By Rebecca Bernard
Our featured sponsor for March is Four Ambition! Founded in 2007 by native Daytonian Shannon Thomas, Four Ambition provides services mainly focusing on screen printed apparel but also featuring screen printed posters, promotional materials, embroidery, and graphic design to assist customers in achieving their final look. Joined by partners Mitch Baker and Jessica Bostelman in 2008, Four Ambition is located just a few blocks from downtown and is a proud member of the community.
1. What unique skill/feature/product/service do you bring to the Gem City?
We believe Four Ambition brings a type of enthusiastic service not many other screen printing companies offer. Being a younger company, we are always open to new techniques or services to offer and different ways to make a better end product. I know not many other apparel printers offer screen printed posters, discharge and dye discharge printing or water-based printing. We also offer oversize printing that can cover the majority of a t-shirt. We also have several small to medium sized companies who don’t have an actual logo or brand established and we help get them in the right direction to grow their business and that's what we're all about. We want to see ambitious people succeed with their business or organization in Dayton.
2. Are you or the company a “Dayton original”? If not, what brought you/your company to this area?
Yes, I was born and raised here and I don't ever plan on leaving. I see so much potential here and love seeing Dayton's progression and trying to be a part of that.
3. When you were growing up, what did you want to be? How did that path change? What steps did you take to get to where you are today?
Actually when i was younger, I used to ride bmx bikes with Mitch Baker and I really just wanted to own a bmx parts and apparel company cause it's what we loved. So I took the "digital design" tech program at Fairmont High School where I learned graphic design, screen printing and offset printing. I put that knowledge to work for me and just really took to the printing of things. Even in high school I was staying after school to print orders for other people. And ever since, I've been screen printing even while working during the day at Oregon Printing (a commercial offset and digital print shop). Mitch and Jessica both graduated from the School of Advertising Art and when I had the idea to for this company we joined forces.
4. In your creative career, have you encountered a challenge or face adversity, and how did you overcome that obstacle?
There will always be challenges when starting and growing a company. Whether it's building the clientele or just establishing yourself. I think the hardest part was trying to get the company off the ground while still working a full time job. You end up working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week and trying to balance all your responsibilities. It was a struggle but it grew it to the point where it just wasn’t possible to keep doing both and you have to take a risk. Turned out to be the greatest decision I've ever made because once you dedicate yourself 100% to something, it allows things to really flourish.
5. Why do you feel cultivating a creative community is important?
I think it pushes things in a positive direction and its pretty amazing to see how it's grown here in Dayton. We believe it's especially important for us since a lot of our clients are design firms or freelance designers. Having a growing creative community I think really unifies Dayton as well.
6. In what ways does your company contribute to the creative community?
Almost anything that would help or benefit Dayton, we do. Whether it be donating our services for event t-shirts or helping a new company get off the ground. I think I get a call from Richard Kaiser, of The Ohlman Group, once a month with a new exciting idea and it's always something that would benefit Dayton. We recently just donated the printing of the shirts for the Big Hoopla, which is about the March Madness here in Dayton. I’ve also seen or read about what an organization is doing, like an event, and called them up to tell them how much we liked it and want to help by providing our services. Four Ambition just does those types of things regularly. Since we're all designers here as well, we take extra caution to details and color matching so our clients know their order is in good hands.
7. What creative industry leaders do you think have a great positive influence, or are there any creatives that you admire?
I think Judd Platenburg and Bob Allbery of Oregon Printing are great of course. We learned so much about the business side of things that were able to apply to Four Ambition. They really are great mentors. Also we love seeing Chris Wire and everyone at Real Art Design Group do the things they do over there. They really have evolved and they are all about pushing the boundaries! Always excited to see what they come up with next. Matt Sears of Little Lines and everyone at Forge Ideas, they always put out some amazing work. Honestly there is so many amazing creative professionals that we look up to!
8. What do you like most about living/working in Dayton?
The community and atmosphere here in Dayton is wonderful. Always something to do or events to attend. Fifth Third Field is right down the street, as is RiverScape MetroPark, and the Oregon District and Brown Street offer tons of restaurants and bars. Our favorite thing here lately is going to a new place for lunch at least once a week. You can't deny Dayton is a wonderful, beautiful city when driving around downtown on a sunny day.
9. What’s your best piece of advice to Dayton Creative Syndicate members?
DCS is a great organization that has really brought creative professionals together. Get involved and be open to new things, meet new people, and go to some of the wonderful events that DCS puts on.