WQOW - You may have heard his spot on Wisconsin accent, or seen some of his viral videos like "Husbands of Target" but you may not know that Wisconsin comedian, Charlie Berens has a connection to the land of clear water.
For three years, Eau Claire's Ambient Inks has been printing and designing all of Berens' merchandise. From hats, t-shirts and now face masks the print shop in Eau Claire formed a partnership unlike non other by happen stance.
In episode 2 of Berens' "Manitowoc Minute" he mentioned a Craiglist ad featuring a boat lift with no top. As the video was circulating, a worker at Ambient Inks recognized the boat lift and the person selling it - it was his uncle. Clayton Brice, an account director at Ambient Inks thought this would be an opportunity. He called Charlie up, and just like that a partnership was formed.
"It's equal parts good for business, and also just fun, it's one of the funnest projects I've worked on. Because there is usually an apparel item tied to a joke, " said Brice.
Each one of those items, not just tied to a joke but to a mission to keep our economy here in the Badger State movin'.
"From the very beginning, for him having things made locally, and having things made in America has always been a focal point of his entire merch," said Brice. "So everything we print is manufactured in the United States, all the blanks that we print on. Then printed locally in Eau Claire. So we were certainly a good fit for him for that reason, that is something that is really important to us as a company doing things made in America, and things that are socially conscious and sustainably focused."
Berens echoing that statement when speaking with News 18's Katie Phernetton, saying it's very important for him to keep the printing in Wisconsin and buy products made in the U.S.
"It's good from a lot of different perspectives," said Berens. "You know, people want to see different innovation, different industries in Wisconsin. I think this is an easy way to support it. And as you give them more business and as they grow, they can get more efficient in how they do things. I just kind of think that people like the fact that their shirts are printed just over in Eau Claire."
Since the partnership in 2017 Ambient Inks has been able to grow their business. Not only do they print up and help design the merchandise, they run the e-commerce, order fulfillment and shipping, and pre-pandemic, would travel with Berens for his gigs.
The majority of orders they see are from Wisconsin and the Midwest but Brice says they are now seeing orders across the globe.
"We'll ship orders to Europe, and I saw an order the other day go to Iceland, just all over. His comedy travels," said Brice.
And just like a beer and a brat - it's a perfect partnership made right here in Wisconsin.
"They're always on point, and if you want to pivot in one direction or another, they're right there to help you with it. I really enjoy them and if this is beneficial to them as well, that's great," said Berens.
While the business is growing, their partnership has also helped different charities and organizations throughout the years. Most recently to help residents in Iowa after the Derecho moved through damaging homes and towns in August.