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How Designer Dani Diarbakerly is Excelling at the Art of Screen Printing

Dani Diarbakerly has a passion for screen printing. But she knows that it takes more than passion to succeed in the screen printing industry. With her team at KingPro Custom Merchandise, they use a special blend of artistic talent and business sense to bring their clients’ creative ideas to life with custom screen printing and design services.

“Helping a client who has an idea but who doesn’t know how to make that idea into a real physical object that can be used to represent or promote a brand is what we love to do,” Dani explains. “I think that is what makes KingPro special; we take the time to get a deeper understanding of what each client is looking for and then help them to create products based on what their brand needs.”

According to Screen Printing magazine, Dani is doing an amazing job. In January 2022, Screen Printing awarded her its Rising Star Award, including her in an exclusive group of six screen printers from across the US who were identified as “proven leaders” who “share an enthusiasm for print” and “possess an eagerness to push the boundaries beyond the status quo.” The magazine describes Dani as a “young go-getter whose accomplishments in specialty printing have made a mark.”

For those unfamiliar with screen printing, it is a printing technique that uses a thin mesh or “screen” to transfer designs onto T-shirts and other materials. While known by many as a tool for creating promotional products, screen printing also occupies a special place in the art world. Andy Warhol used silk screen techniques in the 1960s to create art that sells for millions of dollars today.

Dani loves approaching the screen printing process as an artist. Many times her work involves helping musicians to translate a sound or feeling or mood into something that can be expressed visually. In general, she believes screen printing is the perfect artistic medium for those looking for instant gratification.

“With screen printing, you can go from press to wearing the shirt within a matter of minutes,” Dani explains. “So if you have an idea for an event or a charity or a business or a brand, you can come up with that idea and within minutes we can have it printed and have a real physical shirt that you can wear. It’s really fun because it’s instant gratification that’s so personal.”

Dani’s journey from having a passion to having a business started after college when she was working as a copywriter. The business she worked for did custom printing, but Dani felt that the sublimation printing process the business used resulted in poor quality products. After reaching out to a friend who did screen printing and seeing his work, she decided that screen printing delivered superior quality and durability. From that point she started down what she calls “the screen printing rabbit hole.”

The next step toward launching KingPro happened when Dani was working for a company called Resolution, Inc. She was an account manager for brands like Pepsi and Mountain Dew, work that she says helped her to realize she had everything she needed to start her own business.

“When I was in meetings with these companies’ brand teams, I’d be very nervous and intimidated,” Dani confesses. “But over time I realized that they didn’t have any more knowledge or expertise than I did. That really gave me the confidence to go out on my own and start my own business.”

In addition to her other contributions to the field of screen printing, Dani is also opening doors for women in the industry. While she is grateful that more and more business leaders are welcoming her to the table and valuing her contributions, she also has experienced what it is like to be devalued simply because she is a woman, including having people ask her where “the boss” was, only to find out that she was the boss.

Out of the six screen printers to win the Rising Star Award this year, she was the only woman. To help other women to learn the trade, she employs predominantly women in her shop.

“Female printers have everything it takes to run a successful screen printing business,” Dani says. “Women are great at multitasking, they are hardworking, and they are organized. However, women need to realize that certain behaviors that are acceptable for men will not be acceptable for us. As a result, we will often need to work harder and deliver a better product. My advice for other women who want to start their own businesses is to dominate your area and always focus on mastering the latest technology.”Keep up with Dani and KingPro on their socials at @kingproja and @kingprodani on Instagram.

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