Judy Mazzuca, Owner of Ink Forest, Shares the Power of Running a Green Business
Today, more consumers are demanding companies to use sustainable and environmentally-friendly methods to produce products and services. Judy Mazzuca is ahead of the curve. Judy owns and operates Ink Forest, the greenest screen printer available. Ink Forest emphasizes the importance of working clothing that has non-hazardous ink, and that’s why they only offer water-based ink printing. This service appeals to anyone who values ethically responsible best practices. Not to mention, Judy is the only woman-owned green certified printer in America. Keep reading to learn more about Judy’s business, what it takes to run a “green business” and the one piece of advice all women entrepreneurs should follow.
The Innovative Brand
Years ago, Judy’s primary focus was being the best mom she could be. Once her kids left for college, she found a new calling and started Ink Forest. She attended printing school which allowed her to hone in on her skills. And after the 2016 election, green businesses and women-owned businesses began to thrive even more, despite any political agendas. Judy learned the printing business and saw that so many bad chemicals were involved.
Judy told us, “I wanted to do something different. This is for our future, my children, and grandchildren. Yes, it might cost more to produce organically or made America products. But if I was going to start this business, I knew it had to be the right way.”
Ink Forest is the only woman-owned business in the screen printing industry. Why does this matter? Because most screen printing shops are either owned by men or wall street investors. These printers focus on production and profit rather than customer service and quality. Ink Forest believes in the connection between their clients and shared futures. Why does Ink Forest use water-based inks exclusively? Because it’s the ethical and responsible way to print.
The Fundamentals of Running a “Green” Business
To stay competitive, Judy must keep up with trends and think outside the box. She positions and markets her business as the Greenest and most Environmentally Friendly screen printer. Ink Forest prints with only water-based inks and uses locally sourced soybean-based solvents in their cleaning process. Conventional screen printing inks contain PVC’s and Phthalates which are not found in water-based inks. Printing “green” keeps chemicals off of our shirts as well as Benzene out of our groundwater. Ink Forest also continues to recertify as a Green Business every year. Ink Forest aligns itself with other like-minded businesses, therefore they use ethical clothing suppliers that offer organic, Fair Labor, Fair Trade and Made in America sweatshop-free apparel.
Advice for Women Entrepreneurs
For those who are interested in getting started in this industry, Judy has some helpful tips. She tells us, “I was self-taught and I mentor a lot of people, both men, and women. I don’t fit the mold. I’m not in my 20s or 30s, and I’m not who people expect me to be. I do have a background in graphic arts but I was completely self-taught.”Not only did Judy overcome being the first woman-owned business but also being one of the few green own businesses in her field. So how did she do it?
She tells us, “I’m seen as a nuisance because I do the process so differently. I get a lot of questions, like ‘Why are you doing it that way?’ My male counterparts used to scare me, but not anymore.”
“My advice to other women would be to find your find your passion and find a niche. You really have to research and immerse yourself in what you want to do. When I started, I did so much research and found out everything about the market.”
The Future of Ink Forest
Judy has big plans for her business. When asked, ‘Where do you see Ink Forest in the next 10 years?”, her response was “I see it continuously growing.” Judy is currently doing everything by herself but she is looking to hire her first employee very soon.
She goes on to say, “College isn’t for every kid, that’s ok. I think I could help someone coming out of high school do something in a green sustainable way. I can show them how a real business works and teach them something very valuable.”
Judy sees her business journey such a fun experience. She says, “If you told me I’d be doing this 5 years ago I wouldn’t believe you.”
We understand that running a green business has its challenges, but the costs are worth the reward for our planet. We celebrate any business who is actively working towards “going green”.
More with Judy ….
What does the world need more and less of?
More acceptance of everyone and everything, lot less knitching over differences and situations.
What’s your favorite spring or summer activity?
If you could have lunch with any woman (past or present), who would it be and why?
Ellen Degeneres. She is so accepting of everything and everyone. She seems genuinely concerned about the environment and all people.
What’s your life motto.
‘Working on a dream.’ I’ve adopted that as my business motto too.