SAM SCHINHOFEN HAS been printing for the last 15 years. Like many other screen printers, he entered the industry via music – as a teenager, he toured for a metal band on the Warped Tour. Most of his friends were in bands and nearly all of them needed merch. He started out brokering work, but eventually, he created his own company: Anchored Prints. The shop, based in Anaheim, California, has 150 employees with customers including bands, online stores, clothing brands, and wholesale clients.
Anchored Prints has nine automatic presses – four ROQs and five M&Rs. Earlier this year, Sam decided to launch a YouTube channel comparing the two brands, from pricing to reliability to speed.
Read our interview with Sam to learn why he created the videos in the first place, the reaction from the industry, and what he plans to do in the future.
AP: What led you to create competition videos between machines?
SS: Printing for as long as I have, I’ve gone through a lot of different machines, inks, brands, etc. and have come to be well acquainted with most of them. But when I finally decided to buy my first press, I wasn’t certain about what machine or brand to buy, which only led to a stressful purchase. Looking back, I wish I had access at that time to resources such as the content I now share in my videos. For that reason, I thought it would be a fun and useful endeavor to begin making videos that would help someone such as my younger self, especially because I haven’t come across many other printers providing honest feedback between two pieces of comparable screen printing equipment. Most people are very biased in this industry, and I desire to avoid that.
AP: What’s the process look like when comparing?
SS: My comparisons come from my own, hands-on experience with the equipment our shop uses. Being a shop that prints higher volume, our equipment certainly receives its fair share of use (and abuse). That being the case, we can become very familiar with the strong points, pitfalls, and potential areas of improvement for each piece of equipment. Also, working with friends in the industry, we often share different tips, tricks, and insights we’ve encountered regarding the equipment. Just this week I spoke to a buddy who has the same auto-reclaimer as I do. He’s been having a great experience with his, whereas we’ve been having many setbacks with ours. Talking with him, I get to see what he’s doing differently, and what we can improve on.
AP: What has been the reaction from your audience, the industry, and the manufacturers?
SS: A lot of fellow printers have found my content very helpful, and many thanked me for providing honest insight into the equipment. Most manufacturers have been fine with the content, as well. Obviously, no one enjoys negative content regarding their product, but at the same time, I feel obliged to share my honest reflections on what my shop experiences. Every shop is clearly different – and I’m not saying we’re always right – but I hope the manufacturers can positively utilize my experiences to further improve their overall product.
I recently had a conversation with Ross Hunter, president of ROQ.US, regarding an issue with their dryers’ gas pressure we were having issues with. He actually thanked me for sharing the content, and he and his team have already made improvements on the dryers. Similarly, I had an issue with M&R’s flash sensors, which they reached out to me about and ended up sending a tech to my shop to address the issue. We’re excited to see what gets improved in that matter going forward.
AP: Will you compare other manufacturers and products in the future?
SS: Absolutely. I’ve already got some other ideas and products in mind to review, and my team is currently working on a lot of new content.
AP: What’s the goal in creating the comparisons?
SS: Honestly, I like the idea of helping fellow printers make good investments for their shops, because I have many times gone into debt and struggled due to bad investments in equipment, products, etc. I feel I am doing something positive if I can prevent others from going through what I had to endure due to my own lack of knowledge. Also, hearing the feedback and comments of other printers and what other people are suggesting has been really insightful. So, while my goal from the start has been to help others, I feel I also gain from others by putting out my content.
AP: Is there a reason you chose YouTube vs. another hosting platform?
SS: YouTube seems to be the largest platform when it comes to finding free, informational videos pertaining to a vast array of topics.
AP: Do you outsource the video production or is it in-house? Any tips for other screen printers looking to capture high-quality footage of their shop?
SS: All of the video production for our content is done in-house by my creative team, Anchored Visuals (anchoredvisuals.com). They manage mostly our in-house content (which includes the Anchored Prints channel/M&R vs. ROQ series), along with several outside projects.
My tip to other screen printers is just start capturing footage in general. Similar to your very first print, you have to start somewhere, so I would encourage anyone just to try and give yourself time to improve in it just like you would with anything else.