April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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96 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 7 PRINTWEAR SHOP SNAPSHOT B Y M I C H A E L C L A R K While the contract work helps keep the doors open and contin- ues to help grow The TShirt Guys name across the country, DeHart explains that the most current company initiative involves more lo- cal engagement. By interacting with the local community, the shop hopes to make The TShirt Guys a household name with not only out-of-state clients but people up the block from the shop, he stresses. "Instead of trying to be a global screen printer, we want to get out there in our local community," says DeHart. The shop has already taken strides to ramp up their involvement in the Grape- vine community, including participation in Chamber of Commerce meetings and brainstorming ways to do onsite printing. Various local event organizers have asked The TShirt Guys to offer on-demand screen printing at community events, DeHart says, and the company hopes to provide that service soon. "We want to make The TShirt Guys synonymous with Grapevine and the community that surrounds us," he adds. For more information on the T-Shirt Guys, visit S taying local is something Texas-based screen printers The TShirt Guys have built a foundation on, but that hasn't stopped them from growing beyond the borders of their home state. Based in the city of Grapevine, just outside the Dal- las/Fort Worth area, the business has ties to the region dating back nearly 20 years. Founder Stan Maddox originally started screen printing as a means of creating promotional products for his first business, Valley View productions. Maddox's first company operated out of the same building, gradually growing clients and services. The shop now of- fers water-based and plastisol screen printing, promotional products, as well as embroidery services through a separate facility. "We call it The TShirt Guys, but we basically print on all types of apparel," says Daniel DeHart, creative director. DeHart originally came from a graphics design background working in commercial printing, so the world of screen printing was new to him when he joined The TShirt Guys in 2005. The company's headquarters is a 4,000-sq. ft. facility located in the historic downtown area of Grapevine, a part of the city that attracts a steady amount of foot traffic. The front end of the shop showcases jobs the company has printed throughout the years and provides visitors with garment and design options. A set of two automatic presses and one manual press prints jobs in the back, ranging from larger contract jobs to local organizations like church groups and schools. While the company does have separate design, production, and customer service departments, DeHart says that the company places an importance on cross-training. Everyone joining The TShirt Guys staff typically goes through two weeks of learning all the ele- ments of creating a design and physically printing a shirt. "It's only eight of us, so everyone helps out," De- Hart adds. This fluency of production and print translate to the bond the shop has with its customers. With a cli- ent base accustomed to fast turnaround times due to the advances in technology, DeHart says he and his associates believe it's important for clients to know what's involved in designing and screen printing a shirt order for them. "The expectation [for turnaround] used to be two weeks, now it's a week or less," he states. To keep up with that challenge and generate a sense of empathy with their clients, DeHart explains that he and his coworkers offer clients tours through the facility to get a firsthand look at how their job is produced. Typically, the staff hosts tours for clients three to four times a week. The TShirt Guys Top: Press operator David Maddox. Above: "We call it The TShirt Guys, but we basically print on all types of apparel," says Daniel DeHart, cre- ative director. Below: Operations manager Nathan DiMiceli. (All images courtesy The TShirt Guys)

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