Don’t know about Electric Ghost Screen Printing? Chances are, you’re probably pretty familiar with the local operation without even knowing it.
Operated by Brooks Tipton and Shannon Shrum, Electric Ghost services t-shirt needs for a fair few local businesses and national ones at that. Locally, think Lost-40, Loblolly, The Bernice Garden, and so many more including our own Rock City Eats shirts.
What you probably don’t know is how Electric Ghost came to be.
Tipton, a Bryant native, knew early on that he wasn’t going to follow a traditional path. For instance, he quit high school the day he turned 18.
“I didn’t want to start something I wasn’t going to finish,” he says, which why was he opted to work at a grocery store for a few years before seizing the opportunity to travel.
He moved to Colorado and experienced what it was like to be on his own. All the while Tipton stayed heavily involved in music, traveling with different bands across the country. “I would literally hop from van to van with different bands,” he says, laughing.
He eventually moved back to Arkansas and supported his musician lifestyle by working for a childhood family friend in construction. “I learned so much then,” he says. But as the market began to fail in 2008 and construction began to look rocky, Tipton felt it was time to start his own business, a goal he had for quite some time.
Part of his problem was finding the right idea. “I knew it needed to be something practical. I had a lot of great ideas that just weren’t practical in the long run,” he remembers. At that point, Tipton was in a band called Bear Colony with fellow artist and friend, Vincent Griffin. The two screen printed shirts for the band together, in a very DIY fashion.
“Vince made the design, and we would push the ink through the screen with a credit card instead of a squeegee. We burned the screens in a closet with a lamp,” laughs Tipton, looking back.
After that, Electric Ghost was born. Taking the name from a list of potential band names from Griffin, the printing operation started off small in Tipton’s apartment. He eventually outgrew the space and moved to his dad’s property in Lonoke, first taking garage space, and eventually building a studio behind the house.
Two and half years ago things solidified for Electric Ghost even more when Tipton met Shrum. He remembers how his dynamic changed at Electric Ghost: “Almost immediately we started working together and Shannon filled this huge void that was there. I always have been very driven, but there’s no way we could be where we are without her.”
Shrum, a Cabot native, exhibited the very same spark to create as Tipton. She also brought a background in office management to the team – “I’m always making sure people get emailed back and are getting taken care of on time.”
It’s easy to see that the two have found their niche. Even when working long hours, they feel accomplished at the end of the day. Tipton enjoys coming home covered in ink, as he says it’s all part of the craft – “Screen printing is such a custom craft, that you are literally printing that t-shirt by hand.” Shrum adds, “We get to make art and make people happy.”
Things are going so well, in fact, that the two are gearing up for the next big step. They are currently getting everything in order to set up a permanent shop in SOMA. Keep your eyes peeled for this one, as Electric Ghost will be more than just a t-shirt shop.
For a chance to meet Tipton and Shrum, head to the upcoming Art of the Bar at South on Main on Dec. 13.
Shrum says, “We have our first booth of our own handmade things … It’s our first time, and we’re excited.” In the meantime, check out their awesome collection of work.