Watch Ali Banholzer at PrintHustlers Conf 2020
PrintHustlers Conf 2020 was a huge success.
More than 800 print shops from across the globe joined us for a two-day online conference!
Watch Ali Banholzer share her story of grit, integrity and perseverance above. Her print shop, Wear Your Spirit Warehouse, began as a hobby – but carried Ali and her family through some real challenges.
Read on for more info about Ali & her family.
Alison Banholzer and her shop Wear Your Spirit Wearhouse began as a way to make some cash for vacations. Ali joked that she always knew it would be a challenge: “Even when the business was a hobby, there was a voice that was like, why put yourself through this?”
Ali and her business have stared down a Great Recession, the tragic loss of her husband, and now she’s dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis in her print shop. She’s pivoted to overcome adversity at each step of the way.
“Don’t tell me I can’t do something, because that’s the first thing I’m going to do,” she told us.
Wear Your Spirit Wearhouse is a remarkable example of the vibrant, entrepreneurial screen printing and custom apparel industry in the US. We’re proud to welcome Ali as a speaker at PrintHustlers Conf 2020 – her story is powerful and uniquely American.
“We lived in an idyllic, perfect world. And then one morning…”
“My business has completely morphed several times over the course of 15 years,” Ali said. While the business journey is one that’s challenged her, the other journey was the loss of her husband, Air Force Colonel and Air Force One Commander Dave Banholzer.
We were on cloud 9. Great family, beautiful children, dream job, my business is going strong. And then one Saturday morning in May, we were standing around drinking coffee, and Dave dropped in front of me and had a grand mal seizure. We called 911. Two days later, he had 9 hours of brain surgery and we were told he had 14 months to live.
With her life shaken, Ali pivoted her business to be smaller – entrusting two close friends and employees with the task of moving back into her home and keeping operations going. “We just maintained the business, we didn’t grow it,” Ali explained.
Dave lived for 28 months while Ali ran her business from home and focused on her daughters. She took time to grieve after Dave’s passing in November 2016. She considered returning to her career in police criminology – but decided the one-time hobby business could support her family.
“What can I do to become an essential business?”
Ali’s spirit is unbreakable. After moving 11 times in 7 years to support her husband, she’s built and rebuilt her day-to-day life. There’s a pattern to her work: she finds the positive where mostly see only downsides. “I can’t pay huge salaries. I don’t always need full-time people,” Ali explained.
But that’s helped her hire people that are a great fit for her shop’s culture: “We focus on the benefits we can offer. Flexibility in scheduling. Time off. Work part time while your kids are at school. Then we seek out individuals looking for those benefits, and we train!”
This means people that join Wear Your Spirit come from military spouse backgrounds, since Ali can access that network. Deeply loyal, hard-working, and interested in something more than earning a dollar, Ali’s found a reliable niche of employee to build her business around.
The ultimate key to success in the print shop – at any level? “It’s all about systems and procedures,” Ali explained. “Take the best people you can find, make sure you have a good spot for them, and know your personality and what you’re good at.”
Thanks to our sponsors
A huge thanks to our sponsors for this year’s PrintHustlers Conf:
Without them, this conference would not have been possible.
These are companies that support the PrintHustlers Conf mission: to elevate the entire screen printing industry and connect you to the best resources available.