We had the good fortune of connecting with Tom & Kat Vaughan-Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tom & Kat, how do you think about risk?
We often don’t look to things as risks too often. When we have a good feeling about something we do it. When choosing new products or offerings we often think “would I want this?” If yes, we make it reality, sometimes it works out, other times not so much. Nothing would get done around our shop if we worried too much about risks.

The role risk has played for us was that it lead to us here. We pivoted, and made our shop real in just a few months. We are just two people and have a small niche clientele, if we spent any time looking at that we wouldn’t exist. It took years of play and trial and error to fine tune our process, and build custom automations to help us with volume. All of those ideas sounded crazy at the time, if we spent any time discussing or dissecting them we probably would have voted to not do them. A few years ago we thought it was a crazy idea start our entire website over, including the order process, in the beginning of that year in order to make our website fully e-commerce to make ordering easier from the perspective of a beginner. It took Tom a full year to launch that idea, in doing so we were the first in our smaller category of print to offer something other than a form and pricing matrix.

Our advice to risks are to ignore them and jump. Nothing great will ever come if we sat at looked at risks as anything other than opportunities to do something new.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We own & run Split Arrow Print House, A print shop dedicated to assisting all artists of any level achieve professional & high quality printed merchandise that fit seamlessly into the retail environment. We feel what sets us apart from others is that our shop is built by the vary people we print for. We are artists first and foremost who fell in love with print. We offer products and services we ourselves would use in our artistic practice. When we went out to build our Split Arrow, we didn’t foresee making a print house that focuses on printing retail goods for small businesses and artists. We started as a collaborative project between the two of us (Tom & Kat) where we both took part in the process of making our own artwork into collaborative prints of Kat’s photography & Tom’s Illustrations. In the search for better quality prints we took to doing everything ourselves. Though that we found that everybody asked where we got our stuff made. We would proudly say we made it. After some time talking with other artists we realized there was a huge disconnect between artist and printing retail quality products. We put our collaborative project on the back burner to build a print house for every level of artist to print with ease and in an artistic language they could understand. We were there, once, as young artists printing can be wildly intimidating. We try to remove that intimidation in our shop though education, being open about the printing process. We want everybody to walkaway from our shop with print work they are proud to say “Our friends at Split Arrow printed this”.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We have a ton of friends from out of town not being from Atlanta ourselves. We would try to give them a taste of things they can’t see or get where they are from.

For food we are going to: Homegrown for brunch, Juniors for a slice of pizza, Grindhouse for burgers, Sweet Auburn BBQ, and for drinks Highland Tap.

For going out we would go: A walk though Oakland cemetery, Check out Living Walls in Cabbagetown, time permitting got to check out the whale sharks in the Atlanta Aquarium.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We would like to dedicate our shoutout to several people.

We would definitely wouldn’t be here without the support of our parents for the encouragement and belief in what we can do.

To Gary of Odditees Screen Print for offering us a space to work in & being an advocate for our brand.

And to the Illustrator & Author Mike Lowery for initially spotting our ability to print and setting up our first job in the print industry.

Website: splitarrowprints.com

Instagram: @splitarrowprints

Other: Tiktok @splitarrowprints

Image Credits
N/A Self Taken

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.