Printwear

October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 4 4 P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 SHOP SNAPSHOT SWEET TEES LOCATION: Marietta, Georgia OWNERS: Mike and Shelley Powell SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,000 sq. ft. PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT: • Vastex V-2000HD Screen-Printing Press • Tajima TMFX c1202 Embroidery Machine • Vastex EconoRed I Dryer • Vastex RedFlash Flash-Cure Unit • GCC 24-Inch Vinyl Cutter/Plotter • Various Heat Presses A Family Affair P rinting T-shirts on the side is a typical way a lot of screen-printing businesses get off the ground, and if things go well, home sometimes doubles as the production space. For Mike and Shelley Powell, owners of Sweet Tees, the start of their business branched out from Mike's existing line of work. Roughly eight years ago, Mike started working for a uniform manufacturer and took over the company's quality department. "With that quality department, I also took over the decoration department," Mike ex- plains. "It was pretty new to me at the time, so I had to learn the ins and outs of screen printing, embroidery, digital printing, and vinyl cutting." As his employer groomed him for the trade, Mike says he found himself very intrigued by the apparel decoration process. "I got to study under industry professionals to learn how to do the job(s), and they really took me in." From there, Mike says, the decoration side of the apparel world became a part-time hobby for the couple. Shelley Powell describes how the initial foray into printing shirts was mostly for friends and colleagues. "It started off as a way for us to pay our kids' soccer fees and our vaca- tion," Shelley says. Through word of mouth, that part-time hobby grew into jobs for local softball teams, family reunions, and local events. Over time, the business has turned into more of a full-time job. Shelley says ensuring the duo does a high-quality job has helped build Sweet Tees' repu- tation. "We have pride and ownership in our jobs," Shelley elaborates. "And we want the people that wear and use our products, whether that's an embroidered polo or a tote bag or a T-shirt, to have that same pride and ownership." Family also continues to be a running trend for the Powells. As their children get older, Mike and Shelley point out that it's not uncommon for the kids to wander down to the production area and help with folding and stacking finished shirts. "We want to make money, and we want to have a business that puts food on the table," says Shelley. "But we're not trying to be one of the big shots. We really pride ourselves on being a family company." That theme of family extends beyond the Powells' home as well, as the couple points to the meaningful bonds they try to establish with customers. Most clients, Mike contends, are people that they know well because they've taken the time to establish a clear line of communication on orders from start to finish. "When you've built that relationship with people, it's authentic," Mike says. Those bonds often result in clients who turn into champions for Sweet Tees, pitching them to other potential customers. Even with the continued growth, the couple says they're currently still weigh- ing their options when it comes to moving away from the home-based business setup. For Mike, he says it's mostly about mak- ing sure everyone in the family is happy, and the couple is enjoying what they do. "Once my kids get older, and they require us a little bit less, that's when we start to talk about things like getting a standalone shop or (moving) ahead with additional employees," Mike says. Shelley sums it up saying, "The most important thing is that we all enjoy what we do here, and if we start to hate our jobs and hate what we do, we're doing the wrong thing!" she stresses. "At the end of the day, we really like what we do, and we like where we are in terms of our current base." For more information, visit www.Sweet TeesPrintShop.com. PW The Powells note that a dedication to quality, paired with authentic customer relationships, have helped build up the business. The Powells note that a dedication to quality, paired with authentic customer relationships, have helped build up the business. Even as a home-based business, the compa- ny continues to grow its client list and cement its reputation in the Marietta, Georgia area. 1 4 4 P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 Even as a home-based business, the compa ny continues to grow its client list and cement its reputation in the Marietta, Georgia area. As head of the quality department at a uniform com- pany, Sweet Tees' Mike Powell gradually learned multiple facets of garment decoration.

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