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Youth-led screen printing company opens its doors

To learn more about getting involved, email info@ or call 802-257-0361, ext. 138. To get an estimate for print shop orders (T-shirts, bags, bandanas, aprons, or collectible posters) email with a description of the project or call 802-275-7871.

BRATTLEBORO—DemoGraphix, a youth-led business-to-business screen-printing company in Brattleboro that was established by Youth Services earlier this year, has opened its doors for sales.

During the past six months, the employees, ages 12-24, have selected a name, designed a logo, trained on the screen printing equipment, and established policies and a pricing structure, in addition to being paired with volunteer mentors with professional skills such as design, running a small business, and marketing.

Having completed several successful test runs, DemoGraphix employees are now ready to market their services and line up printing orders for promotional products on fabric or paper for the fall, according to Emilie Kornheiser, Youth Services’ Director of Workforce Development.

“We believe that people in Brattleboro want to be conscious shoppers, and will support a business like DemoGraphix offering a living wage and better life opportunities for its employees,” Kornheiser said in a news release.

While DemoGraphix can print on any fabric medium, the two most popular items so far are T-shirts and tote bags, according to the company website.

Prices depend on the quality of the materials, manufacturing practices, and the complexity of the design, but generally range $10 to $25 for T-shirts and $5 to $15 for totes. The designers are happy to have a conversation with prospective clients and will provide an estimate in three days or less.

Launched earlier this year, DemoGraphix, which employs youth in every aspect of the business — design, printing, shipping, customer service, marketing, and accounting — is dedicated to delivering job skills and fostering entrepreneurship and community connections, Kornheiser said.

Members of DemoGraphix can make and sell their own designs as well as be employed by the company.

“Our participants learn how to be a member of a team in a connected, supportive environment, and then move on with the knowledge to benefit their community and their own work lives,” Kornheiser said. “We expect that these youth will have marketable skills and good job references when they leave the company.”

This Youth Services program operates out of Brattleboro Printmakers on Elliot Street. Youth Services pairs 12-24 year olds with volunteer mentors, with professional skills relevant to the business, who are also interested in being a part of a young person’s life.

According to Kornheiser, a major goal of the youth-led business initiative is for the participants to get more than just a paycheck.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #527 (Wednesday, September 11, 2019). This story appeared on page A4.

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