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Print and Press: Friendship That Yields More

It all started as an idea by two lifelong friends. Today, Print and Press is a thriving business specializing in personalized, custom-printed items

In the bustling city of Manila, two lifelong friends, Steffi and Sab, embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that would turn their shared passion for creativity into a thriving business. 

From childhood companions to co-founders, their story is one of unwavering friendship, boundless creativity, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Together, they founded Print and Press, a company specializing in personalized, custom-printed items that add a unique touch to any event. Their venture is not just a testament to their business acumen but also to the strength of their bond, which has seamlessly integrated their personal and professional lives. 

How It All Began

The story of Print and Press began with a simple, yet heartfelt moment between two friends. As Sab recalls, “It started one late, late night when I got a call from Steffi telling me that she has an idea but I might hate her. Hahaha.” Steffi was planning her son Scottie’s birthday and found herself struggling to find suitable souvenirs. “I was planning my second born’s first birthday party and we ended up with a Mickey Mouse and Duffy bear theme. It was so difficult to find any giveaways that were readily available to buy because Duffy is not a very common or popular character in Manila.”

Desperate to make the event special, Steffi sought a supplier for custom-printed Duffy-themed souvenirs. But her ever-considerate husband presented a new challenge: “What if there are guests that attend who want a giveaway but were not on the list of recipients?” Steffi pondered over this dilemma for weeks until she had her lightbulb moment in the middle of the night. She immediately called Sab, saying, “Are you awake? I have an idea and you might hate me, but I promise it’s going to be fun!”

This late-night brainstorming session laid the foundation for Print and Press. Steffi and Sab, who had always shared a love for arts, crafts, and DIY, were already in business doing personalized packaging. With this new venture, they took their passion to the next level, creating personalized, custom-printed items that added a special touch to any event.

The Fun In Fusing Friendship and Business

Steffi and Sab have a unique perspective on balancing friendship and business. For them, there is no separation. “We have been friends since the first grade and we really think that it laid down the foundation for our working relationship and helps our business run smoother.” They emphasize the importance of trust and understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses. “We both know how to talk to each other when we’re driving each other crazy and when we need to give ourselves some space,” Sab explains.

Their long-standing friendship has been a cornerstone of their successful partnership. “We 100% trust each other, which also makes things so much easier especially when we have to sit down and talk about the harder things like finances and business planning,” Steffi adds. They also find that their friendship has strengthened because they see and talk to each other more often than they would if they weren’t working together. “Our business meetings would be 10% business, another 10% playing with Steffi’s kids and 80% catch-up, which makes working together more fun.”

Despite the potential risks of mixing business with personal relationships, they both agree that their friendship comes first. “If ever the business side went south, we would never let that jeopardize our almost three decades of friendship!”

Steffi on Balance as a Mom at Work

Steffi has found a unique way to balance her roles as a mother and a business owner. For her, the best thing about having her own business is the creative freedom it offers. “I have always been a creative but was always expected to find a more practical way of living. The best thing about having your own business is you have something to call your own; to have your own arena wherein you are able to call all the shots and do whatever you want.”

However, balancing both roles still comes with its own challenges. “Of course, the hardest part of it all is that I’ve got an extremely full plate! Aside from Print and Press, I still go to work at my corporate job and there’s a household with two very rowdy boys and another one on the way waiting for me at home!” Despite the chaos, Steffi finds ways to make it work, even if it means browsing for references on the internet until 3 AM, through online shops, mom blogs, and Pinterest for new business ideas.

Her journey simply shows that with passion and determination, one can juggle multiple roles effectively. More than that, at the end of the day, it’s really about enjoying what you do — no matter the role. “The money-earning part is just a bonus to all the fun we’re having!”

Sab on Drawing Creativity From Good Ideas

Sab brings a different, yet equally vital, element to Print and Press with her approach to creativity. She believes in listening to clients and drawing inspiration from their ideas. “I always make sure that we listen to our clients. They tell us what they want to see, sometimes they suggest things that we haven’t done that are good ideas.”

She embraces challenges and uses them as opportunities to push her team’s creative boundaries. “If their ideas are crazy, I take it as a challenge to our team. Maybe we can make their crazy ideas possible.” This openness to innovation has kept Print and Press relevant and adaptable to different kinds of people.

Sab also finds inspiration in her own childhood memories, especially when designing for children’s events. “When a client books us for their kid’s birthday, I usually find inspiration to have fun and creative designs from memories of my childhood.” 

Moreover, when designing for corporate events, she trusts her and Steffi’s taste to align with what clients will find appealing. “I always remind myself that it’s okay to take a quick break from designing, step back and take a breather, to make sure that we always deliver the best output that we can.”

Things To Note When Starting a Small Business

Steffi and Sab have learned valuable lessons through their journey and are eager to share their insights with aspiring entrepreneurs. One of their key pieces of advice is to try and give it your all, tossing fear of failure aside. “TRY. And when you try, try your hardest and don’t be scared to fail. Because what if your idea works?” Sab encourages. Starting small, doing thorough research, and being prepared to handle the grunt work are essential steps in their advice.

Steffi emphasizes the importance of passion. “It has to be something that you love doing. As cliché as it sounds, if you enjoy what you’re doing, it really does not feel like work.” She also highlights the importance of understanding each and every aspect of the business you are setting up. “Build your business knowing each step, that way you can control every aspect and whenever things come up you know exactly what needs tweaking.”

Another critical piece of advice they offer is to be practical with finances. “Set an initial budget for seed money and stay within that budget. It should be money that you’re willing to spend regardless of whether the business takes off or not,” Steffi advises. This approach helps in making informed decisions about whether to move forward or pivot to new ideas.

The journey of Steffi and Sab from childhood friends to co-founders of Print and Press is a story of passion, creativity, and unyielding friendship. Their ability to seamlessly integrate their personal and professional lives, while overcoming challenges and continuously innovating, serves as an inspiration to many. With their unwavering support for each other and a shared vision to work towards, they have built a business that not only brings joy to their clients but also enriches their own lives.

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Michelle Garcia-Arce: Why Entrepreneurship Is Close to Her Heart

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