Walking in, Bread & Butter feels more like an artist’s studio than a t-shirt factory. With twenty-one years of experience and a steady stream of repeat clients to show for it, owner Melanie Wall enjoys running a truly “small business.” “It’s great to find out that not everyone is into the ‘bigger-is-better’ mindset and that people consciously seek out local companies to support.”
Whether starting the design process, putting the finishing touches on the printing, or packing the shirts for pick-up, Bread & Butter adheres to a simple philosophy. “It’s important to remember it’s not just ink on a shirt…that it becomes personal on a lot of levels. The shirt may represent a business logo, an event participated in, or a cause that is significant to the wearer. It’s an article of clothing that will potentially be worn over and over for years. Everyone owns certain t-shirts that are literally threadbare before they will part with them. They become part of their identity,” says Melanie. “As printers, we are lucky to be part of such a personal process.”
Bread & Butter is made up of a small but nimble team that can take a project from concept to clean-up. Each one of the crew brings an artist’s eye to the process.
Melanie, who handles a good chunk of the printing, has an extensive background in photography and graphic design that dates back to her college days at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “Let’s just say I’ve been interested in these fields for quite a while. My freshman year at UNC was Phil Ford’s senior year and my senior year was Michael Jordan’s freshman year. You do the math, ha ha.” Her other on-going projects include Photo•graphics (a collection of images aimed at transforming ordinary ‘snapshots’ into bold poster art, custom-made for each client) and Piratanicals (a retail line of pirate gear).
Office manager Ben Clack is a graphic designer, folk artist and record collector with a BFA in Design from UNCG. He likes to listen to the Dianne Rehm show while he works. In his free time he is co-proprietor of Good Friends Beer and Records, a record reseller and music and beer culture blog.