A little nostalgia is paying off big for a company called Lantern Press in South Seattle. The company has found success by doing things the old fashioned way
They are retro, they are romantic, they are the images of Seattle’s lantern press: making us long for a simpler time.
“I think we pave things over, we cut down our tallest trees,” said Aaron Morris of Lantern Press. “People appreciate remembering what things were like.”
Even if things never really were like that.
“Not everyone got a great poster in the 30's and 40's,” said Morris.
With a small stable of talented artists and a large room for manufacturing everything from keychains to postcards to tote bags.
“We now make over 50 items in house,” said Morris.
Lantern Press has been riding the nostalgia wave to new heights every year since it started in 2008.
“This year we'll end up 50% over last year,” said Morris.
Aaron Morris admits he can't draw a lick, but he knows what his clients like.
“Like the Space Needle locally,” said Morris. “We worked with the Golden Gate Bridge who recently celebrated their 75th Anniversary, Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park, Zoos, Aquariums.”
Where did Aaron get such a great idea for a business? From his dad.
“My dad's the single person that taught me to love graphic arts,” said Morris.
And to love business. On Aaron’s 15th birthday, his dad laid a small stack of cash on the table and said they could spend it on a party.
“’Or you can start your first real business and I'll teach you everything I know about margins and profits and how to go and get that customer and retain that customer.’ I picked that money up and said let's get started,” said Morris.
Aaron has started several companies and sold them, but Lantern Press is different, especially after his dad passed.
“We're surrounded by kind of my dad's dream really,” said Morris.
Aaron has also surrounded himself with artists who are given the freedom to be creative.
“We're able to say "Hey why don't we try this?" and just throw it out there and it usually works and people respond,” said artist Jason Munday.
Perhaps inspired by his toy robot collection, Jason Munday came up with a series of posters featuring aliens attacking famous landmarks.
“This was kind of a homage to the B movies of the 50's and 60's,” said Munday.
And it's one of Lantern Press's biggest sellers, proving these days that some old fashioned throwbacks are a great way to get ahead.