Printing Coffee Bags on an Old School Letter Press

Posted by James Helms on

The first few years of operation we would hand stamp each and every coffee bag. A series of large rubber stamps, a black ink pad. Ink,, press. It was great! And then we grew and grew some more. As we grew, hand stamping increased from stamping a few minutes to stamping for what seemed like an eternity and it began to take a toll on our bodies.
We looked at a few options for alternate printing. One option was to print labels, another was digitally printing our bags...both of those are still options...but not as awesome as what we ended up doing. We found a way to keep our design simple and have our bags printed by Reb Peters Press. Rebecca Peters is a business owner that is keeping letterpress printing alive in Portland today. What follows is a conversation that we had with Rebecca for this blog.

Old time letter press printing on coffee bags.Hi Rebecca, thank you for printing our bags for us, we love them, we love how they are created and we are enamored by the work you do! Can you share what your background is and what led you to start Reb Peters Press?

Rebecca: I studied fine art printmaking in college and for several years after that I worked to edition fine art prints for artists. I was still making my own art at that point, but when I started studying letterpress for fun, I became interested in graphic design and was excited by the idea of opening my own letterpress print shop. It was a scary first step and it took 2 years from the time I started Reb Peters Press before I could quit my side jobs, but it was totally worth it. 

When you helped us navigate our current design, you excercised some really great interpersonal skills as we went back and forth as a team. What part of
your work is most interesting to you, ideation, design, the technical aspects, something else? 

Rebecca: I love so many of the tasks involved in running this business, but my favorite part is collaborating with a variety of people on their designs to bring their vision to life. I also really like problem solving (an important skill in printmaking), using my hands, and listening to audio books (which I get to do during the more repetitive parts of printing). I know that I would get bored if I Reb Peters Press Studiohad to just do one task every day. I don't love cleaning the press or book keeping. :) 

My wife was 100% supportive of me starting the business and honestly, I wouldn't have been able to make it this far without that support. What were helpful supports for you when you started your business?

Functioning old letterpress with inkRebecca: When I first started talking about my idea for Reb Peters Press, I actually got a lot of warnings about how hard this kind of business is - people with good intentions wanting to spare me the heartache. Luckily, I had already had some good conversations with a close friend about how starting this business was the one thing that made me feel excited when I thought about my future. I decided it was worth the risk. I have gotten a lot of support from friends and family since then. And I gained some confidence early on when I took a small business class. 

When I saw that you got a second letterpress last year I was really excited for you! Were you as excited as I was.../and or...what are you excited about?

Rebecca: I was super excited to get that press! It's funny because I'm not that interested in growing my business the way most people would be - I love the size it is now. But having this second press helps me to be a little more efficient because I can have one press set up for die-cutting and the other just for printing. It's also reassuring to know that if a part breaks on one press, I have a backup one to get me by. 

 One of the big reasons I started a coffee company is because I saw how coffee can bring people together, I love connecting people! How does your work reinforce what you are passionate about?

Rebecca: I'm passionate about being a maker and working creatively. I also really like helping people and there are plenty of opportunities to be helpful even if it is just for a fun personal project that someone wants to see come to life. 

I love following your Instagram page where you post your work. What is a good way for people to see more of your work and how can people connect with you?

Rebecca: My website has a lot of images in the photo gallery and there are some interesting process videos on my Instagram page. I spend a lot of time adding helpful info on the website too. Email or phone is the best way to reach out with questions.

I would ask you what your favorite coffee is but you are a tea drinker... what is your favorite tea that you are drinking right now?

Rebecca: I love a large variety of teas, but right now, I've been enjoying Smith Tea's Lord Bergamot and Sencha. My husband's favorite coffee is actually the Rocky Butte Ethiopian Blend and I love the smell of that one even if drinking coffee is not my cup of tea. :)

Thank you for your time answering a few questions today!

Rebecca: Hey, thanks for your interest in what I do!

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →