By Margaret Jackson | Mar 16, 2015
Banners and Wraps
Founder Reed Silberman is making big banners and wraps for household-name companies and growing the company with customers in a wide range of industries.
Silberman has parlayed his business savvy and a passion for snowboarding into Ink Monstr, a 10-year-old marketing, graphic design, and print production company in the heart of Denver's Sun Valley neighborhood.
Ink Monstr specializes in graphic design and print production and installation of large-scale vinyl banners and vehicle wraps for companies like Burton, Oakley, Red Bull, and GoPro all have used Ink Monstr's large-scale vinyl graphic banners, signs and vehicle wraps during events and trade shows.
"I was in the search for the ultimate dream of if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life," Silberman says.
Silberman left his job as a stockbroker in New York to pursue his dream of becoming a professional snowboarder. He lined up sponsors and coached a snowboarding team. He had two other jobs to help make ends meet.
"I got paid to snowboard, bit it didn't pay a lot of money, so I started doing these print and wrap projects on the side," says Silberman, who lived in his van in Aspen so he could save money to buy his first piece of equipment. "I did it as a side job. It allowed me to be extremely creative. I learned a great deal about marketing and advertising in the snowboard industry and I was able to use my business background."
Silberman says his snowboarding career helped him make the connections he need for Ink Monstr to succeed. Today, he also works with restaurants, hotels, art galleries, and even the oil and gas industry.
"If it wasn't for that life, I wouldn't have this life," he says. "Action sports and snow industry clients are the ones that started with Ink Monstr. Now we work with any industry in any season."
Challenges: Silberman says finding qualified employees is his biggest challenge and one of the reasons he works closely with the Denver Housing Authority and Denver Office of Economic Development. "We do all of our training in-house," he says. "I have internship programs with every college in Colorado, but even those kids aren't prepared for real-world application. When a kid comes out of design school, they don't understand how things are made, so their skills are limited I have to retrain them."
Opportunities: Unlike at Kinko's and Fastsigns, Silberman has in-house artists and has created a lifestyle brand the industry has not seen before. "Even some of the big chains source their graphic design to us," he says. "We've created a very strong niche."
Needs: Having a sales force and marketing team driving the ship would help Ink Monstr get the exposure it needs to increase its brand awareness, Silberman says. He also would like to have a better cash flow so the company can purchase bulk materials directly from its manufacturers and increase its equipment capacity. "We're always upgrading our equipment and technology," Silberman says.