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. 








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!

Rock Band Club Prep and Printing

Even though you have already seen the end result on our blog from October 24th, we wanted to show everyone the setup and printing of this job.  On the video we talked about burning 6 screens, but only show 4.  We will have the other screen prep on an additional upcoming video.  We like to print at night in the summer here in Las Vegas because during the day our garage is very hot so the lighting is a darker than we would like.  Plus we had the bug lights on because we were burning screens.  Enjoy!

Ups and Downs

Starting a new business definitely has its ups and downs.  We had a lot of ups last month when we had our best month so far with five orders.  We stayed busy and had enough work  to feel like we were on our way.  Well, this month has been slower.  In fact, we don’t have any orders right now and none out for bid either.  In fact, a job that we thought was on the way to approval is no longer.  They ordered shirts from someone else.  I know business is business, but it doesn’t mean that I am not disappointed.  I think we did everything we could to get the order so I am not upset about how we handled the situation, but it is disappointing when you just see the shirts and didn’t know they were even ordered! 

But nonetheless, we are putting together our November Holiday Marketing plan. Our plans will give us the exposure that we need in the community to continue to get more and more work!  But it is a bit too early to disclose the plans just yet. We’ll let you in on our plans soon.

NWCTA Rock Band Club

I just wanted to show the pictures for another one of our orders that we had recently.  This is a two color front and two color back design for the Northwest Career and Technical Academy Rock Band Club.  This is the first time that they have had shirts so they were very excited.  They came up with the basic design that we went back and personalized  a bit for them.  We printed these shirts last weekend and delivered them to the group five days ahead of our promised delivery time!

This particular print was interesting for me because this was my first time using the RyOpaque Redon the black shirt.  The last time I printed red on black, I had to put a white under base which was not fun.  Lining up the red on top of the white exactly each time was tedious and usually was not exact.  The RyOpaque Red was great!  I did have to print/flash/print, but was very pleased with the vibrant red color!  I also used the Ryonet White ink and it was fantastic as always!   You can see the great results here! 4GVJ2ZZ4FFYW

Cleaning, Burning, and Printing

We had a very productive weekend.  We have three shirt orders that came in on Thursday and were able to get all three ready to print! Immediately on Friday I ordered the shirts from Shirtspace.com that we needed to get the orders moving!

The first two orders are for the National Honor Society at Northwest Career and Technical Academy.  They want shirts to sell as a fundraiser and want a girls style shirt and a boys style shirt.  While working with NHS over the past couple of weeks we came up with two very cool designs that I think are going to sell really well.  And, fortunately for us, we had a couple of shirts on hand and were able to print up sample shirts this weekend so they can start a pre-sell on the shirts.  This is beneficial for both of us because they can get their fundraising going, and if they sell more than they ordered, we can get more shirts ordered and printed for them!  It is really a win-win. 

The third order that we got on Thursday was for the Northwest Career and Technical Academy Rock Band Club.  They came up with their own image that we tailored more for their school and they love it!  This is an exciting order for us because we don’t have any ties to this club so this is more of a blind order.  We are very happy to get their business and were fortunate to have the foresight to do a test run on the design this weekend.  This design is printed on a black shirt, but some of the detail is very fine and I was concerned about how I would do with the Ryopaque White Ink on a 230 mesh with fine detail.  But, it worked great!  I don’t have pictures for this one yet because we didn’t do a full print, but just tested the white.  Those pictures will be up when we get the rest of the shirts in later in the week. 

So this weekend we spent most of Saturday rearranging our shop setup, removing emulsion from screens, cleaning the screens, then putting emulsion back on, burning images, and then finally, my favorite part, printing!  I am so glad that we have these jobs already setup.  Now I am just looking forward to my shirts to arrive from ShirtSpace.com!