Goodbye Backwords Press: An End and a Beginning
After three fantastic years, we have decided that it’s time to close Backwords Press, our brave little poetry fashion press in Portland.
To mark the ending, us three co-founders were grateful to have spent this last weekend together in Los Angeles. Phillip and Jenny flew down and joined Matty for a short sunset hike up LA's Runyon Canyon, after essentially our last discussion about the fate of the press. It was hard. We have a lot of emotions around this decision, and a few tears and reminiscences were shared (among the more "derpy" giggly moments, like in the photo above).
We’re dissolving Backwords Press at the end of 2017. All daily operations will be ending at the end of October. But to be clear and equivocal, the blog will most definitely be continuing, so please keep coming back...
We wanted to explain why we've made the decision to dissolve the Press: we owe that to you all. As you might expect, this has demanded an awful lot of tenderness and consideration, and countless challenging discussions among the three of us. We weren’t always in 100% agreement, but after a lot of soul-searching and conversations around feasibility, we’ve decided that this is the best way forward.
Business solubility is never a fun discussion, even when you’re doing well. We’ve had to look at costs, sales, overhead, our marketing efforts, and our potential options for the future. We have also had to be honest about our needs as a press, the integrity we want to show to our writers, and how we’ve adjusted to our own life-changes. Backwords Press was always a labor of love—about co-creating amazing things and seeing writers fairly compensated for their work—and we just weren’t making enough money as a company to continue that mission any longer. We’re sad about our decision, but it was time to make the decision final and public.
If you have any last-minute orders or requests for existing designs, please don’t hesitate to order your hearts out in The Shop or write us an email. We’ll be taking orders through the end of October on any remaining stock. If you can’t find a tee in your chosen design/size, please consider a tote bag instead (as there are a fair amount left, especially in canvas). We’re sorry, but we are not able to fill any requests for out-of-stock colors/sizes at this time.
If you have a cause in mind, and think our existing stock should go toward it, get in touch with us via email about donating. Or, if you are interested in purchasing screen-printing equipment, please contact us for details and a price-list.
Our blog will continue to publish new content every Wednesday. Yes, there will be website changes in the coming weeks: bear with us throughout these vicissitudes. As always, you’re welcome to write for us, too! Just shoot us an email...
We hope you’ve enjoyed the journey with us. Despite this decision, Backwords has been a success because of the amazing work you’ve helped us to bring into the world! Here at Backwords, we believe an end is just another beginning. We drank to that belief during this last weekend, too, as we shared some laughs and successes from the past three years.
Finally, thank you. We’ve been absolutely floored by the level of creative talent and literary skill we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Bianca, Janice, Stephanie, Lourdes, Armin, Laura, Jeff, Wes, Van, Kevin, Erin, and Ocean—go forth with all of our greatest wishes, though your abilities and individual spirits need no blessing from us; we’ve loved working alongside you and your poems—we remain devotees of your words. Costner, Vincent, Maria, Phillip B, your designs, professionalism, care and faculty humble and enthuse us: good luck in everything you do. We would be remiss to not acknowledge, once again, DanE Artman, for his screenprinting guidance, coaching, and attention. Likewise, we would like to thank Kit Cody for his business consultation and acumen. And then all of you from Kickstarter, who put your psychic and fiscal energies into play to let us dream this dream into the world.
Backwords Press had a great three years, changing the conversation around how writing is valued, supported, and experienced in a life well-lived. Keep wearing your shirts. Keep toting your tote bags. This is still writing we hope you’re prouder than ever to wear.
And, of course, keep coming back for new blog pieces.
Phillip Trey Coates Jenny M. Chu Matthew D. Kulisch