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Behind the List with Karen Philip of Kinteco Screen Printing'Focus on being the best … we can be'

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Managing a business takes hard work, dedication and passion.

No one knows that more than the operators of small businesses, which are the backbone of America's economy and make up the majority of its workforce.

Women have become a big part of that backbone, running all kinds of businesses from big to small. Karen Philip of Kinteco Screen Printing in Temple is one of those women.

Here to answer this week's “Behind the List” questions is Philip, owner of Kinteco.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Kinteco Screen Printing been operating in the region and what are its primary services?

Karen Philip: We began in my parents' basement in 1984, having grown to our present location on Kutztown Road in Temple.

We began with a homemade screen printing press. Having since added two automatic presses, three manual presses for a niche market of Lycra/swimsuit printing. We also added a Tajima six-head embroidery machine.

LVB: What have been some of the biggest hardships and opportunities that Kinteco has encountered throughout its years in business?

Philip: I believe the biggest hardship has been the recession. Several of our clients were hard hit and had to close their businesses.

At that time, we had to rethink our business model. An opportunity to purchase another screen printer with a large market of contract printing. This opened up many doors to allow us to screen print and embroider for manufacturers, other screen printers as well as advertising specialty companies.

Along the way, we had the opportunity to do hot-market printing for Major League Baseball and [the] National Football League. This proved our quality was with the major league players.

LVB: What are some of the benefits of being a woman business enterprise?

Philip: Many years ago, I was a founding member of the chamber's Women in Business committee. I met many wonderful woman business owners who became mentors to me.

I then became focused on getting my WBE [Women Business Enterprise] certification. This, unfortunately, did not pull Kinteco any new business.

Over the years, I felt it was not beneficial to focus on being a WBE, but focus on being the best screen printing/embroidery company we can be.

LVB: How does Kinteco directly stimulate the local economy?

Philip: We employ seven Berks County residents and are presently looking to hire another experienced screen printer. Our broad base of clients includes local manufacturers, screen printers and advertising specialty companies who, in turn, sell our services to their clients.

We are also fortunate to work with a few entrepreneurs who design T-shirts and sell them for a living. In offering Spiritwear e-commerce stores to local schools, this allows the schools to earn a profit without having to outlay cash.

Our fundraising e-stores have raised thousands of dollars for local residents. This part of the business is my favorite.

LVB: What does the future look like for Kinteco? Does it have plans for growth?

Philip: I believe we have a strong future ahead. … We are doing more social media, which seems to be the future area of growth.

In having the ability to create various online stores such as Spiritwear stores, company stores and fundraising stores, we are finding this is a great area of growth for us.

We have also created www.wearimagematters.com, which allows clients to create their own designs. From our research, this will allow us to reach other markets out of Berks County as well.

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Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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