printing, Slater Silkscreen began growing. Slater brought Henry in initially for extra help which continued for just over four years.
Then, in the summer of 2018, Slater informed Henry he was looking into retiring and selling his business.
“From that moment on, I started acquiring everything I needed to start my own screen printing business, so when the day came that he was no longer in business, I would be ready to start my business,” said Henry.
Caudill said they were blessed with all of the equipment they needed, but the final piece of their puzzle was finding a location. They looked for months without finding the right place.
Finally, they heard of a couple who was selling their house, which also featured a storefront on the first floor. Within a week, they purchased their home/shop combination.
“Up until then, it just felt like it was an idea or a dream,” Caudill said. “Once we got the house, we realized we could actually do this. We could actually open our own business.”
Henry and Caudill officially began operating in January of 2019, and since then, it has been a resounding success. They have produced merchandise for dozens of local businesses, including Hudson & Essex, Relax, It's Just Coffee, Main Street Books, Old Soul Vintage Attire & Records, Tree Frog Canopy Tours, Downtown Mansfield Inc., Truckin’ Trav, The Warehouse Tavern, Richland Source and many more. They also screen print for school clubs and athletic groups, family reunions, and local bands and musicians.
To better work with small businesses, local bands, and nonprofits, Henry explained that their shop is much more accessible to work with than large corporations.
“A lot of places do high minimums, where a shop may not let you do less than 40 pieces. If they do, they’ll be outlandishly priced. We will do orders as low as 12 pieces,” Henry explained. Being a local enterprise themselves allows them to offer competitive pricing to other small businesses and companies.
At Henry’s Screen Printing, some customers come in fully ready to place an order, while others come in with just an idea in the works. Henry said about half of the individuals he works with know what they want and about half of them need a product designed for them.
“Some people come to us and are established in their business and their brand, and we’re able to compound on that and collaborate on a great final product,” said Caudill. “But one of the beautiful things about working with small businesses is that some people are in the same place that we were in: they have an idea but aren’t sure what the next step is. We can help them at any and all stages in that process. No matter where people are in terms of knowing what they want everything to look like, we’re able to walk with them on that journey.”
Currently, Henry Screen Printing produces mostly t-shirts, but they are capable of doing almost any promotional item. They do hat and shirt embroidery, restaurant uniforms, koozies, tote bags, and they have recently started screen printing for electronic skateboards.
“Our policy is, if you have an idea, ask, and we’ll figure out how to make it happen,” said Caudill.
If a business comes in that needs a logo or has a specific idea in mind that needs designed, Henry does about half of these designs in house and sends about half of the more complex orders out to local graphic designers.
This is another collaborative and creative aspect of their business.
“For us to be able to connect graphic designers to people looking for design work is a great way to cultivate the creative community,” said Caudill. “Collaboration is really valuable in our downtown Mansfield environment. It’s great to be able to get as many local hands as possible on a project.”
This local energy is what Henry Screen Printing is all about.
“We love Mansfield and we love the people of Mansfield,” said Caudill. “Things that are important to them are important to us. So when they come to Henry Screen Printing and they’re looking to make something that reflects who they are, we want to do it in the best way possible with quality merchandise.”
Henry and Caudill emphasized that people who have an idea for a business should go for it.
“I want to let other young people in Mansfield who have a dream know that they can achieve it. This town is an excellent environment for people to give things a shot. The fact that we have been able to start this business and actually have success in it has been really encouraging to us. Whatever it is that is in your heart that you want to start, do it. This is not a town full of roadblocks, this is a town full of opportunities. We are a result of that, and we hope that we can encourage other people to pursue their own personal dreams and goals as well.”
To place an order or to learn more about Henry Screen Printing, visit their Facebook Page.