Project description

Business Owner: Ben Webster
Business: The Mandate Press
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Meet Ben Webster
“The best part of coming to work is the people. We are just as comfortable hanging out after work as we are working together.” Ben Webster is a friendly guy whose story could be defined as classic, the classic story of hobbyist turned business owner. Ben now owns a letterpress printing shop in the same city he went to design school years ago.

The Beginnings
Ben started his business a little over 10 years ago, though he didn’t just up and start a business, there was a lot more than that. He studied design years ago at the University of Utah; during that time he took a class on letterpress, not expecting to turn it into a career. “I was taken with the process, and ended up picking up a letterpress.” Says Ben. From there he started getting more and more equipment. “At one point I had to make a decision if I was going to let the hobby encroach on the day job or the day job encroach on the hobby and I decided to quit my day job and do it full time.”

The Perfect Job
Ben Grew up on a farm, he knew he didn’t want to work on a farm doing hard labor all day, but he also always knew he couldn’t sit at a desk all day working in a cubicle. So what’s a guy to do when many conventional forms of work don’t seem exciting for him? How about combine aspects of both, and start a print shop? “This was definitely an opportunity where I could do both of those things, be at a desk, designing part time, but also do things with my hands, and print and make something.”

“I always knew I couldn’t sit at a desk all-day and work in a cubicle – I grew up on a farm. But I also knew I didn’t want to work on a farm and do all physically demanding work. I like to kind of do both. This was definitely an opportunity where I could do both of those things, be at a desk, designing part time, but also do things with my hands, and print and make something.”

Ben’s Biggest Win
Ben was adamant that his biggest win, is the fact that he is still in business after 10 years. I’m sure all business owners would agree with that. Ben told us, “I think most people in my shoes didn’t start a business because they thought they knew how to run a business, they started a business because they thought they could do something right. You learn the hard way how to run a business. Obviously there are great pitfalls and mistakes along the way, so I am just grateful to still be in business.”

Advice To Business Owners
Ben’s advice to other business owners is simple but takes time, “Read. Read business books and stuff that might seem boring up front but will become relevant and helpful in the long run. Start small; there is no need to go into huge debt for fancy gigs.”