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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaica Bags

About six months ago I was contacted about making totebags for friends that were getting married in Jamaica. The couple wanted to give all of their guests a special gift for making the trip to Jamaica to see their wedding.  Although we took our time on both sides coming up with a design, I started shopping for just the perfect bag right away.  I know when Kyle and I went to Jamaica there was a large variety of bags to choose from and I wanted this bag to be a good size and quality.  After doing some research I purchased four bags from www.shirtspace.com that I wanted to see in person.  I am so glad that I did!  Although all of them had “khaki” or “tan” in the description, not all of them were the color that I pictured.  One was listed as khaki, but arrived as a dark olive green!  

After deciding on a large canvas bag that had an inside pocket and zipped closed, it was time to order the bags. We worked with the couple to narrow down design choices.  Ulitmately they came up with a design that we just tweaked for printing.  We decided to use a light blue pearl ink, but have Transfer Express make the designs for us.  We have used Transfer Express before and they do great work as well as have excellent customer service.  After just a few days of placing the order, our designs arrived.  I printed a  bag right away and was thrilled with the results!  A couple of days later I printed the rest of the bags and shipped them out to the happy couple! 

We were very pleased to see pictures from Jamaica of our bags being used readily.  We recieved a post card from the couple today that said, “Thank you so much for the bags!  Our guests used them everyday.  It was easy to spot our group on the beach by the collection of bags.  Everyone commented how great they looked.  We appreciate you guys taking the time to make them for us.  Thank you!!!!”  Those few lines say it all.  We love our customers and we love making our customers happy!

       

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!

Cowboy Christmas Part II


We really had a blast at the City of Las Vegas Ward 6 Cowboy Christmas in December.  We hope you enjoy our video from the event.  We gave out about 200 drink koozies and printed lots of shirts.  We gave away a set of 10 custom ten shirts that someone won in a raffle.  We will make sure to post on that job when we get it!.  I would recommend to other printers to go out to local events.  We made a ton of connections and did a lot of marketing. It was so much fun as you can see!

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!

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

Phone calls, new opportunities, and other things

So we are moving along well this week.  We have our first of two Christmas events in exactly a week.  Tomorrow we are going to do a test run on setting up our booth.  We found out that for the first event we have to decorate so that will be part of the setup tomorrow.  I think we will use lights and garland to make our tent festive, but we will have to see what sort of power we will have to be able to use lights.  These events should be a really good way to get out into the community even more. 

In fact, we do seem to be making some leeway with getting out into the community as we got a phone call from the Las Vegas chapter of Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday.  They want a quote for 4 different designs of 100 shirts each!  This would be our biggest order to date.  And it is nice to get calls from people that we don’t have any connections with.  And equally as exciting, I am a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity having helped build a few Habitat houses in the past.  So this really would be a win-win for us.  We submitted a quote, so we will have to see how it works out!

Holiday Marketing Idea

Most of you know the main reason we were able to really take off with our screen printing business was from Ryonet’s Pick Me Video Blog contest. We won the contest that resulted a fantastic prize package that consisted of a new press, lots of great ink, and so many extras that has really helped our business begin to grow.

To help support the Pick Me Video Blog contestants, Ryonet sponsors a monthly contest to keep the new screen printers motivated. The first month’s contest was to have a certain number of posts and videos posted.  Mobile T-Shirt Adventures  won this contest and got a great selection of specialty inks. The next contest was to have the most views on a YouTube.com video about screen printing, and Moya Tees  blew everyone away with over 5,000 views of his video!  He won a great printer, the Epson BlackMax 1400 and AccuRip. For any non-printers reading this, well, it is one of the best products to start the art process to get great results when printing. The T-Shirt Guy blog won last month’s contest, thanks to many of you as we had the most activity on our blog in a month. We won some fabulous upgrades that included micro-registration for our new press!  And again for non-printers, micro-registration helps us line up designs for more precise printing.  A real help for newbies like us!

This month’s contest is to submit a unique marketing idea. Well, we have been thinking about this for awhile and think we have a really great and useful idea! On December 4th we will be attending a local Christmas event called Cowboy Christmas. This event is an annual kick-off to the Christmas season in Las Vegas. Vendors range from glassblowers to food vendors to local farmers. We have a booth at the Cowboy Christmas and are actually going to bring our press to the event! We are going to let people come and print their own shirts! We will have lots of information about our company available including printed koozies, flyers, and already made shirts! The best part about this marketing idea is that the Cowboy Christmas does a prize giveaway to attendees. We are donating a certificate for a T-Shirt order for 10 shirts to the recipient! The Cowboy Christmas sponsors told us that they will bring us up to the stage while the announcement is being made about our contribution and tell the community a little about our company! What a great way to kickoff the holiday season! We hope you enjoy our festive blog, our marketing idea, and we will let you know how it goes!

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!