Dear Family and Friends of Webster Ink,
2019 brought deep internal work to Webster Ink, setting in motion a shift that will allow us to work in line with four preliminary guiding pillars: Respect, Ease of Mind, Community, and Creativity. We are excited to share the story of this growing clarity with you.
Respect is a powerful word describing how we want to interact with ourselves, others, and our environment. In our ten years of operation, we have always made an effort to be conscious consumers and reduce our waste. This year we have an exciting and more tangible number to share illustrating our work to respect our environment: our company-owned solar panels generated 8,300 kWh of electricity, reducing our net consumption of electricity by around 50%!
Evan, Webster Ink’s founder and owner, spent much of 2019 trying to find and embrace their new role in the business. Evan and the business had both changed and it no longer made sense to work in the same way as when the business was started ten years earlier. They shifted some attention away from operational tasks and towards documenting and supporting internal structures, connecting more deeply with themselves and the other human beings who work at Webster Ink, and long-term sustainability efforts.
Evan’s inner work allowed them to strengthen relationships with staff and with clients and vendors. We strengthened data gathering efforts, internal procedures, and accountability among our crew and with clients. We are excited to see and benefit from the strong foundation this work has built.
Created with respect in mind, these efforts also have also contributed to Ease of Mind. Product catalogs, our new customer inquiry form, and our new order form have streamlined our interactions with clients and helped clarify which information will be needed to complete an order at Webster Ink. These efforts have also made our administrative processes more efficient, freeing up time and headspace to be spent on bigger picture planning. Internal employee resources such as a procedure manual, data tracking, and clarification of processes has helped ensure that everyone on our team is confident and effective in the work they perform.
Our vibrant Community grew and evolved in 2019. We welcomed Emma Gilfix to our production crew and Julia Vallera and Tai Dinnan to our administrative team. We said goodbye to Elaine Brand. We are grateful for the work Elaine did while at Webster Ink and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
Tai, Evan’s partner in life as well as at Webster Ink, has watched Webster Ink grow and evolve from the sidelines for many years. This year she took on a more formal role. Her official entry into the Webster Ink team was strengthened by the completion of the Power Forward! accelerator program for women business owners. This program, run by the Center for Women and Enterprise, connected Webster Ink with other vibrant women-owned local businesses and helped Tai and Evan begin the process of creating a strategic plan for the coming years.
We are thankful that 2019 was a year in which we were able to continue the tradition of supporting our community through contributions of goods and services. We participated in a silent auction at All Souls Interfaith Gathering. We worked with the winning bidder to create beautiful organic tote bags, decorated with her art, which we understand were used as special holiday gifts. The proceeds from the auction benefit All Souls’ mission to cultivate inner peace and inspire connection with Divine Source. We also collaborated with two enthusiastic and motivated students at Middlebury College to support the Steps Towards Reproductive Justice 5K. We partnered to create t-shirts to support this unique spin on a 5K running event which combines physical movement (running, walking, or skipping was encouraged) with information about reproductive health and justice along the way.
And then there’s our client community. We worked with 32 new customers in 2019! Our new and existing clients bring color and life to our work. These vibrant companies have amazing stories to tell, and we are grateful to use our screen printing resources to help.
Creativity helps us help our clients tell their stories in eye-catching and impactful ways. Messages on t-shirts, tote bags, or hats add up to a huge cumulative impact. In 2019 we printed 43,711 items! Want to see this creativity in action? Our Instagram page contains a broad selection of our recent work and this video tells the story from concept to final product. Idea creation and imagination power our work and also fuel our efforts to dream about the future.
That brings us to 2020. Here are some of our goals for the coming year:
Respect: In 2020 we will demonstrate the deep respect we have for our employees by increasing benefits and/or wages in an effort to create jobs that support our staff’s ability to live full lives. We will increase client access to environmentally conscious choices when ordering, including the creation of an Eco Catalog.
Ease of Mind: In 2020 increased administrative support will lead to an improved customer experience. We will have a quicker response time. We envision creating a Showroom Space to bring increased ease to our clients’ purchasing process. It will support our efforts to showcase the quality and variability of our products and allow for easier touch & feel access to our curated selection of recommended products. We plan on holding new-production new-product showcase events with our community and also look forward to the increased creativity that project ideation space will enable.
Community: In 2020 we will take strides to make our shop more than a place where shirts get printed. Art nights, community gatherings, education opportunities – the sky is the limit! Be in touch if any of these ideas spark something in you. We want our company and our shop to be intentionally inclusive and engaged in the greater community. We will create and publish an inclusivity statement as well as a structure and budget for increased support and engagement with our community.
Creativity: Creativity is what drives us and we are looking forward to deepening this side of who we are in the year to come. We will continue to monitor industry trends and new product availability to enhance the creative potential of our client projects. We will communicate these insights by way of a quarterly forward-looking ideabook available to those who are interested in being at the forefront of creative custom apparel. We also are looking forward to adding colors and shapes to our shop’s walls to mirror and enhance our aesthetic vibrancy. Keep your eyes open for more information about a community mural project in 2020.
Thank you all for being along for the ride. Our batteries have been charged and we’re excited to use that energy to power us into 2020.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Decade (and Year),
The Webster Ink Team
Dear Family and Friends of Webster Ink,