Take a minute to reflect on what these words would look like when translated to your own happiness:
Not only what it would look like, but what would it feel like?
What would it feel like to be able to take a skill that inspires you and apply that skill to satisfy other’s needs as well as your own? To defy the odds of what is possible for your life. Now, start painting the picture, go ahead. Don’t Dream it. Be it.
That’s precisely what Jeik Catlin Ficker Williams of Tanline Printing did. He discovered screen printing in high school and thus began his 13 year love affair. It always starts slow, he began by printing stickers and shirts for himself and his friend’s bands with a home made screen. The momentum kept going and now, thirteen years later he is the Sole Proprietor of Tanline Printing, a grass roots shop in Tucson that produces glorious printed materials such as stickers, shirts, post cards, patches, posters, CD’s and wedding invitations at a speedy turnaround and reasonable price.
In addition to accepting custom orders, Jeik also collaborates with local artists to create a series of stickers and postcards of their artwork, which are then placed into refurbished vending machines and sold around town. This generates a little extra change for those involved, but also adds a touch of flavor and nostalgia to each of the venues they are in. “People turn it into a game, they put their quarters in and hope to get the one they want, I think they are also just happy to get anything that cool for .50 cents.” says Allie Holler of Maker House, where one of the machines is housed.
You have to admit, this idea for a sticker vending machine filled with local art you can stick anywhere is pretty genius! Jeik came across the idea when he was on Craigslist looking for a soda vending machine to fill with beer, he scrolled across an old sticker machine someone was selling, “A spark went off when I saw that machine, I was trying to think of a way to sell my stickers and there it was. It’s easier than tabling events, because you can drop off the machine and a month later, see how much it’s collected.” Jeik explained.
Jeik knew from a young age he wanted to run his own business. He says he has a degree in fun, but no formal education. He just knew what he wanted and went straight for it.
Jeik gives Tanline every opportunity to succeed by making his products available in local shops and having a space at the 4th Avenue St. Fair and other tabling events he is invited to. Tanline also does Live Printing at events, “Live printing is fun because people can customize and ink and pull their own shirts, it’s a hands on experience and we just ask for donations and sometimes we are surprised at how much people give.”
Jeik’s current endeavor is an expansion to the business into a Community Print Shop, where people can come in and learn how to use the equipment and print their own materials. This will be the first of it’s kind in Tucson and will serve as a valuable resource for folks who don’t have the room for their own equipment or can’t afford it and would like to be self sufficient. The Community Print Shop will also serve as a gathering space for artists to culminate ideas, discuss their artwork in critique and participate in group exhibitions. It will give artists a place to go once they have graduated school where they can keep networking and thriving.
“Everything I take from the community, I put right back. I try to support everything around me around the community and in turn, it supports me too. All of my work comes from word of mouth, I don’t advertise.” Jeik shared.
The next community event Tanline will be a part of is the Block Party on Feb. 23rd at Think Tank where a variety of artisans, foodies and musicians get together and share their talents and have a good time.
Tanline is also part of a mentorship program through the Pima Vocational High School which teaches youth vocational skills they can use to pave a path for themselves and their future careers.
It may sound cliche, but if you’d like to make a business out of what you love, you should take the advise of one of Tanline Printing’s stickers and WORK HARD.