Check Them Out: Sara & Brandon Swinehart of SRO Prints!

What exactly is your business?
SRO Prints is a woman-owned full service branding company, specializing in graphic design, screen printed apparel and promotional products.  We have a unique social mission, which is providing employment and a second chance to adults recovering addiction.  SRO Prints is making a difference one shirt at a time!

How did you come up with your business idea?
Brandon spent years in San Francisco in the screen printing industry and is a recovering heroin addict.  He knew the screen printing industry very well and also the struggles of those re-entering the work force after years of drug use and incarceration.   We moved to Cincinnati and we thought that SRO Prints would be great opportunity to give back to an underserved community, while at the same time providing superior screen printing and customer service to the tri-state area.  Chase joined the team in 2012 and brought years of graphic design experience.  He also is a recovering heroin addict and has become our top sales rep, lead designer, and is now one of the owners of SRO PRINTS.

Our combined experiences in teaching, screen printing, graphic design and the desire to make a difference is what made SRO Prints possible.

How did you find out about Aviatra?
Brandon and Chase were busy trying to build the business while working full time and I thought there had to be a place where we could learn more and become part of a network.  I found Aviatra while looking for mentors for woman-owned businesses.  We made our video, submitted it, and the rest is history.

What is your inspiration?
Our inspiration comes from the desire to make a difference in the community.  While I (Sara) am not a recovering drug addict, I have learned so much about addiction from my husband, Brandon, and our partner, Chase, and the real obstacles that recovering drug addicts face.

Our clients inspire us, as well.  We love to hear about their projects and what they’re doing in the community.

What has been your biggest accomplishment with your business so far?
Our biggest accomplishment so far is purchasing production equipment so we can bring in more social mission employees in the near future.  We are also working with a potential investor which enable us to expand even more.

What was the most valuable thing you gained from your experience with Aviatra?
Definitely the network and wealth of knowledge from all the business owners we met.  We work with many Aviatra alumni.  Allison Chaney built our web site and Rachel Roberts from the Yoga Bars is one of favorite clients.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?
Money has been our biggest challenge.  We started SRO Prints with $500 and two customers.  We were all working full time while trying to build the business, so growth was slower but we managed.   Brandon is now working at SRO Prints full-time and things are starting to really pick up.  We are currently having a great 1st quarter.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
We hope to grow substantially.  We also plan to purchase more production equipment to create a contract screen printing company that will work with SRO Prints, which will enable us to hire more social mission employees.

Any advice for future Aviatras?
The best advice we can give is to listen and ask as a lot of questions.  Make sure to really put yourself out there and build your network.  The mentors are there to help take advantage of all they have to offer!!