Arkansas Small Business Success

Arkansas Small Business Success

Brooks Tipton & Electric Ghost

 

Brooks Tipton with his first silkscreen press that he used to start his small business.

 

 

Brooks Tipton was a construction worker who was playing part-time gigs as a musician in 2008. Then the economy went into the “Great Recession” and like many Americans, he was laid off from his day job. Brooks still had to pay the rent and needed a way to make money. He realized playing in a band in front of small audiences would not generate a sufficient income, so he researched what brings in income for most bands—merchandise sales. 

Another band member taught Brooks screen-printing and through trial and error, the unemployed construction worker began printing T-shirts at home.

He spent $1,000 on his small business startup in 2009 purchasing a small silkscreen press that generated enough income to pay his rent. He was now hooked on being an entrepreneur. In September of that year, Brooks opened Electric Ghost, a silkscreen printing business in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The company’s sales increased from $99,000 the first year to nearly $585,000 in revenue in 2018 with seven full-time and four part-time employees. His customers include: Arkansas State Parks and Tourism, Yellow Rocket and Lost 40 Brewery, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Ballet Arkansas, national touring bands, a group of military service members on a roller derby team in Japan, schools, and churches to name a few. He even finds time as a musician to tour with The Manchester Orchestra where he continues the tradition of merchandise sales at concerts.

Small business owner of the Electric Ghost - Brooks Tipton - in front of his store in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Brooks is able to accomplish all of this as a successful small business owner through tremendous support. His spouse Shannon manages accounting, websites, and more. “She is everything,” boasts Brooks, “and I could not do it without her.” He noted that he is also fortunate to have a good team of employees at Electric Ghost who are highly skilled at their trade.

In addition to Shannon and his team, Brooks credits his business success to assistance received from SBA and its resource and lending partners. “I literally could not have done this without the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center sending us to Forge,” said Brooks, “who worked with SBA to guarantee the loan.” Brooks did not have many sources of credit at the time, but he secured a $50,000 Microloan through Forge Community Loan Fund, an SBA approved Microlender. “Something as small as $50,000 is huge when you need it,” said Brooks. “That allowed us to buy equipment, move up a level out of a garage to a downtown space, get some people on payroll, and build the business.” Brooks continues to manage his successful Arkansas business, noting he intends to apply for another SBA-backed small business loan to grow his operations.

Note: This article and the accompanying photograph do not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.

 

Company Name: 
Electric Ghost
Location: 
Little Rock, Arkansas