Why a Standout Shop Owner Values Community Over Competition
Christy Shellenberger, a Women in Screen Printing Award winner, is a natural collaborator.
Owner | Snatch & Run, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Q: Multiple people who nominated you point out your drive to help new printers and other small business owners succeed with in-person advice, product recommendations and, in some cases, even providing them with work. “She really cares about connecting people,” one nominator wrote. What drives your focus on community over competition, and how can it benefit the industry as a whole?
Christy: Living your life with an abundance mindset is something I highly recommend for everyone. It’s easy to live in fear of the ever-changing economic climate when you own your own business. Focusing on the unlimited availability of work will allow you to stay true to your core values and let the right work come your way without worrying about what your competitors are doing.
My personal focus on community over competition is fueled by a genuine desire to see everyone thrive and make a positive impact. I absolutely love connecting with people and learning new things daily. Fostering a “help first” environment allows me to lean into my own creativity and cultivate meaningful collaborations that keep my job interesting. It is my mission to do this not only through the work in my shop, but also through the work I’m doing with the Gildan Board of Decorators and our podcast, Last Call For Plastisol.
Here, Christy appears on the Shirt Show podcast with the Gildan Board of Decorators at ISS. However, she also co-hosts Last Call for Plastisol.
Q: One nomination form notes that you focus on “employing mothers transitioning from stay-at-home to re-entering the workforce, helping them to build their skills.” What advice would you offer to other industry employers who would also like to support mothers and other women with screen printing ambitions?
Christy: Moms in this stage of life are a unique segment of the workforce. They are typically excellent multitaskers who are highly motivated to get large amounts of work done quickly, detail-oriented, and loyal. I’ve found that individual, project-based work that can be done on a flexible schedule is perfect. Large embroidery jobs are a prime example.
The key to success is having ongoing, honest conversations about your employees’ family schedules and demands, and if and how accommodations can possibly work into the flow of your shop. Additionally, having clear expectations on timelines for job completions is vital. It’s a little more work than managing an employee with open, full-time availability, but the benefits are worth it. Training and value-adding skills to an employee who’s been out of the workforce for a bit (for whatever reason) is great for your community and is a favor that doesn’t go unnoticed when an employee decides to move on to other opportunities.
Q: What does being a woman in the screen printing industry mean to you?
Christy: Being a woman in the screen printing industry means more than just a career choice – it’s about showing my kids that anything is possible with passion and perseverance. I want to inspire them to chase their aspirations, knowing that hard work and dedication can lead to success in any field, even the most non-traditional ones. When I first started out in screen printing, I was unsure of where my place was. I believed there was more than bottom-of-the-barrel pricing, subpar prints, and a tipped work/life balance. I leaned in to taking the time to understand my customers, finding my niche, and trying create a career that could give me the flexibility that I wanted with my own family. I’ve been lucky to make friends and partnerships with like-minded individuals in this industry, and I’m truly grateful to be recognized in such a meaningful way with this award.Advertisement
Let’s Talk About It
Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry
LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.
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