“Alternative is the ultimate intersection of fashion, comfort and shared values. It’s our go-to brand for customers looking for retail-ready pieces to print on.”
-JULIE TESKA, CO-FOUNDER, ORCHARD STREET PRESS
We always love a good love story – and Milwaukee-based Orchard Street Press definitely has that, times two. Husband-and-wife power team Whitney and Julie Teska run the sustainable screen-printing and graphic design company together, and they’re in love with the whole creative process of bringing a garment to life with inks and artwork.
Orchard Street Press – dubbed for the street that housed the Teskas’ first basement print shop – started up in 2008 from prize money the Teskas scored from a first-place win in a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee business planning competition.
“Our friends’ bands were our first customers and by some miracle it grew from there,” Julie says. “We printed out of our house for three years until we tired of T-shirt boxes taking over our living room and finally had enough money to rent a space and hire people.”
And in a cool indie way, because Whitney grew up playing in bands, he learned to screen print rocker style – self-taught with homemade equipment. That’s why Orchard Street Press does all of its screen-printing in-house. And from day one, the Teskas committed to breaking the chemical-laden cycle of using environmentally harmful plastisol inks containing phthalates and harsh solvent chemicals. “We’ve only printed with water-based inks and used soy-based biodegradable cleaners,” Julie says.
Orchard Street Press attracts clients starting clothing brands who want retail-ready pieces to print on or those who want “a high-quality, fashion-forward look to their merch, rather than thick ink on a basic, boxy tee,” Julie says. “We pride ourselves on our eye for stylish garments combined with the printing techniques we use to create cool, vintage prints.”
That’s why the Teskas turned to Alternative for much of the apparel they print and sell. “Alternative’s the ultimate intersection of fashion, comfort and shared values,” Julie says. “We were attracted to the soft, matte look of the inks on fabric, especially triblends like the Alternative 1973 Eco Jersey Crew. That was our first dream shirt.”
When Orchard Street Press prints on just about any Alternative fleece, especially the Challenger Eco-Fleece Pullover Hoodie or Maniac Eco-Fleece Sweatshirt, the garments fly off the shelves. “We can’t actually take credit for the incredible way these garments are manufactured, but we love using them as a canvas for our favorite designs,” Julie says. “It’s a winning combo.”
And we’re digging their recent wins: Orchard Street Press printed merch this summer for Milwaukee’s big annual music festival, Summerfest, using our Eco-Jersey Baseball Tee in Stars (“that shirt just screams ‘summer festivals’,” Julie says) along with our Stadium Tee.
Our tanks are big sellers, too. “We use muscle tanks for almost all our women’s summer pieces and Alternative’s Cotton Modal Muscle Tee in Rose Quartz is perfect,” says Julie, who notes that one of the brands they print for, Lake Effect Co., also killed it this summer with our Inside Out Sleeveless Tee.
The Teskas also use lots of Alternative gear for their own product line, Orchard Street Apparel, which is sold in shops around the Midwest and includes clothing and accessories for babies to adults.
Shop the styles that have helped give the Teskas success - vist out website.