August '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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96 || P R I N T W E A R A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 PRINTWEAR SHOP SNAPSHOT facility to house printing and showroom operations. Over the course of the next few years, the business expanded staff, bringing on em- broidery professionals and sales representatives. Then, in 2002, the company hit a snag. The structure experienced heavy flooding and took on 30" of water in the summer of that year. Thankfully, he says, with the help of the community, the staff was able to clean up and salvage the business. Since then, Willie's has expanded with apparel clients ranging from university sports teams to local high schools and a wide network of nationwide clients. On an international level, the shop prints ap- parel for overseas servicemen and servicewomen. While the location has shifted and the company continues to add services, Carrier stresses the importance of the steady family con- nection at the business throughout the years. His father and his two brothers, he says, were instrumental in kicking the business off and are still a crucial force, even though they don't participate in day- to-day operations. He also notes that his wife has been a part of the company's inner-workings since day one. "We work together every day and have for 26 years," Carrier ex- plains. "I could not have built this business without her." Family, plus a dedication to quality and timeliness are what he considers the backbone of his thriving operation. "The philosophy's always been 'do what you say you're going to do, do it on time, and do it well,'" says Carrier. For more information, visit J ust west of the Pecan Bayou, the city of Brownwood, Texas is home to Willie's T's, a full-service apparel decorator who also offers wide-format printing and vehicle wraps. Will Carrier, founder of Willie's T's, operates his 15,000-sq. ft. business with his wife, Tracey Carrier, and a staff of 26 employees. Starting fresh out of college, he and a few friends began in screen printing with a small job and minimal tools. "I was working for a church right out of college, and the church ran the local fifth and sixth grade basketball league," Carrier explains. With the help of a co-worker who owned a homemade one-color screen-printing press, Carrier and his cohorts took on the job of printing 180 shirts with team numbers. This initial job sparked Car- rier's first screen-printing company, Spectrum Graphics in 1990. As business continued into the following year, the two original part- ners parted ways with Carrier for other ventures, and he pursued the operation with the occasional help from family members. Working part-time in offset printing while continuing to hone his craft as a screen printer, Carrier says he gradually saw the need to commit to the business as a full-time endeavor. "My brother and my dad invested some money, and we incorpo- rated in 1991," he states. The business transitioned to a storefront in a local mall, doubling as a retail store on one end and custom screen-printing business on the other. This first iteration of Willie's T's sold Christian T-shirts and music in the retail section of the space and took in custom screen-printing and heat-printing jobs with machinery set up in the back. As business picked up, the shop grew out of its storefront confines, and Carrier rented a separate 5,000-sq. ft. warehouse to accommodate a larger automatic screen-printing press, along with larger orders. Carrier says the business continued to grow, necessitating another move, first in 1994, and then again in 1996 to a 5,200-square-foot- Willie's T's B Y M I K E C L A R K AT A GLANCE • M&R Gauntlet R/S 8-Color/ 10-Station with two flash units • M&R Sportsman E-Series 10- Col- or/ 12-Station with two flash units • M&R i-image direct-to-screen exposure system • M&R Sprint 2000 gas-fired dryer • Tajima TFMX-IIC1508 • Tajima TMFXII-C1506 • Tajima TUMX-C1501 • M&R MLINK direct-to-garment printer • M&R EZ Prep pretreat machine • Geo Knight K20 heat press • Geo Knight digital combo two platen air-driven heat press • COMPANY NAME: Willie's T's • LOCATION: Brownwood, Texas • OWNERS: Will Carrier • SQUARE FOOTAGE: 15,000 sq. ft. • PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT: Willie's T's owners Will and Tracey Carrier. (All images courtesy Willie's T's) Right: The em- broidery depart- ment at Willie's T's has evolved into a large-scale, multi- head operation. Left: The 15,000 square-foot facility screen prints ap- parel for regional, national, and inter- national clients.

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