By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 05, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Whitney Teska started screen printing T-shirts for his rock bands in high school. Although Teska remains deeply committed to music, a few years ago it became clear to him that screen printing was a better career choice.

In 2008, Teska started -- along with his wife and OnMilwaukee.com staff writer, Julie Lawrence -- a Walker’s Point-based screen printing and graphic design business called Orchard Street Press (OSP).

"It’s way more feasible to screen print than be in a full-time band," says Teska, who currently drums for (ft) The Shadow Government and Tornavalanche and went on a European tour last fall with American folk singer-songwriter William Elliott Whitmore.

Orchard Street Press is based in Walker’s Point it's and the only screen printing company in Wisconsin that uses 100 percent water-based ink. Orchard Street prints T-shirts, stickers, posters, tote bags, hats, CD packaging, patches and more.

Teska says sometimes people assume that "green" means more expensive, but that OSP offers environmentally-friendly products that are as cheap, if not cheaper, than its competitors.

"We're green, but affordable," he says.

Customers can decide just "how green" they want to go, if at all. Teska has a wholesale account with every major shirt distributor, including American Apparel and Alternative Apparel, and customers can choose shirts made from cotton to hemp to bamboo.

If customers simply want standard cotton tees from Hanes or Fruit of the Loom, they've got those, too.

The size of a run ranges, from six  to thousands, however the more items printed, the lower the price per piece.

"No order is too big or too small," says Teska.

Teska printed shirts and other promotional pieces for local bands like .357 String Band, Juniper Tar and High Lonesome, as well as groups and events like the Brew City Bruisers, The Iron Cupcake, Milwaukee Film, Teecycle and the Bay View Cheap Beer Club.

"We’ve been really busy, despite the fact we started during the worst recession this generation has ever seen," says Teska.

In 2008, Orchard Street Press won the top prize of $7,500 in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's first New Venture Business Plan Competition. The money allowed Teska to buy equipment and begin printing.

Recently, Teska joined forces with show promoter Brandon Malacara who owns his own promotion company called Battle Cry (with the Irish Pub's Keegan Pavlik), and brought Milwaukee its first Cream City Music Festival last summer.

Teska creates posters for some of the shows booked by Malacara, including the post hardcore band Gauge's reunion show, the Cave Singers, the Cream City Music Festival and more.

Although he continues to focus on music, professional screen printing  is a good fit for Teska.

"A good percentage of the jobs are challenging," he says. "There are a million variables in every step of the process. I get to deal with people doing cool and interesting things and I really appreciate the community aspect. Most of what we do is local."
 

Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.