With the evolving landscape of our society and culture, there is a growing trend towards products that emphasize social justice and community empowerment. Encouraging unity within a community can ignite a unique inspiration that differs from conventional companies and products. Recognizing the significance of this approach, Maryam Pugh embarked on a journey to instigate change within her community in Philadelphia.

Through self-taught screenprinting skills acquired via YouTube, Maryam established Philadelphia Printworks, a screenprinting facility dedicated to raising awareness about various social movements, particularly within the Philadelphia community. Maryam’s entrepreneurial aspirations and childhood exposure to social justice themes converged to become the driving force behind her brand.

Discover her transition to full-time entrepreneurship and her essential advice for fellow entrepreneurs seeking to leverage their platforms to address societal injustices.

Name: Maryam April Pugh,Owner/CEOofPhiladelphia Print Works
Age: 37
Current Location: Philadelphia, PA
Education: BA Computer Science, MS Information Systems Management with a concentration in Programming Languages

Your Initial Job and Journey to Social Justice

My first job was at the local YMCA in my hometown. While I couldn’t swim, I worked in the snack bar at the age of 14, driven by the desire to be part of the lively atmosphere.

Pursuit of Social Justice and Its Personal Significance

My commitment to social justice has evolved over time. It stems from civic engagement as a fundamental aspect of freedom and the influences embedded in me from childhood. The threads of resistance have always been interwoven into my life’s fabric, resonating from early communal experiences and memories.

The legacy of resistance has been a constant presence in my life.

Learning Screen Printing and Entrepreneurial Dreams

My fascination with tactile creation and the role of screenprinting in protests fueled my interest in this art form. Being part of a legacy of activism through art was a pivotal driver.

Path to Entrepreneurship and Overcoming Challenges

Entrepreneurship was always my ambition, deeply ingrained in my upbringing. Recognizing the perpetual limitations in traditional career paths, I sought to set new benchmarks by forging my entrepreneurial path.

Empowering myself to lead as I envisioned required building my platform from the ground up.

Transition to Full-Time Entrepreneurship and Daily Routine

Leaving Oracle for Philadelphia Printworks became imminent once I realized the growth potential of my venture. Refocusing resources internally enabled me to sustain myself financially, marking a new phase in my professional journey, driven by a quest for fulfillment and impactful leadership.

Community Involvement and Enriching Your Mission

Engagement with organizations like Mural Arts Philadelphia and the March to End Rape Culture has deepened my understanding of community challenges and broadened the scope of collaboration and advocacy. This relationship enriches our mission and product offerings by aligning with grassroots needs.

Embracing Community Feedback and Driving Change

Community reception of Philadelphia Printworks has been overwhelmingly positive, echoing our commitment to serving and empowering the community through our products.

Guidance for Changemakers and Product Developers

Advocating for authentic representation and amplifying marginalized voices is paramount. Collaborating with impacted communities, paying due respect to their narratives, and ensuring equitable partnerships distinguish genuine activism from mere appropriation.

Empowering authentic voices and facilitating inclusive narratives are the pillars of impactful product development.

Challenges and Rewards in Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship

Striving for social responsibility in a consumption-driven society poses a significant challenge, while building a community aligned with transformative change stands as a rewarding achievement.

Vision for the Future

Envisioning the expansion of Philadelphia Printworks involves scaling our team, clientele, and collaborations, aiming to establish a warehouse that fosters community employment, services, and educational initiatives. A dream of a PPW storefront and potentially replicating our model in other cities fuels our aspirations for the future.

Advice to Your Younger Self

Embrace the journey of learning without inhibition. Mistakes are part of growth, and the quest for knowledge is a perpetual voyage.

Maryam Pugh is The Everygirl . . .

I wish I knew how to… Do a back flip.

Piece of clothing you wish would go back in style? Fanny packs.

Home essential everyone needs? A housecoat and a cozy pair of slippers.

Go-to Starbucks order? Grande caramel macchiato.

Ideal way to spend a Saturday? Lounging in my pajamas, on the couch with my laptop, watching a movie with my family.

If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why? Michelle Obama. No explanation necessary.


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