Looking back to move ahead

As the days go by and we are busier and busier thankfully, I started to think the other day about where this whole T-shirt business started.  Many people know our story that we bought VERY basic screen printing equipment in order to make T-shirts for our son’s cub scout troop.  That was over four years ago.  After making those shirts we really didn’t do much else with the equipment except made a few fun shirts for our family.  I don’t know what point we decided to try out making money with screen printing, but I had a good chuckle when I thought about how difficult printing seemed then.

When we printed, we were MESSY!  Everything was covered in ink, cleaning up was a nightmare, even exposing screens was awful.  I didn’t really do much with the screen printing then, Kyle did most of it.  I would sit with him in our dark room (i.e. the bathroom) while he exposed screens for 12 1/2 minutes exactly, and I might have helped him wash out screens, but I just wasn’t into the whole process.  After we did get our first equipment and found out Ryonet had classes to help learn the process better, I arranged the whole class and trip for Kyle.  I went with him, but not to the class.  I spent the two days in Portland and had a great time!  I just figured this was his hobby.

I don’t know when I started printing, but I remember asking Kyle if I could try it.  I wasn’t great at it and it was more difficult than it looked, but I liked the end result. So somewhere along the line I started printing and Kyle let me!  He always said the printing stressed him out because he didn’t want to mess it up.  I enjoyed the time to see what I could come up with and how the mesh, ink, shirt relationship worked. 

By the time I had done a couple of prints, Ryonet decided to have a contest to help a new business or a not yet existing business expand their potential with the Pick Me Contest.  The contest would consist of an initial video telling about the company or soon to be company that you would like to have.  And then people got to vote for their favorite.  And we won! 

We won lots of great equipment that really helped us sculpt our small hobby into a “real” business.  The silver press, exposure unit, and tons of great ink were just the beginning of what I found to be a fabulous business. We also were treated to another class but this time were able to go to LA at the new Ryonet LA facility.  It was my turn to learn more about screen printing and I was definitely hooked!  Foil, glitter, and other specialty inks caught my eye and I was anxious to learn more.

Now fast forward almost two years and we have definitely expanded.  We do not print full-time just yet, but we do work steadily.  We have several repeat customers including the Archery Club, and Student/Teacher softball game at Northwest Career and Technical Academy, several other school groups, two teams, Batitudes and Team Intensity, with the Northwest Girls Softball League, and we just keep getting more and more repeats.  We are always glad to get calls for new business and strive to provide a great experience for our customers.  

Our products don’t just revolve around printing anymore.  We do car vinyl decals, buttons, lots of rhinestones, numbers and letters for jerseys or other shirts, and promotional products.  I look around now and see our business as an opportunity for my family to work together to make a better life together.  That’s why we started this business and it is nice to know that we have followed through with our family in mind. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes, ideas, and more equipment

Well, we took the latter part of December and the beginning of January off.  After our two shows two weeks in a row, we were beat.  We had a great time with our family over the holidays and got the kids back into the swing of school in January.  Then before we knew it, we had jobs to do and equipment to set up.  When we re-organized the garage (again) we put the micro-registration on the press from the Ryonet November Blogging Contest.  The micro-registration is a great addition for us.  We used it in a two color job that we printed last weekend.  After getting all four micro-registration attachments onto the press, the registration was pretty easy.  It took us a little bit to figure out how the micro-registration works, but once we did, our colors lined up so well.  I think the biggest advantage we saw was that throughout printing, the image didn’t move at all.  We have had problems in the past with printing in that after 10-15 prints the image would start to move.  The micro-registration seems to help with that problem.  We have another two color job to print as well as a three color job so the new addition will be well broken in!

Back in the Swing

Well, we have orders coming in again and we are ready!  We took more time off for the holidays than we thought that we would, but I guess that is a benefit of owning our own business.  The two jobs that we have right now are for Northwest Career and Technical Academy’s  (NWCTA) Archery Club and Australia Trip.

The Archery Club order is our first recurring order!  The archery shirts from last spring was one of our first “paid” orders.  We are excited now to have their order again.  The 2nd Annual National Archery in Schools Program Tournament is February 10th so we are excited that NWCTA Archery Club will debut our shirts for the tournament.

In our original contest video, our daughter Kylie, mentioned that her teacher wanted shirts for his Australia Trip.  This story wasn’t made up!  However, at the time we had no idea it would take 6 months to get this project going!  We came up with some great designs last summer and sent them to the teacher.  He was gone for the summer so he didn’t get the designs until after the beginning of school.  Then he had took some time picking the design that he liked.  After that he had to get the school to approve the design as well.  As you can imagine, this process took awhile.  We found our right before Christmas that our design was approved!  The excitement comes from the teacher as well because we know that he will continue to tell other teachers about the quality of our designs and communication efforts! 

So this weekend we will burn screens and if we get our t-shirts today, we will print!  I love this job!