Pen and Ink Studios
In my latest set of blogs I talk to small businesses, getting to know who is behind the online store. Today I get to talk to the lovely Chris and Gareth from Pen and Ink Studios. I first came across them last summer on twitter and I was seen out and about in one of their super bright t-shirts.
Pen and Ink Studios produced a variety of t-shirts to buy online and is manned by father and son team, Chris and Gareth. In 2015 Chris needed to change his lifestyle following a heart attack. He started venturing out and about but could not find a design he liked, so he approached Gareth, a Graphic designer, and asked him to design one. Therein was born Pen and Ink Studios.
You are based in lovely Wales but do you speak Welsh?
We can understand Welsh and can speak a little bit. Being based on the coast in the town of Colwyn Bay, the language is not as strong as it is the further you head towards the mountains that surround us.
Working with family members can sometimes be trying, how has working together been?
We love it, we both come up with good and bad ideas for the business but ultimately the right choices are made. We both bring something different. My Dad has over 30 years experience in project management and is use to high pressure situations. While myself, I am the more creative type and have always been into various designs of all types.
Who came up with the name?
The name came about simply from a doodle. My ideas always start as a small quickly drawn image, if I like the idea, I will work on it further. One day for some reason an Octopus came in to my head, and I decided to work on it a little further. I like old tattoo styles and decided to put that in, then came the Pen idea and that’s how the name came about.
I’ve seen your instagram posts about the wonderful countryside in which you live. Are you very outdoorsy?
Chris is the more outdoorsy of us both, he often can be seen walking around the hills and countryside, usually sporting some Pen and Ink. I am more use to the leisurely strolls but do push my own limits from time to time.
Your t-shirt designs are based around the outdoors and being active. Are you very active and what sports do you enjoy?
We are both active and we try and cater to everyone we can. Fortunately, North Wales is now a hive for adventurers, you can ski and snowboard in Llandudno, you can kayak in the many lakes of Snowdonia, you can even be a daredevil and zip wire across hills of slate amongst many other sports and activities. Outside of the adventure side, we run a charitable football team called the North Wales Dragons, so that keeps my Dad on his toes organising the games, while my team mates and I get to pick up the bumps and scrapes from being in the matches.
I admire my family the most as they are always there for you and are always willing to lend a hand or come up with ideas.
What inspires you to make the designs and what has been your favourite design to date?
I am always thinking of what people may like on a t-shirt and what I would like. Inspiration comes from all around; through out the designs you will see bits and pieces of various loves of mine. From vintage pick up trucks, camper vans, logo designs and landscapes. That’s why I always have a notepad and pen next to my bed, I can be quite happily nodding off to sleep and then suddenly an idea will pop up and I will have to jot it down.
My favourite design would have to be the diver edition of Chase your Adventure. The design is based on a retro divers helmet and is mixed with an old tattoo style. We were approached by a lovely lady from America who loved the design but wanted the words changed to those said in a marriage proposal. We don’t usually edit our designs, but the romantic in us couldn’t help but say yes and the design was changed to read “Find Your Bubbles” , doesn’t get much better than putting a smile on some ones face.
Have there been many challenges along the way to creating Pen and Ink Studios?
We have had some challenges with finding what works and what doesn’t work design wise. We have found that our designs are much like art, you love what you love, you hate what you hate. The challenge is getting people to wear what they love.
Do you do bespoke printing?
We can do bespoke printing and designs. One of our earliest clients was the Snowdonia Challenge, we created the logo and were also given the job of supply and print of the shirts for all the participants in the three day event.
We are also involved with Adventure Queen the brain child of adventurer, author, speaker and mischief maker, Anna McNuff. We designed three separate shirts and now print them on demand along with a logo shirt on our performance wear range.
We are currently looking at various clothing options, from yoga pants to rain coats, everything is possible, and it’s just down to getting the right look for us and our customers.
Are you goal driven? Where would like to be in 5 years?
We are very goal driven. I personally would love either one of two things, a shop in a town close to the mountains or our very own camper/day van to travel the country and pitching up at various festivals and markets through out the year.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about Pen and Ink Studios?
Pen and Ink Studios are always happy to help anyone, so if anyone would like anything from a logo design to t-shirts designed and printed then please let us know.
Please click the links below for more information about Pen and Ink Studios