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What Is Happening At Designer Tees Lately?

06/22/09 Today at Designer Tees;

Well, it has been tough going lately due to the economy.  We are making it - and I expect we will emerge from this recession even stronger than before.  Our competitors must have been weaker because they are no longer around.  We are the last screen printing shop standing in Englewood.  It does not make me happy to see businesses going under - even our competitors.  Sure, we will gain market share - but at a high cost for our neighbors and friends.  Hopefully they all land on their feet - and go into a business or get a job that is profitable for them.

I would like to thank our loyal customers - who come back to us even in these tough times.  We will not forget everyone who lent their support for our business.  I would also like to thank the new customers - and welcome them to Designer Tees.  We will do our level best to provide you with a top quality job at a reasonable price.  We will endeavor to earn your present - and future business.

Times are tough - but with a little luck and a lot of prayer - better times are just ahead of us.  We are optimistic and at the same time realistic.  We have tightened our belts - doing more with less - and look forward to the good times.  The one good thing about this recession - is that it has proved to me how resistant this business really is.  It is on an excellent financial foundation - and has given me confidence that we can navigate the troubled waters - and remain viable.  Not all businesses can say that.

Please - during the next election cycle - work to elect pro-business candidates.  The anti-business crowd that is now in there is doing a huge amount of damage to our economy and we are all suffering for that.  Forget the flowery rhetoric - and empty promises - and look for solidly pro-business candidates.  We stay out of politics - and do not take sides.  We don't really care whether they are Republicans, Democrats, or something else - as long as they are pro-business - they will get our vote.  Small businesses like Designer Tees would love to hire more people - create jobs - and promote commerce.  We believe that a good economy, like a rising tide, will raise all boats.  We are ALL lifted up when the economy is going well..  For the record - we used to have 5 full time staff and 1 part-timer.  Now we are down to just 3 full time employees.  Net loss of 2 1/2 jobs in our little business alone.  We did not have to let anybody go - we did it through attrition.  We chose not to replace the people who left.  It causes the two owners to have to pick up the difference - and we are both working enough for the other two employees.  I need a break - and a good economy would allow us to hire more staff - create some jobs - and get back on an even keel..

12/06/07 Today at Designer Tees;

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

We are glad to have Galen back from Utah!  He has been here for a couple of months now - and is doing great.  He has been learning new things - including Embroidery!  He has taken to it like Fish to Water.  He is doing a great job.  I truly believe that we have the most talented and nicest group of people this company has ever seen.  This team - Carol, Rolando, Galen, and I feel that we can do just about anything as it pertains to Screen Printing or Embroidery.  We can do small complicated jobs - and HUGE runs of thousands of shirts just as well.  That  gives me such confidence in my team!  They are all top notch.

We are really feeling the urgency of the Christmas Season.  The Lemon Bay Letterman Jackets have been flying out of here!  Our designs are very popular with the High School Kids.  We are the ONLY embroidery shop in South West Florida that carries the Holloway Jackets - the Original - Real McCoy - leather sleeve jackets.  The other shops carry a knock-off with Pleather (Plastic Leather) sleeves.  They are, of course, cheaper price - because they are a cheaper jacket.  Once our customer finds this out - they snap up our jacket on the spot.

05/24/07 Today at Designer Tees;

Lynda has left us again.  She is moving back to Massachusetts - again.  We will miss her - as she is a fine embroiderer - and a good friend.  We wish her luck in her move and hope she is very successful in her new life.  She is going to miss the beautiful weather, low taxes, and SUNSHINE of Florida.  Better HER than ME!  I am a Southern Boy.

On the plus side - we hired a real fine gentleman, Sonel, to take over the Embroidery tasks.  He comes to us from Haiti via New York City.  He is an accomplished Embroiderer and we are very lucky to welcome him on board.  He is a real gentleman - and we will have some pictures of him up on the website as soon as humanly possible.  He did custom embroidery - one-off dresses etc. and specialized hand/machine embroidery.  He is a quick study - and has picked up on the tricks of our embroidery machine very quickly.  Welcome!  Glad to have you, Sonel!

Business has been a little slow lately - usual for this time of year - we have it every year - but still hate it!  This business has its peaks and valleys - I guess like any business.  Both are difficult to deal with in their own way - but we much prefer the peaks.  We will make use of the time to fix / maintain equipment, clean the shop, restock supplies, relax a little, and prepare for the next peak.  Keep on Truckin' Baby.

04/06/06 Today at Designer Tees;

Today we launched a Dealer Network Program for the Safe-T-Chaps product.  We are opening up the Safe-T-Chaps product to outdoor power equipment retail stores allowing them to stock our chaps in their stores.  We've had several requests to start the Dealer Program - so we are proud to launch it today.

Dealers are encouraged to sign up for a Dealer Identification Number (DIN) via our web site by clicking the Dealer-Application link.  You can also contact our Dealer Administration Department at our main number (941) 474-8673.  We will sign you up and you can start purchasing Safe-T-Chaps at the discounted prices immediately.

02/09/06 Today at Designer Tees;

Today was a good day at Designer Tees!  We got a new (to us) delivery vehicle.  The Ford Expedition was traded in for a newer Lincoln Navigator.  Let's face it - they are basically the same vehicle - except the Navigator is a bit more upscale.  The Navigator is a completely FLORIDA vehicle - NO MORE RUST!!  It has a much more powerful engine - so it should be easier to pull the utility trailer.  Now we have to get our enclosed trailer, presently bright red, painted to match the new truck.  That should look pretty cool.  We will put a picture of the full rig up as soon as we get the trailer repainted.

(CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE)

NEW DELIVERY VEHICLE (to us anyway):

            Lincoln-Navigator-1.JPG (1086749 bytes)        Lincoln-Navigator-2.JPG (1121438 bytes)        Lincoln-Navigator-3.JPG (1192977 bytes)

02/01/06 Today at Designer Tees

Happy New Year.  We got through the Holidays pretty well.  We took a much-needed week off during the week between Christmas and New Years.  We made use of the fine weather to prime and paint our new home.  It looks great.  You know, the To-Do list never ends!

Here at the shop - we experienced an expected slow-down around the Holidays.  So we took the opportunity to clean up the shop - and even do a little remodeling of our front room.  We took out the little sliding window between the front room and Carol's office.  We opened it up and it looks fantastic.  Take a look at the BEFORE & AFTER photos:

BEFORE

  

AFTER

 

We are continuing to grow and change - to adapt to the always-changing marketplace.  We are really putting a push on to grow the business.  We will be visiting our local businesses and expose them to our services.  We hope to increase our business base and increase our market share here in Englewood, Venice, North Port, and Port Charlotte.  We are unique in that we offer BOTH Embroidery and Screen Printing.  Most of the shops in the area only offer one or the other.  We are a one-stop shop for custom business & recreational sportswear needs. 

08/01/05 Today at Designer Tees

We expected the Summer to slow down - and give us a breather.  Instead, we have been going gang-busters.  Southwest Florida usually becomes a lazy, laid-back area in the Summer - because all our 'Snowbirds' fly north.  Well, it seems there is a sea change going on in our area.  There are many more folks deciding to call the area their permanent home.  We have tons of new businesses and houses popping up everywhere.  Apparently these people want TEE SHIRTS!  YEAH!  Seriously this means that our 'slow-season' is fading away.

We have hired several new employees - and we are very pleased to have them on board.  Please go to the PICTURES section to see them.  I think we are fairly well staffed now - maybe need a little more help in embroidery - but we are in pretty good shape.

The owners of Designer Tees, Joe & Carol, finally sold their second home in Upstate New York!  YEAH!  We purchased an existing home down here on the Sun Coast of Florida.  It is a nice little house and should prove to be fairly comfortable.  YEAH!

05/25/05 Today at Designer Tees

Well, it is really warming up now.  It is suppose to be 91 degrees and sunny today.  This should be the warmest day of the week.  I must say - it is far better weather here than in the Northeast - where we moved from.  It is still very cold up there - highs have been only in the low 60's.  I could not take that.  I am so glad we relocated to southwest Florida.  We miss our friends and acquaintances - but we had to go!

We have made some new contacts - and are pursuing some opportunities.  One of the contacts works for the souvenir shop for NASA in Cape Canaveral.  I am hoping we can land a contract to provide screen printing and embroidered goods to them.  That would be very cool.  The other contact is with a premier boat manufacturer on the east coast of Florida.  They make some of the finest boats on the water - and we hope to pick up a little contract with them.  We will keep you posted.

We had an interesting call this week.  Englewood Community Hospital called on Monday and asked if we could have 500 shirts printed for Tuesday afternoon - THE VERY NEXT DAY!  500 shirts in 24 hours?  We took the challenge.  Carol called our shirt suppliers and found one that would commit to have 500 shirts delivered the next day.  Joe did the artwork - and created the screens that would be used for the printing.  We did all we could on Monday.  Tuesday we were ready!  We practically knocked the UPS delivery dude down to get at the eight boxes of shirts.  They were delivered at 1:30 pm.  The shirts went right to the press - and off we went.  Rolando and Joe completed the 500 shirts in LESS THAN 2 HOURS - that included some short breaks in between!  Now that is cranking.  Carol and Lynda counted, sorted, folded, and boxed the shirts as they came off the dryer.  We were completely done in 2 1/2 hours flat.  Joe loaded the shirts into the truck and delivered them to the hospital before 5:45 pm - a full 45 minutes ahead of when the customer needed them.  They were thrilled.

See, we are the only screen printer in the area that could ever pull that one off.  We are the ONLY ones with the Freedom automatic garment press.  The other screen printers in the area (as few as there are) have only manual presses - and could NEVER have pulled it off.  I am so pleased to have such great equipment and fantastic staff to operate it.  I think this was a defining moment for Designer Tees - showing that we can pull together as a team and pull off what seemed to be impossible.  Thanks to Carol, Rolando, and Lynda we did it!  Thanks guys.

03/16/05 Today at Designer Tees

We are just cruising along.  We did get a new Neon Sign for our front window.  The old sign was a pitiful looking vinyl thing.  No real pizzazz at all.  The new Neon Sign looks fantastic.  Here is a pretty cool picture of it:  (Click on it to Enlarge)

Neon-Sign-Large.JPG (157832 bytes)

We got it over the internet.  Unfortunately the colors do not look as vivid in this picture as they really appear.  The wording is a bright yellow - and the border is a bright blue.  It looks real cool at night.  We leave it on 7 days / 24 hours.  It really jumps out at you at night.  It also makes a great bug attractor.  I have to wash the front window three times a week!  Ugh.

It is already getting warmer down here.  It is nearly 80 degrees today - and it is only the middle of March!  Much different from Upstate New York.  This would be a mid-June day up there.  I LIKE IT!

It looks like we will be signing a contract with a local "Gentlemen's Club" to provide them with between 6000 - 8000 shirts a year!  We are also looking to provide printed and embroidered sportswear to a major fisherman here in Florida.  He has a show on the OLN - Outdoor Life Network on cable.  He is a national figure - well known by all you fisherman out there.  If we get the contract - I will put it right here in our NEWS area.  Stay Tuned!

For the record - we are proud to do all of the embroidery for Tom Miranda Outdoors, Inc.  Tom has a weekly hunting show called "Whitetail Country" on ESPN2 - Sundays at 8:00 am ET.  Tom is nationally known archer hunting whitetail deer.  Check out his show - then look at all that beautiful embroidery!  If you see embroidery on his gear - we did it.

We have made some contacts in the national music scene - and may be getting some contracts to provide sportswear for some national acts.  We already provide shirts for the band "Crack The Sky".  They are a regional band from Baltimore Maryland.  We are also providing band shirts for "Precious Brothers".  They are an off-shoot of Crack The Sky - based here in Florida.  They have just been signed to a recording contract - and I already have their demo disk.  They are great.  They have a great "Old-School" rock & roll sound.  Sort of a cross between Van Halen and ZZ-Top with a touch of Tom Waits thrown in.  I like it.  These guys are going places.

01/10/05 Happy New Year

UPDATE:  The new TUF/Freedom is running GREAT!  Wow, what a machine!  This thing absolutely eats shirts.  We usually run about a two week backlog for screen printing.  NOT ANYMORE!  In just two days of operation we ran ourselves out of work.  We all stood around and wondered what we were going to do for the rest of the week.  Luckily some pretty large jobs came in and we were able to get back at it.  Total Athlete dropped off all their Little League shirts - literally thousands of shirts - and we have already started clicking through them.  I am real pleased with the new machine - it is going to change our entire business.

UPDATE:  We are in final negotiations with a much-needed salesman.  He seems like a great guy and really knows how to shake the bushes for screen printing and embroidery.  He has some good ideas - and is chomping at the bit to get going.  I like that in a salesman.  He is aggressive about sales - but has a laid-back approach with the customer.  He does not pressure at all - he just shows the customer their options and lets them think about it.  I believe this is going to kick Designer Tees up another level.  I can not wait to get the ball rolling on 2005.

UPDATE:  We are toying with the idea of adding many new product lines to our existing business.  We intend to start offering custom printed mugs, glasses, pencils, placemats, golf bag tags, golf clubs, and just about anything that can have a logo on it.  My intentions are to have it all up and running before mid-year 2005.  Look for the new product lines in May or June timeframe.

12/22/2004 - New Screen Printing Machine:

UPDATE:  We are in the middle of the install of our new TUF/Freedom garment press.  Man what a deal.  Howard flew in from Houston Texas and is in the process of connecting her together.  Look for some pictures of Howard as he works in our PICTURES page.  We busted our backs getting the machine in position - we had to move both manual presses to sneak the Freedom from the back of the shop up toward the front.

The compressor is working fine - is now full of air - and really has a pack of wind behind it.  Wow, what a machine.  We should have the equipment fully installed by closing time today - and tomorrow we will be in training to operate / maintain this behemoth.

11/2004 - New Screen Printing Machine:

UPDATE: 11/24/2004 - The TUF/Freedom is in the house!  We took delivery of the compressor yesterday - it is a 600 lb bruiser - 7 1/2 horse - 80 gallon vertical tank - INCREDIBLE.  We had a real good time lowering it off of the semi truck and getting it into the building.  Luckily Ernie (the truck driver) was a real nice guy and did an incredible job of helping us get this thing in the shop.  I will put up some pictures as soon as I get a new camera.

Today we took delivery of the screen printing press iteslf!  It weighs over 1900 lbs and took a serious effort to get it in the building.  I want to thank my Nephew Graig, his cousin Andrew, our friends Bill and Peter, and of course our fabulous employees Sandra, Rolando, and Lynda for helping us get the job done.  Also, I want to thank Caspari - our neighbors in this strip mall - who lent their cooperation and plywood to get the machine in the door.  The owner is Tim lent us his resources and employees to help us get the machine from the truck to the back door.  If you can - purchase something from Caspari - we all would appreciate it.  I don't know if Caspari has a web site - but I intend to research it and put that information on this web site - probably in our LINKS section.  Check them out.

The new machine is a TUF/Freedom 6-color, 8-station fully automatic Screen Printing machine.  It is no small deal either! This awesome machine will not only allow us to print your order quicker, in more colors, and sharper images, but it should alleviate the fatigue on our highly talented and hard-working employees!  Everybody wins!

I measured out the entire shop - and we can fit the machine in just in front of the huge dryer.  Here is a look at the new machine - along with the text from another web site that describes the machine pretty well

The Freedom, from TUF Products is a six-color garment press featuring fast setup times.  It is specially designed to expedite the setup process by allowing users to adjust pressure and print angle with fewer knobs.  The freedom features an exclusive V squeegee design that combines a self-leveling squeegee with a flood bar.  Users can quickly pop out the squeegee/flood bar mechanism for cleaning.  The press also features a rotating control panel, individual print control for each screen, manual print buttons, water-based ink mode, production counter, and front and rear micro registration.

 

We are the first screen printer - and only screen print shop with an automatic in Englewood and the surrounding areas.  Pretty cool huh?

11/2004 - New Single Head Embroidery Machine:

We presently have a 4-head Happy Embroidery machine.  She is beautiful.  Her name is Melissa - from a fantastic Allman Bros tune.  We often need to do one-off embroidery like testing new designs and images - or add a name or athletic number to a single garment.  The single head machine would really come in handy.  We are still reviewing our options as to which machine we intend to buy - but we are going to buy one.  These machines are not inexpensive - and we will have to re-arrange the embroidery room to make it fit - but we can do it.

UPDATE:  Well, we decided to go with the Barudan wide body embroidery machine.  We are getting prices - but I expect it to land somewhere in the $14,000 range.  We decided to hold off for a while - instead we will concentrate on the new automatic screen printing machine first.  I hope we can our volume of embroidery up to the point where it becomes feasible to purchase the new machine.

Well, my embroiderer - Lynda - has been bugging me about the new single head machine.  I told her - just today - that we intend to get one - perhaps in the next year or so.  Hold on Lynda - I am working on it.  Jeeze.

 

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