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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos today

Today we are working on some photos that Ryonet requested.  As we won the first www.ryonetblog.com Pick Me Contest, Ryonet is doing an article on our company and the continued success of our business.  As we’ve looked back over the past year, a lot has changed for us and we have learned a great deal.  We are thankful to everyone at Ryonet.  Over the next couple of weeks we will highlight some of our successes, some trials and tribulations, and tell you our favorite moments from the last year!

Fun Stuff

The fun part of printing is doing stuff for ourselves or just for fun.  Kyle graduated from college on June 4, 2011 so we made koozies for the get together we had that night.  You can see we incorporated the  University of Phoenix logo with his graduation date.  Koozies are always a big hit in our house but this was an easy party favor for our friends.  We like www.discountkoozies.com for our koozie purchases.  Congrats Kyle!

Cowboy Christmas and Councilman Ross

We decided to change around our workstation over the last couple of months, so videos are back now.  We have quite a bit of footage from our holiday promo events.  This first video is an introduction to the Cowboy Christmas event  put on by Councilman Steve Ross from the City of Las Vegas Ward 6.  Councilman Ross is very genuine and pleasing to talk to.  In this video he tells a little about the history of the event and the addition of the Classic Car Show this year.

*As a side note, Councilman Ross is running for Mayor of Las Vegas.  After meeting him and seeing such great things he does for our community with this event and many others like it, we are excited to support a great asset to our community!

Australia Shirts…Finally

 

Some of you may remember that at the end of our initial Pick Me Contest  video entry, Kylie mentioned that her English teacher needed shirts for his Australia trip.  Well, that wasn’t made up. He really needed shirts so we spent some time at the beginning of the school year coming up with designs.  We submitted the designs and he picked the one that he liked. 

Then we waited…and waited…and waited…

We didn’t know what we were waiting for. We would touch base every now and then and the teacher said that he would get back to us.  Finally, just after the holidays we heard back that the shirts were a go!  YEAH!  The teacher told us that the school had to approve the design and that is what took so long. We sent a proof sheet and waited again.  He had to confirm the sizes and amounts of the shirts. 

We got the proof sheet last week, ordered the shirts, and printed last weekend!  They look incredible!  After delivering the shirts today, we got an email from the teacher.  The students going on the trip are so excited that they put the shirts on right away!  We couldn’t be happier.  Patience paid off.  The customer is happy and so are we!

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!

Tips from Dave Ramsey

In our personal lives, we are use Dave Ramsey  and The Total Money Makeover methods to help pay down our debt.  After years of bad decisions and credit cards, we have a pretty big hole.  Well, we started the Dave Ramsey snowball about the time that we started our business.  I do follow Dave on facebook and this article was put up this morning.  This article is just more support that we use to not get in any more debt and get our name out there.

3 Nearly Free Ways To Get Your Business Noticed

Are you forgetting one of these key ingredients?

from daveramsey.com on 07 Jan 2011 
 
Most small businesses have limited marketing budgets, but your small budget doesn’t mean you can’t get the word out about your business. You’ve just got to be creative about it.

For example, social media is one of the newest ways to get your business noticed. When used correctly, it can be really effective in building a name for your business. But there are also some classic, good business practices that social media simply can’t replace.

Lots Of Activity

In marketing, there is no substitute for activity. Just get out there and do something to get your business noticed! That may mean networking with your potential clients, making phone calls, printing flyers, or writing press releases. As long as it reaches potential clients, it’s worth doing.

Your goal with all this activity is to increase your potential customer base. The more potential customers you have, the better your chances are for a growth explosion in your business.

A Servant Mentality

Once those potential customers become actual customers, always treat them to great service. That means more than delivering what they expect—it means exceeding their expectations. Make sure you have the best product at a great price. Even more importantly, show that you care about what you do, and your customers will respond.

If your customers understand they can count on you to meet their needs with great service, it won’t matter how small your business is or how much competition you have. Your customers will be clients for life—and they’ll send their friends.

Get People Talking

Some new business owners are hesitant to ask friends and family to pay for their product or service. There’s nothing wrong with charging the people you know as long as you serve them. But here’s an even better idea—create your own referral program. For example, if you’re a photographer, you might offer to work for your friends for free if they help you get three new clients.

That’s what all referral programs are about—getting people to talk about the great service you gave them and encouraging others to give you a try. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Taking The Next Step

You may find that these measures create a new problem for you—the need for a business space. Once your business reaches the point that you can no longer work from home or from your small storefront, you’ll need to find a space that meets your needs.

Through Dave’s Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) program, you can find a commercial real estate agent who is an expert in the market in your area. Your ELP can help you find a great place for your business and help you save money as well.

Happy New Year 2011!

2010 was an amazing year for The T-Shirt Guy!  We were fortunate enough to win Ryonet’s Pick Me Contest in July and this win helped us jump start our business!  We have learned a lot already and are very excited about the future of our business.  We have made great friends along the way including Ian and Leesa at Yeah Right Designs, MOYA Tees and company, Bob at Select Inks, Tazz Ringel with Tee’s by Tazz, Jeanette with the Pondering Pooch, Michael with Akutuq Northern Design, and of course everyone at Ryonet

Thank you for a great year and we look forward to the adventures in 2011!

Kyle, Kelley, Kylie, Jarod, and Kendall Waltz