Skyhawk Press has begun making its mark on Poulsbo, one T-shirt at a time.
Alisha Weiss and her husband, Josh, began the business some eight years ago after noticing a slight difficulty in procuring Liverpool Football Club apparel.
“At the time it was very, very tricky to get Liverpool stuff. It was about $50 in shipping, so we really thought there would be fans — I was a massive fan — that wanted stuff but just a little easier,” Alisha Weiss said. “It kind of grew and grew and grew until we now have a licensing deal with the club to make our own stuff.”
And thus, Skyhawk’s Anfield Shop brand was born. Today, Anfield Shop bills itself as “North America’s largest dedicated LFC store.”
Following that success, acquaintances of the Weiss’ in the Navy — Josh Weiss is a submariner — began asking about official Navy merchandise as well.
“We reached out to the Navy, and we got a licensing deal with them to really just do things to improve morale,” Weiss explained, in illustrating the beginning of what eventually became Skyhawk’s 16 Submarines brand.
After falling in love with the city of Poulsbo, Weiss said Skyhawk’s mission evolved to take on a new meaning.
“We’re really trying to keep the money in the community, because it can go so far into more jobs. We’ve scaled from about two to 12 people in the last year. It means a lot. We’ve got single moms working for the shop; we’ve got people that this is their livelihood. I think the greatest joy of this job for me is being able to give people a job. If I can keep doing that, I will.”
Weiss also said that she welcomes collaboration with nonprofits and other charitable organizations and encourages organizers to reach out to Skyhawk Press.
“We really love Poulsbo. We’ve got three kids, 6, 4 and 2 [years old]. This is kind of where we want to raise our family,” Weiss said.
The talent at Skyhawk isn’t limited just to having a keen eye for apparel design.Weiss holds an engineering degree and worked for Boeing prior to starting the press. Julia Rushing, Skyhawk’s chief operating officer, was previously the deputy managing editor for National Geographic Magazine.
“Alisha’s our creative genius, and I have sort of taken on the role that I had at the magazine,” Rushing said. “I’m the perpetual buzzkill.
“Alisha will take a couple of the production crew to a seminar somewhere, they’ll do some training and come back and decide that they want to buy a $30,000 machine and I’m the one that they have to sit down and explain that to before it gets OKed,” she explained.
Weiss said Skyhawk Press is taking all-comers when it comes to order sizes. Skyhawk’s industrial direct-to-garment printer is capable of pumping out about 50 shirts an hour and can handle small-batches and one-offs as well.