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Flash Flood Print Studios began in 2012 inside of May Yang’s garage with her former business partner. They both had experience working at other commercial screen printing shops and both wanted more out of their work.
“We wanted to create something that was a little bit more quality focused, less about sweatshop style and churning out shirts and more about like the art of screen printing and showcasing how versatile this medium is,” Yang said
Growth in Productivity
Since then they have celebrated their 10 year anniversary, grown into a 4000 square foot space with nearly 10 employees, and have moved from doing everything by hand to using an auto press. The auto press is a machine funded by a Creative Capital loan through Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC).
“Before we got the autopress, we were printing everything by hand, so by nature, there’s like limitations there,” Yang said. “What the automatic press does for us is that instead of somebody physically printing each color, you’re just loading the shirts onto the press. So that automatically just made our production capabilities much larger. We were able to run longer, larger jobs became much more obtainable for us.”
Flash Flood and TEDC Borrowing
Yang’s relationship with TEDC began in 2018 when she obtained the Creative Capital loan and has continued into December of 2022 when she got a loan to refinance high interest credit card debt used for the business. This helped improve cash flow.
“I think everybody at TEDC is really passionate about giving people the help that they need, whether it’s financially through a loan or a lot of the programs that I’ve read about TEDC putting on,” Yang said. “I’ve heard nothing but positive things from people that have been through those programs. I feel like all of my interactions with TEDC have been super positive.”
The Love of the Business
What drives and motivates Yang was the process of creating not only shirts, but prints, posters, and other merchandise.
“This is kind of like a passion project for me to show the diversity of what you can accomplish with screen printing, to show people that it’s not just this one particular type of look or one particular type of product that you can get out of it,” Yang said. “It’s actually really versatile.”
She is still hands-on with the process of screen printing, but she advises business owners that once you get good at your craft, you sometimes have to step back and move more into the business side of things.
“I feel like it’s something that I wish I had known a little bit more when I was just getting started, and I think this applies a lot to people who get started,” Yang said.
“Whenever your business starts growing and scaling, you start becoming not the person that’s making the thing, you’re starting to focus more on the business. I’m not typically as involved now in the actual screen printing side which is originally why I wanted to start the business. I think I’m particularly lucky in that I’ve actually really grown to like the business side of it instead of just always printing but I know that that is a really hard transition for a lot of people who you know are makers or are creative.”
Yang’s favorite part about the work she does is getting able to work with customers’ ideas and shaping it as well as the collaboration aspect of it all.
“It’s really fun to take an idea that somebody has and to see it all the way through the process and then show them that final product and we’re really excited about seeing their ideas come to light and that’s always gonna be really rewarding for me,” Yang said.
To learn more about Flash Flood Print Studios or order their services you can visit the Flash Flood Print website.
About TEDC Creative Capital
TEDC Creative Capital (aka TEDC) is a community development financial institution (CDFI) providing lending opportunities and learning programs to start-up or growing businesses. TEDC helps small companies operate more successfully, create jobs, and loans range from $500 to $10 million. Visit TEDCnet.com or call 918-585-8332 for more information on loan and educational programs.