Photo credit: Hannah Snow
We started sharing the initial samples (designed by our staff) with our friends and clients, and the business of Scout Books began by word of mouth. We added a dedicated website in 2010, and growth has been gradual over the past five years. At this point the business of Scout Books has overtaken our shop, and we now focus 90% of our time on Scout Books, and the other 10% on our custom sign business, Outpost and a few custom projects. Finding our focus was the best thing we could have done as a print based business.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a photographer for the National Geographic, and also a travel agent. Austin wanted to be a veterinarian. In some ways, we do get to those activities in our adult lives, which is funny and great. I typically book all the travel for the Scout Books team, have recently taken a bigger role in the photography needs for the business, and we have nine animals at home (3 chickens, 3 cats, 2 goats, and a new dog).
Why is Portland a good fit for your business?
Portland has a wonderful quality of life, and offers us infinite inspiration from the creative community. We have many talented friends and clients rooted here, and their successes have fueled our success and vice-versa. We’ve been assisted with grants, training opportunities, and loans over the years by many of the institutions in Portland, such as RACC, Literary Arts, Mercy Corps Northwest, The PDC, SBDC, and local banks like Albina. All of these resources have contributed to our ability to grow and thrive.
How do Scout Books facilitate making?
In my opinion, the best part about Scout Books is that people can “make their own” either through designing the artwork and content and having Scout Book manufacture the project for them, or by using our DIY line and customizing it with stamps, screen printing, letterpress or other methods.
Here are links to Case Studies showing all the amazing ways our clients use the Scout Book format.
Scout Books are fundamentally tools for encouraging and capturing creativity and ideas. It’s important to draw, write, sketch, and doodle with a pen or pencil on actual paper. Scout Books are the perfect companion to the creative process.
People say “print is dead”, what are your thoughts on this?
We don’t think that print is dead, but it’s certainly an industry in transition. We feel fortunate to have grown each year, and work hard to find new ways to make print relevant in a changing world. I think printing companies that are successful in today’s marketplace have been creative and nimble, and found ways to use the internet to their advantage.
Our goal with Scout Books was to augment the digital world with physical objects of lasting quality and usefulness. We created a simple ordering process that gives easy access into our Portland, OR based manufacturing. We print, bind and ship Scout Books using all American-made, 100% recycled papers and soy-based inks to our friends and clients worldwide.
The tangibility and beauty of print ensures its continued relevance, but its role and importance has shifted dramatically.