With a name like Awesome Dudes Printing, your print shop had better be cool.
Owners Shaky and Ralph have, in fact, built a pretty awesome business. With degrees in computer animation and graphic design respectively, the pair were busy a decade ago designing posters for Philadelphia bands. When those bands began requesting t-shirts with the designs, Shaky and Ralph purchased a small manual press and began printing t-shirts in their basement.
“People were asking us to do shirts, and I was borrowing a buddy’s shop and we were printing up there at night,” Shaky recounted. “I have been screen printing for years. We just kind of acquired a little four on four and a dryer and a flash, and went from there. One screen and a bucket of ink, and the next job: one screen and another bucket of ink. We kind of grew it from there.”
Since then, Awesome Dudes Printing has gone above ground, opening a shop in South Philadelphia. Shaky and Ralph stay close to their roots. They still do a lot of work for local bands and bars, and they work with local artists on special products. On top of that, they take on the usual screen printing jobs, printing pieces for community events, local companies and the like.
In their 2,500-square-foot shop, Awesome Dudes prints on two Vastex™ manual presses and an Anatol Volt. The Volt handles the shop’s larger projects, while the manuals are used for smaller custom orders.
“The core of our work is small 24-piece orders, but we have another section of 100-plus piece orders,” Shaky said. “We try to feed the auto press with all the big jobs and try to keep the smaller jobs on the little manuals.”
Awesome Dudes purchased the Volt with just that in mind a little over a year ago.
“The bigger jobs were taking too long on the manuals and tying up production times, and we didn’t want to get all the things that go along with having a pneumatic press. The Volt was a nice solution, being all electric,” Shaky explained. “We looked at a bunch of options. The thing that sold me on the Anatol was that it was all-electric, and it didn’t require getting a compressor and having to run all the lines and listen to a compressor all day long.”
The Volt has proved to be a good choice, Shaky said. It was easily set up within the shop and it runs smoothly. Most importantly, the Volt has allowed Awesome Dudes to complete more jobs in less time.
“It’s definitely sped up the turnaround time for us,” Shaky stated. “I feel like in our slow season when we would get a job, it would take two or three days on the manual. It’s half a day on the automatic. It’s doubled the amount of work we can do in a day, especially on the bigger jobs.”
Shaky, Ralph and their five employees appreciate the easy-to-use safety features on the Volt, and the press’s cycle mode and its step-back capabilities.
Shaky said the shop would purchase the Volt again, and as Awesome Dudes Printing grows, Shaky and Ralph plan to grow with Anatol’s products.
“Hopefully, a bigger Volt is in the future,” Shaky said.