As a child of parents who ran non-profits, Zach Traxler from Traxler Printing has always felt a natural inclination to do good. More often than not, Zach uses his print shop to help nonprofits, give away free shirts for good causes, and find new ways to bring the community together. Today, we talk to Zach who is happy to share his experiences and perspectives on printing for good.
Could you tell us a bit about why you print for good?
Well, I grew up with parents who were managers or directors of nonprofits. So I was always involved in community outreach, community work, and activism. I also didn’t just grow up around nonprofits and charities, but actually used nonprofits and charities in my youth. I grew up in Appalachia, which is a very low-income part of Ohio, and we got to go to summer camp and play sports because of the charities and nonprofits that helped us all when we were kids.
How do you strive to help others through your printing business?
What we started doing is offering nonprofits a discount to upgrade their apparel from, let's say, a Gildan 5000 to a 64000. It's softer and their members are more likely to wear it for a longer time. And that worked really, really well, so we use it as a kind of discount. Aside from that, any nonprofits that come to us automatically get a 10% discount on top of the sales pricing. We try to support them as much as we can, as we know a lot of these companies don't have very large budgets.
It’s really inspiring to hear that you’re a big advocate of supporting different causes. What kind of charity or nonprofit projects have you worked on before?
We’ve worked with the Down's Syndrome Association of Central Ohio, which is an organization very near and dear to my heart. One of our most successful campaigns was Zea, the girl with the rainbow flag, which was a shirt that went internationally viral. We managed to sell a tonne of shirts and raised $20,000. Another was the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, which is a foundation that supports LGBTQ+ youth.
What challenges have you faced working with nonprofits and charities?
We had an incident last year where we printed thousands of stickers and shirts in support of two police officers who were killed in my neighborhood. But what happened was, somebody here called the organization we were donating the money to and broke the process we defined ... as a result, we got some bad press. From that, however, we defined that there was a communication breakdown. So to correct that, now we get everything down in writing before we start a campaign to assure everyone's on the same page.
Do you have any advice for people looking to print for good?
Before you even think about going into a fundraising campaign, you should have a very buttoned-up and defined process. That's about holding yourself accountable — but also the people you're working with. Try to be prepared and expect the unexpected.
So what is it that gets you up in the morning to support good causes so often and with such dedication?
On the business side, it’s the most obligating and free type of advertising you can get. For me though, it's because I don't have time to work at places like Down's Syndrome Central Ohio, and most of my money goes back into my company so I'm not giving as much as I would like. I'm no Benjamin Franklin, but I love to quote him, and the fact that one of the founding principles of the United States was freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. Franklin invented a printing press and what did he do with it? He changed the world. So, if we can change the world through printing apparel and any other products we produce for good, then we should be doing that as much as we possibly can.