Base Camp Printing Co. is run by sisters and co-owners Emily & Betsy Sokolosky. Born and raised in Charleston, WV, they’ve been running the business together on the city's West Side since 2017.
Back when Base Camp first opened in May of 2016 Emily was running things on her own. But Emily’s love of letterpress began when she was a student at WVU.
While studying for her Graphic Design degree, she was introduced to the historic GramLee collection of wood engravings by her professor Joe Galbreath. She was hooked, and so she worked with Joe to create an independent study in order to learn more about letterpress and work with the collection.
After she graduated from WVU in 2014, she spent 3 months as an intern at the legendary Hatch Show Print in Nashville, TN - the oldest continuously ran print shop in the country. Once the internship ended, she moved back to Charleston and was eager to learn more about any type of printing, so she emailed local screen printers and designers Dan & Hillary of Kin Ship Goods. They gave her a job in their store and encouraged her to keep pursuing printmaking. In the meantime, she had also acquired an old press that she fixed up in her parents’ garage.
Everything came together when Dan & Hillary moved Kin Ship from Downtown Charleston to a new larger location on the West Side and offered Emily space in the building to start her own business!
Emily’s older sister by 2 years, Betsy graduated from WVU in 2013 with a degree in Advertising. After she graduated, she moved to the D.C. area for a job in nonprofit email marketing. But ultimately she decided she missed WV and moved back to the mountain state in 2015.
Once she returned, she took a year long assignment as an AmeriCorps VISTA for local nonprofit Try This. When the year was up in the fall of 2016 she put off finding a new job as long as possible and instead started helping Emily with her new business.
They soon found that they were a perfect team and loved working together so the partnership quickly became permanent. Betsy became the co-owner of Base Camp in September of 2017.