This story was originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.
One of Heather Lawson’s signature phrases is “it’s all good.” So when she was traveling in Oregon and found a shirt with her favorite line, the idea for a screen printing business was planted.
Lawson teamed up with her best friend Heather Dukowitz to create Heather and Heather Screen Printing.
“When I came back I was telling [Dukowitz] that we should see how much it would cost to make shirts like that,” Lawson said.
Lawson took a screen printing class, bought a kit, and in 2010 they opened for business in Dukowitz’ garage and Lawson’s basement. By 2014, Lawson and Dukowitz quit their full-time jobs at city hall and were screen printing full time, with Lawson in charge of finance and logistics and Dukowitz as the graphic designer.
Q: What services do you offer?
A: Lawson: We offer screen printing, embroidery, we emboss bibles and we have a gift shop.
Q: How do you compete with online businesses?
A: Dukowitz: We find that people like to talk to who they are working with. Especially if they’re putting out a bunch of money on shirts and they want it to look right. Some will always go online. A lot of people really like to come in and have someone they can talk to to get the design right. If it’s messed up they can deal with it.
Lawson: We’ve had a lot of people come in who have ordered online and tell us that they will never do it again. Dealing with a person is huge. We deal with a lot of businesses and schools, and a lot of them want to keep it local. We can’t totally compete with online, but we can come pretty close most of the time
Q: How does this location work for your business?
A: Lawson: We had driven up and down K-Beach Road. … We wanted to be on K-beach That’s always been the location we both wanted. We are outgrowing this building but we are making it work because we really like this location. So much of that stuff has that warehouse look, but this is like a little house.
Q: How do people hear about you?
A: Lawson: Word of mouth. We did advertising on the local radio station, but it’s pretty much just the sign outside and word of mouth. If the football teams want someone to sponsor them we do a lot of community outreach.
Dukowitz: We’d rather use our advertising money that way. We may down the road do advertising, but for now, it’s word of mouth.
Q: How is Heather and Heather Screen printing different than other screen printing businesses on the peninsula?
A: Lawson: I really think that our name has helped us. People come in and they already know who the person is that they’re going to talk to. People come in … and our tagline is ‘Call or stop by and ask for Heather or Heather.’ A lot of people still remember that from our ad on the radio. So people come in and they ask ‘Who is Heather?’
Dukowitz: We have a relationship established pretty much in the beginning. We also have the gift shop. It’s not your standard screen print stuff. It’s something that’s needed and we felt called to do it. Since King’s Treasure’s (a former Christian bookstore in Kenai) closed down that was definitely felt, and we understand that the internet has hurt those kinds of businesses. But since this isn’t what we’re depending on to live we are able to do it. Because screen printing is what keeps us afloat.