April '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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6 4 P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 2 0 SHOP SNAPSHOT A Well-Oiled Machine H aving a set of well-trained employees is vital for a successful shop, but as Ray Markey, art director for Kidd Company explains, that can also mean training staff for more roles than they were hired on for. A part of the company for roughly 10 years now, Markey explains that the business's knack for weathering the times comes from the ability to cross-train and empower employees. He points to himself as an ex- ample. When he joined the company, Markey says the business was a smaller operation, based in Millington, Michigan. Owners Page and Marty Kidd started in a spare bedroom in 1998, and when Markey came on board in 2010, the couple had added an exterior building to keep up with volume and production. Initially, Markey says he saw himself just doing art and design work but found himself drawn to the marketing side of the business and taught himself screen-printing funda- mentals like simulated process. "Being a creative person in a business space is a really good spot to be (in) because you get analytical people that value the creative aspect of it," says Markey, explaining that, initially, he planned on heading elsewhere after he completed college. "Instead of leaving, I doubled down and stayed with the company." Since 2010, the company has grown considerably and moved all its operations to a 5,000 square-foot location in Clio, Michigan. Whereas the early model of the business worked mostly with embroidery and vi- nyl customers, Kidd Company now specializes in a full range of services like screen printing, sublimation, graphic design, CAD-CUT, promotional products and laser cutting. Thanks to the business's continued success, the Kidds have also been able to turn the reins over to their staff and periodically check in while they travel the country. Markey says the ability for the shop team to band together and take ownership has been rewarding on multiple fronts. "We have two full-time printers that run the press, and our embroidery team can jump out and run the manual on any given day," he explains, adding that he's also able to hop in when needed on any of the core equipment. "It's just a lot of cross-training to where we never get ourselves in a pickle. We'll be able to turn jobs in three to five days because everything is just so fluid." That efficient training has paid off in revenue gains as well. Over the past decade, he says he's seen a steady growth of roughly 4–5% at the business, but 2019 was a windfall. "We have a group of 10 people here that pulled together (in the past) year, and we're going to end up turning a 22% growth, which is pretty awesome," says Markey. Markey says he's also been inclined to share the business optimization tips Kidd Company has mastered with other shops in the industry. He's appeared on industry veteran Marshall Atkinson's podcast to share that insight, as well as made visits to other shops to consult on how they can maximize their efficiency. The business has been able to give back to the general community as well. In the spring of 2019, Kidd Company partnered with Paul Schneider, founder of I Give a Shirt. The initiative partners with various charities, like Michigan homeless shelters, and donates proceeds from orders of a col- lection of limited-edition T-shirts to sup- port a different cause each month. Along with I Give a Shirt, Markey says employees are taking an extra step to participate in lo- cal chambers and charities wherever it's pos- sible. "Our 2020 model is a lot of giving back without expecting anything in return," he explains, adding that he's always struck by how giving the decorated apparel indus- try is when people band together. "I don't know any other industry that cares so much about everybody else." For more information, visit https://kidd- PW KIDD COMPANY LOCATION: Clio, Michigan OWNERS: Page and Marty Kidd SQUARE FOOTAGE: 5,000 sq. ft. PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT: • 1 M&R Chameleon 6 color Manual Press • 1 RPM 10/12 Automatic Press • 1 Douthitt CTS Unit • 4-Head Tajima Embroidery Machine • 2 Single-Head Tajima Embroidery Machines • 2 Stahls Hotronix Heat Presses • 1 54-inch Graphtec Vinyl Cutter • 1 18" X 24" Universal Laser System The business gives back to the community with initiatives like I Give a Shirt. 6 4 P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 2 0 Kidd Company has evolved from a home-based business to a 5,000 square-foot operation. (All im- ages courtesy Kidd Company) Originally specializing in embroidery, the company now offers a range of services like screen printing, promotional products, and graphic design.

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