Build Your Business: Shop Talk

Screen-Printing a High-end Denim Collection

July 15, 2023 |

In the beginning, Donwan Harrell and his wife, Jahayra, outsourced their company, Artmeetschaos’, garment manufacturing and printing overseas. But when minimum order quantities saddled the business with excess inventory, they decided to bring their screen-printing operations in-house.

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Living the Apparel Decorating Dream

April 27, 2023 |

Born in Belize City, in Central America, John Pinnington’s early childhood was not an easy one. But he has since gone on to make his dreams a reality by going into the printing and decorated apparel business, where a combination of hard work and a no-nonsense emphasis on service and quality had led to continued success.

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Embroidering to Scale

March 17, 2023 |

Seemingly ubiquitous as a cliché (e.g., the dawn of time), embroidery possesses a rich, ancient-like history. A timeless classic, the art can be traced back to the Cro-Magnon days, roughly around 30,000 B.C.

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Flying High

March 17, 2023 |

A love for aviation took Rocky Smith on a lifelong journey from pilot to apparel decorating specialist. Smith, who earned his private pilot’s license in 2001, has had a lifelong love of airplanes—World War II planes especially.

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Stealth Success

February 23, 2023 |

Rich Khun is a man of many talents. He began his career in 2004 as a graphic designer, creating among other things, CD covers, nightclub flyers and billboard designs.

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Main Street Mogul

January 11, 2023 |

It’s one thing to build a single successful business in a half-dozen years, but four successful businesses? That’s been the reality for Nikkie Chadwick, president of Walnut Creek Apparel & Gifts located in Beloit, Wisconsin, a small college town an hour and a half northwest of Chicago

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Big Thinking Pays Off

March 23, 2022 |

Dawaud Muhammad already had built a name for himself in the urban clothing game before the apparel world would formally be introduced to San Leandro, California-based Big Printing T-Shirt Co.

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Making an Impression

March 23, 2022 |

The decorated-apparel industry has long been recognized as a place where creativity, innovation and giving back have become defining hallmarks of the community at large, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected everyone — regardless of occupation or industry — in the last two years.

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The Lady Print Boss

October 6, 2021 |

La Tonna Roberson always had a passion for apparel and design, but she had no idea the canvas she’d spend countless hours working on would be T-shirts.

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Light in the Darkness

July 22, 2021 |

Amber Penny Massey experienced her first case of severe anxiety at age 22. Upon getting her master’s degree in emotional behavior disorders from Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, she worked as a special-education teacher in the Muscogee County School District.

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Change Agents

June 9, 2021 |

Six years ago, Scoreboard Sports started offering e-stores. And while several of the industry’s biggest players —, Eastbay and BSN Sports — already were striking gold with their own custom platforms, owner Sean Macklyn thought the initiative was worth the effort.

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In Full Bloom

April 16, 2021 |

In many ways, Ada Asenjo’s foray into decorated apparel exemplifies the quintessential journey on which many nascent business owners in this industry embark.

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Merch and More

January 26, 2021 |

When he was 17, Upstate Merch owner Dylan Gilligan was installing appliances for a New York Sears by day and practicing with his band at night.

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No Place Like Home

March 31, 2020 |

Sue and J.R. Howell own and operate Marshallton, Delaware-based Shacraft Inc., a home-based decorated-apparel business that offers screen printing, sublimation, embroidery and CAD-cutting services.

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Peaks and Valleys

February 25, 2020 |

Wendy Schenck-Benson’s first adventure in screen printing occurred in late-spring 1983 in Salt Lake City. The area had
record-breaking snowpack that melted because of a warm spring descended the mountains.

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Gandy’s Rapid Growth

January 23, 2020 |

Phil Gandy calls it the “bulldog mindset” — that drive and ambition that was necessary when he started Gandy Ink in San Angelo, Texas, more than 30 years ago.

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Full Steam Ahead

October 22, 2019 |

Paul Whitmore still remembers the biggest job that rolled through Rhino Graphics. Not too long before a 44,000-shirt order came in, the San Marcos, Texas-based shop had just purchased an automatic screen-printing press.

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Strong Roots

August 23, 2019 |

To say that California Roots Presents (CRP) is a dynamic and intertwined group of creative businesses may be an understatement.

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Eyes on the Future

May 31, 2019 |

There’s something unique about the apparel-decorating community. Ask decorators about their counterparts and what epitomizes the good things about the industry and — surprise — they won’t ramble on about themselves. They’ll actually defer praise to others.

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Self-Made Sublimation

March 21, 2019 |

Donray Printing has a rich history — a classic story of a man and his vision. Founder Art Ferriola was first introduced to sublimation printing when he worked as a press man — and eventually salesman — for Devries Printing in Saddle Brook, New Jersey.

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Cause Central

January 25, 2019 |

In February 2018, during a lecture at Harvard Business School, Skya Nelson was asked how his company, organic sweatshop-free boutique apparel maker Fed By Threads (FBT), was going to change the minds of today’s corporate consumers regarding sustainability.

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Coming Up ‘Roses’

October 5, 2018 |

Peter Daneyko was first introduced to large-format sublimation by his business partner, Joe Werner, whose friends in the printing business brought the trend to his attention.

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Self-Taught Success

September 20, 2018 |

Drue Nickerson was only 11 years old when he began his T-shirt journey, drawing cartoon characters on garments with fabric markers and selling them.

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Training Through Threads

August 27, 2018 |

Eden Autism was started in 1975 as a nonprofit organization to help individuals with autism. The organization has made many strides in varying areas, including opening a school and offering adult services and various other outreach programs.

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Repping Rad Clothing

June 1, 2018 |

In 2014, Mel Lay founded Gladstone, Oregon-based SandiLake Clothing to satisfy an unmet demand. She saw a trend in “statement clothing” for children, as well as matching sets for kids and adults.

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Stumbling Upon a ‘Hit’

May 17, 2018 |

Stuart McKown doesn’t have a long history in the decorated-apparel industry. In fact, he was in a different industry during the country’s most recent economic recession in 2008.

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Putting in the Work

May 7, 2018 |

Don’t quit your “real jobs.” That’s what everyone told Adam McCauley and Ryan Dost, co-owners of Michigan-based Sandlot Sports LLC, when they floated the idea of starting the business in 2008.

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Following the Signs

April 3, 2018 |

Fortunately, Doyle Rogers is as good at reading signs as he is at making them. When he took over his father’s Bridgman, Michigan-based sign shop in 2003, he soon realized the company was missing out on a lucrative business opportunity.

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Tipping the Scales

February 23, 2018 |

Every successful company has a “secret sauce,” that special element that allows it to rise above the competition and achieve prosperity. The ability to identify and fulfill a niche is, and always has been, key.

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Retail at High Tide

October 5, 2017 |

At first glance, Virginia Beach,Virginia-based Surf and Adventure Co.’s past appears rather complicated. But based on the retail shop’s current status, it seems that its history has positioned the printing business for a solid future.

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Life’s Calling

February 21, 2017 |

She smokes cigars and drives fast cars. But looking past the wafting smoke clouds and revving engines reveals a different side of Suzanne Whatley, owner of Branding Matters! LLC.

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A Different Decorator

May 3, 2016 |

Stephen Terrell wanted to prove the naysayers wrong when they said his way of doing business wouldn’t work. That desire ultimately catapulted his company, Print Works, to notable success in a relatively short time period.

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Keeping It Local

April 4, 2016 |

In 2005, Tom Rauen was working as a bartender in the small college town of Dubuque, Iowa, and — like most new college grads — wondering where life might take him next.

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Shop of All Trades

March 7, 2016 |

Large, high-volume printing shops don’t just appear. It takes years of
hard work to grow into a successful apparel-decorating business.

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Process Engineering

February 8, 2016 |

When Michael Rothermund got laid off from his fourth job in the engineering industry, he knew it was time for a change — and all signs pointed to the T-shirt business. 

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A Much-Needed Jolt

January 11, 2016 |

It started in his high school graphic-arts class in the 1990s. That is where Jason Lansdell, owner of Rome, Ga.-based High Voltage Prints, learned about the printing industry…

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Powered-Up Printing

September 8, 2015 |

It seems fitting that Hi Voltage Productions, Mike Ritchey’s aptly named apparel-decorating business, occupies a former 5,000-square-foot electric power station.

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Rapid Rise

August 7, 2015 |

It took Andrew Blood six years to regain his independence after an accident, and he’s been working almost non-stop since to make up for lost time…

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True to its Roots

April 6, 2015 |

Yellowknife, Northwest Territorries is home to more than picturesque views and the Northern Lights. Sarah Erasmus, co-founder of Erasmus Apparel (EA), has made her dreams come true there, creating apparel for residents and visitors alike. 

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Pushing Boundaries

March 19, 2015 |

The secret is simple, really, according to Rich Santo. Success not only comes when you can creatively and efficiently deliver on promises to your customers, but also when can push the limits.

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Rolling the Dice

March 13, 2015 |

Sometimes, an opportunity comes along and you just have to take it. Whether it’s a sure bet or a leap of faith, a new and different path can pay off handsomely.

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