March '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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96 || P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 1 7 PRINTWEAR SHOP SNAPSHOT continued at his day job while the couple built the company with one screen-printing press and a sin- gle-head embroidery machine. "We had orders before we even fully knew what we were doing, so we just learned as we went," says Scott. In 2007, Designs Unlimited physically outgrew its home-based layout, and the Brumleves moved into their current building. Today, the business operates with one automatic and one manual press. The original single-head em- broidery machine from the early days of the com- pany is a crucial part of the shop's equipment, as is an additional four-head machine. When asked what they enjoy most about the ap- parel decoration industry, the Brumleves go back to the community-oriented nature of their town and surrounding areas. Part of that culture also has to do with the vibrant sports-team pride in many of the municipalities. An en- thusiasm that carries from the coaches all the way through the families and team players is pal- pable, they add. The couple says despite the business's 4,000 sq. ft. of space, they're already looking at ex- panding in coming years. Alongside a promising future of the business, the Brumleves' son who battled cancer at a young age is now grown, attending college, and helping the fam- ily out at the shop. "He does our screen cleaning and screen coating," notes Tina. "It's definitely been a family affair." Scott says that as the screen-printing and embroi- dery clients at Designs Unlimited continue to grow, the shop's latest venture includes a diverse set of non-apparel offerings including wrap canvases and graphic design services. Designs Unlimited's success could be summed up by Tina Brumleve's goal for every customer that comes through the door. "We want them to have the best experience they've ever had in the industry," says Tina. For more information on Designs Unlimited, visit: W hile central Illinois might suggest agri- culture and open fields, this region of the country is also home to the apparel decoration shop Designs Unlimited. Based in the town of Teutopolis, Ill., the shop offers a diverse set of services including screen printing, embroidery, promotional products, and printed signage. While starting an apparel decoration service of- ten signals the desire for a career change for many people, owners Scott and Tina Brumleve started the business in 2005 to deal with unforeseen adversity. The Brumleves' oldest son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of five, leaving Scott and Tina to look for new solutions to take care of their son and two younger daughters while still earning an in- come. Scott worked in the graphics department at a local printer, and the couple attempted a concession side business to raise extra money. After a short run with the concession business, Scott says both he and Tina real- ized they needed to find a more suitable business model. A combination of Tina's pre- vious experience in the corpo- rate world and Scott's experi- ence with commercial printing laid the initial foundation for the couple's inspiration to explore apparel decora- tion. While Scott's background was in commercial printing, he points out that certain elements of the job, such as the exposure process, helped prime him for the basics of screen printing. Kicking off the business with a home office and a production department in their basement, the Brumleves began their venture into screen print- ing T-shirts and wrangling embroidery jobs. Scott Designs Unlimited From the top: Designs Unlimited owners Tina and Scott Brumleve; The original single-head embroidery machine from the early days is a crucial part of the shop's equip- ment, as is an additional four-head machine; L-R: De- signers Katie Repking (l) and Andy Evans (r); Deano Tull, head press operator at Designs Unlimited; Jenna Clark, director of the company's First Impressions department.

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