In 2004, Reed Silberman was barely eking out a living as a professional snowboarder. Coaching youth snowboarding teams and snagging some sponsorships helped, “but I needed to supplement my income.”
Then someone at a camp where Silberman worked asked him to do some graphics and design work. And what started as a part-time gig grew into Ink Monstr, a creative studio in Denver now employing 17 full-time staff.
Ink Monstr’s steady growth, unique business model and bleeding-edge artistic sensibility have made Silberman something of a darling in Denver’s business community. On top of the local accolades and honors he has raked in, the Small Business Administration named Silberman its Colorado Small Business Person of the Year in March 2016.
Walking through Ink Monstr’s office at 2721 W. Holden Place, it’s easy to see why. The building, which was once a door company’s warehouse, reflects Silberman’s personality, with its eclectic mix of brightly colored wall wraps and a hip-hop soundtrack pulsing throughout the airy studio.
After starting the business out of his van in 2004, Silberman bounced around to a series of home shops and other workspaces. “I had a lot of different setups and saw a lot of different ways to organize the machinery, and each of those experiences helped me develop ideas for what I would want in an office,” he said.
He found the building at 2721 W. Holden Place in 2012. “It was just an empty warehouse with no walls in the interior. You would walk in and see nothing but the 25-foot ceiling.”
Silberman bought the space and worked closely with a general contractor to design the interior. “Everything is open,” he said. “It was important to me that the space flow well, with design on one side and production on the other.”
From the moment you enter the building, you can see how the space was designed to facilitate the workflow from one branch of the company to another. The receptionist’s desk is to your immediate left, and a pod of iMacs running Photoshop comprises the design department across the hall. As you walk deeper into the building, you pass Silberman’s office in the heart of the space, with massive printing machines, cutting boards, and other machinery filling out the back half of the first floor.
By Paul Karolyi