Interview by Matthew Murphy
In a two drum kit, gear ridden room I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ricky Pridmore, owner and creator of Presstime Designs, based out of Fonthill, Ontario. Since June of 2009 this company has been growing at an intense rate, both creatively and structurally. Starting off mainly producing merchandise for local musicians, the business has continuously expanded to cover a huge range of products/international clients and sees no end in sight to its possible growth.
So where did Presstime get its start and why was it with merch? My friend told me his buddy was selling a bunch of screen printing stuff. So, I bought it and set it up in my brother’s, girlfriend’s, granmother’s basement. Ya, so I did that for the first six months before I moved to my friend Tim’s (Lalonde – Riot Hill Studios) garage, which we outgrew really quick. We have been at this space (in Fonthill) for the last two years.
You were in bands when you started the company, was that because you knew you could print your merch cheaper than anyone else? Exactly, haha. I was doing pins in 2003 so it was just a natural progression to do all merch. That for sure played a role where I was like, yeah I could just do it all. And of course through the band (The Ceremonial Snips) I just knew a ton of other bands.
So the infrastructure was already there? Exactly! The company was built around trying to cater to bands and what they need but of course we have grown further and now we do corporate stuff as well as sports teams and more.
So, why should bands/companies pick Presstime? Is it as easy as just picking up the phone and saying we need this by this date? Yeah. I learned so much from how bands operate and how to behave in that scene. Sometimes on a corporate level it comes down to nickels and dimes and they find us refreshing because they are use to that platform and structure. Making our clients happy is our number one priority. We concentrate on service and quality. Sometimes the problem with being a (merch) company that is really, really big is that relationships means less. It’s all turned into an order form and a number. Where, if someone calls us, myself and my crew are willing to stay later to satisfy that customers needs. With companies that have tons and tons of employees it’s hard to have that personal attachment.
Yeah, you really need that personal connection. For sure. That’s what we try to instill. That we are here to make your lives easy.
Is there anyone that gives you a call, or do you have a in-house design person that creates product that you are stoked about? We do have an in house guy. Tony (Ventresca), our Production Manager does a shit-load of designs and we’re starting to build up more of a reputation for design. Most people think about us as t-shirt printing but that is completely changing. As for artists where I know it is going to be awesome, guys like Chris Creswell (The Flatliners), Edith Bouchar and Dave O’ Connor (TV Freaks); when those three send us in something, before I even open it, I’m like, ‘all right!’
What would be your dream band to work with. Say someone called you up and said, “We are coming to town,” who would that be? NOFX! We did all the Fat Wreck stuff and that was a big deal and obviously from there, because of that connection, we were like, ‘Well what’s NOFX up to?’ That would be the dream band. They just played such a huge roll in music for me. They’re that number one influential band for me. We were just so close but I guess they recently signed a huge deal with an American printer who would supply their stuff world wide.
Whenever industry politics gets involved and it can be heartbreaking. Do you think you would ever get to the level where you have a contract with an artist world wide, much like distribution/label for a band? We’ve been trying to come up with ways of how that would even work for us. I think we are far away from that being a reality but it would be awesome. Like to freakin’ handle Pearl Jam’s merch world wide is a huge dream. I do think it’s feasible.
Like you said, you are already aware of the downfalls of bigger businesses becoming disconnected. If you could take what you are already doing here and make that business model work internationally, it would just mean a lot of employees who care. Everyone that works here so far are all friends and they are all here for different reasons. Like our head printer started from scratch but his work ethic from being in concrete just worked with him being part of Presstime.
Any regrets leaving music and concentrating on the business? I need to work on stuff and I need to want to do it. I’m not saying it faded with the band (The Ceremonial Snips). It’s awesome. I still get to mess around with music. It’s always a passion. It was totally natural to do Presstime. I started to have another thing that I loved. When the band broke up it felt like the right time.
What would be your life/Presstime’s moto? WE DO IT GOOD! It’s suppose to be a little cheeky. Some people say, “That’s not right. It should be WE DO IT GREAT or THE BEST!” Well, it’s suppose to be kinda funny. We don’t take ourselves seriously but we do take our work very seriously.
The one thing I took away from my visit at Presstime’s office and warehouse is that Ricky Pridmore’s relax demeanor and familial attitude has translated to how his business runs. You walk in a stranger, stressed about how quickly you order can be filled and what damage to your bank account it will entail but you walk away with peace of mind, thinking “Man I should invite that guy out to party some time.”