Featured guests: Lisa Krowinski, founder and owner of Sapling Press
3 things that surprised me:
1. Lisa started Sapling Press 20 years ago. She was the sole employee and printed all the greetings cards herself on a Vandercook Press dating to the 1950s. Since then, Lisa’s collected many more printing presses — some dating back to 1905. She’s even rescued some presses from demolition. Sapling Press has added employees and is now printing hundreds of thousands of greeting cards every year. Sapling’s products are sold in more than 1,000 stores around the world. And the company has plans to expand to a second building across the street with a retail and production space.
2. Lisa says her company is only the second tenant in the 100-year-old Friendship factory. The first tenant was a soap factory and while cleaning up the space, they found printing plates from some of the early soap advertisements. Lisa says they could still take those plates, set them up on one of their machines and print them.
3. In addition to their antique printing equipment, Lisa also showed us a laser cutting machine, where they are cutting out wood key tags. She also walked us over to a futuristic-looking UV printing machine, where they are printing little coin purses that read “Taylor Swift Concert Money.” With all this machinery onsite, Lisa can have an idea for a product in the morning and be printing it by the afternoon.
One thing that didn’t make the final cut: When Billy Porter was filming his directorial debut, “Anything’s Possible,” in Pittsburgh, the prop department reached out to Sapling Press and asked if they could make high school diplomas complete with a faux leather case and gold embossing. Lisa and her team had just set up their new UV printing machine so they put the new device to the test and successfully made a batch of fake diplomas for the production.
Additional info: You can learn more about Sapling Press on their website.