Local screen printer boosts community spirit
Story by Molly Baker
Bellingham’s streets have become a little more artistic and a whole lot more hip ever since INNATE, a screen-printing shop with a vibrant, authentic and youthful perspective, threw open its doors in 2009. Creating a new artistic undertaking in the city they’d come to love was only natural for founders Corey Warren and Dylan Warnberg. It appears that ideas, entrepreneurship and creative flair are simply innate for them.
I meet with Corey at the Mt. Baker Ski Area to talk about the store. Corey, always observant and engaged, is quite a wordsmith himself and seems to articulate INNATE’s vision in a way that has my mind swirling. Under the obvious function of the business are undercurrents of charity, philosophy and a recognition of what makes the community difference.
If you’ve been to Mallard Ice Cream, Mt. Baker Ski Area, Kulshan Brewing, Pickford Film Center or many other businesses in the area, you’ve probably seen designs that were first conceived in the minds of the INNATE team. From logo conception to screen-printed T-shirts and posters, INNATE has delivered unique branding for Pacific Northwest businesses. With its strong connection to Cascadia, INNATE understands and represents the cooperative spirit that is Bellingham with its small city flavor and penchant for local and communal. The shops, events and social platforms – the genetic make-up of the community – needed a voice, and INNATE was there to articulate their purpose, place and intentions through design.
But at INNATE, they aren’t just interested in their own designs. The shop is continually inspired by the vision of local artists and has made it a stage for others to be recognized and share their work.
“INNATE was founded upon the awareness of the abundant and immediate creative resources in our community,” Corey says. “We feel the obligation to showcase it by any and all means.”
Anyone can submit their designs on the shop’s website. When Corey and Dylan see something they like, a trial run of 25 shirts with the artist’s work is featured and sold in the shop.
Through this process, mainstay products like the “Bellinghome,” “Seek the Peak” and “Powder Hound” T-shirts and sweatshirts have been popping up all over. The shop invites you to venture in, choose a shirt or sweatshirt and then select your favorite design to be printed. You leave with a locally and personally designed piece, a hot commodity in a world of big box stores.
While design may be INNATE’s forte, philanthropy is their purpose. What started as a ski and snowboard gear shop has turned into a place for creative and humanitarian minds to come together and display art – at times for the benefit of local organizations and non-profits. Over the years INNATE has become involved in and initiated a number of events that assist groups such as the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center and Lydia Place, in addition to winter clothing drives and Earth Day clean-up projects.
“We persistently strive to progress and provide for ourselves and our community by way of positive influence,” says Corey of their community events and fundraisers. “Art shows, exhibits and social gatherings are an engaging way to do this.”
It seems that they’ve become a nucleus for community and Bellingham has gladly welcomed their arrival. In an area with no shortage of artists, outdoor lovers, students, and activists, INNATE has become a beacon of moving and shaking.
“Supporting INNATE means that you support the proliferation and power of positive message accompanied by the pride to proudly represent that which you believe in,” Corey concludes. “Isn’t that something we can all stand for?
INNATE is located at 1420 N. State Street, Bellingham. For more information, visit innations.com or call 360/392-8675. X
Molly Baker is a professional skier and freelance writer. Follow her adventures at mollykbaker.wordpress.com.