Block + Ink co-founders Whit Slagsvol and Dylan Roukous.
After local attorney Whit Slagsvol returned from a trip to India wearing mandarin-collared, block-print shirts, he received loads of compliments. His friend, Dylan Roukous took note. “We said, ‘OK, we have to do something here,’” recalls Roukous, a co-founder of Nectar sunglasses and owner of 5 Palms Media.
Slagsvol reached out to the tailor where he bought the organic cotton shirts, and he and Roukous launched Block + Ink in late 2020. “The vibe is resort wear, very light and airy,” says Roukous.
He’s intrigued by block-ink printing, a technique that uses carved wooden blocks dipped in ink made of organic vegetable dye to transfer the patterns to the shirts. “There’s no machine in the whole process. We wanted to keep it very sustainable,” he says.
The business partners have promoted the shirts on Instagram and sold them at music festivals, as well as through their website and boutiques, including Jordan Lash. At the end of last year, they received a large order from a retailer, giving them confidence to plan a marketing campaign this spring and summer. They’ve partnered with local band Doom Flamingo to create a flamingo-print shirt and with Warrior Surf Foundation to donate a portion of the proceeds on another style to the nonprofit.
The business partners are planning to add pants and shorts as well as silk and linen fabrics. ”Block + Ink is going to crush it,” Roukous says. ”The shirt looks good, it feels good, and you get a lot of compliments when you wear it.”