By Bridgett Harris
Marques White doesn’t get too much sleep these days.
By day, he runs Rainy Days Silkscreen Studio, the screen printing shop he assumed ownership of at the end of August 2019. By night, he works full shifts at a local treatment facility while he continues to grow his newly acquired business.
On top of that hefty schedule, he finds time to volunteer as a co-facilitator of teen grief groups for a suicide prevention organization. White even has his own clothing line: Billionaire’s Social Club.
While he may be tired, he’s also incredibly enthusiastic about his new venture, a major departure from his previous career in social services.
“I kind of just fell into it,” he said. “One opportunity led to another and then my experience carried me through these different opportunities.”
White has lived in Colorado much of his life. His father’s Air Force job brought the family to Colorado Springs from Hawaii when White was in fourth grade. It was a bit of a shock.
“It was probably in the 70s in Honolulu when we left,” he recalls, “and it was snowing here.”
White graduated from Sand Creek High School and worked in various roles in social services. He was as a branch director of the Boys and Girls Club in Colorado Springs, then worked in a residential treatment facility in Denver before moving to Aspen, where he worked on a four-person treatment team for an adult with autism.
He moved from Aspen to Arizona, where he’d traveled frequently to visit his brother, who was stationed there with the Air Force. He felt the call to move grow stronger with each visit. He worked as a direct care staff member at a residential treatment facility there, then transitioned to case management.
While he enjoyed that work, he also felt like something was missing.
“I was just yearning for creative freedom that I wasn’t really getting,” he said.
Fortunately, that outlet was just waiting for him back in Colorado Springs. The chance to take over Rainy Days arose when the previous owner, Diann Webb, decided she was ready to retire. White had known Webb for about 10 years when she made the decision; in fact, she had printed White’s first clothing line years before.
The opportunity was risky and unlike any of his previous endeavors. He took it.
“I’m a carefree person and I figured, ‘Why not? Let me see if I can make this work,’” White said.
He pushed himself hard in the early days of ownership. While he had learned quite a bit from Webb, mastering the services wasn’t always easy.
“At first, I was learning as I went. Every day was always a huge learning experience,” he said. “That was really cool.”
Over time, White has perfected his skills and built his own rhythm in the shop. His clientele is diverse. He serves local businesses, brides-to-be, softball teams and more — even dogs. Just recently, he completed a set of custom face masks for a Colorado Springs garage door company, an product line he thinks will continue to grow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
White points to a dog-adorned shirt for local radio station KRCC as one of his most interesting projects. The six-color process to create the dog was nerve-wracking at first, he said, but his tenacity paid off. On the company’s Facebook page, White shared a video of the different components required to build the final product, toggling through the layers to show how it was created during the silkscreen process.
“It was a big job and I really wanted it to be perfect,” said White.
On top of its screen printing services, Rainy Days also offers embroidery and graphic design. In addition to the shirts and sweatshirts that typify a silkscreen order, customers can order bandanas, bags, hats and, in the age of COVID-19, face masks. Order sizes also vary — White tries to accommodate most customers.
“If I have the time to do it, I’m not going to say no to too many things,” he said. “I’m not that fancy yet.”
Rainy Days Silkscreen Studio
Contact: 719-471-2546; facebook.com/RainyDaysSilkscreenStudio