When Reed Silberman took his first paying print job, he was living in a van parked in a friend’s driveway in Aspen. At the time, the tattooed New York native hoped that making vinyl stickers and vehicle wraps could help supplement his income as a semi-professional snowboarder.
Twelve years later, it has become a whole lot more than that.
“I’m a 24/7 kind of guy,” he said. “This is what I do. My business is my life, and my employees are my family.”
The company he founded in his friend’s driveway is now Ink Monstr, a growing Denver graphic design and large-format print shop that boasts a national client roster, including Red Bull, GoPro and MTV. Brand ambassadors include hip-hop duo Method Man and Redman.
Ink Monstr’s custom designs can be found in storefront windows, hotel lobbies, fitness centers, museums, trade-show booths, vehicle exteriors, even entire building facades. Their vinyl brick wraps, installed all around Denver, look more like painted murals than what they actually are, essentially giant stickers.
And while Silberman didn’t set out to make a living in the printing business, he has been intentional about what he has created — a full-service, art-driven shop that is committed to the Sun Valley neighborhood it calls home.
The Ink Monstr founder has been named the 2016 Small Business Person of the Year in Colorado by the U.S. Small Business Administration. He and honorees from other states will be feted in a celebration next month in Washington, D.C.
“I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I didn’t want to be like the rest of my industry and the rest of the shops and studios that existed,” Silberman said. “It’s just my personality.
“I thought, ‘Is it possible to build a lifestyle brand and make a print shop sexy? Is anyone going to care? Is anyone going to want to associate themselves with this kind of brand?’ That was my goal: to make it not just a shop that utilizes its tools to help build other people’s brands but to utilize our tools to help build our own brand, too.”