We hope you enjoyed having Printed Threads takeover our Instagram account! It's always so fun to see what happens in everyone's respective shops. To piggyback with that, we wanted to dig a little deeper, so we sent Brett some questions to answer. Read below to see what he had to say!
How did you get started in the apparel game?
This is probably the same story as half of our industry, but I will tell it anyway. When I was in high school my buddies and I played in bands and wanted to have shirts to sell.
I've always had a little bit of entrepreneur spirit, I believe I got that from my dad... He's a great business man. Having that spirit, I set out to figure out how to make merch on my own. It kinda started with me finding a place to get shirts printed. At first I would broker out orders to a print shop. I tried printing stickers at home, which was a catastrophe. I think this was before youtube existed, so I don't even know how I figured anything out. Eventually I bought my first t-shirt press. I put it in a friends garage. We printed a lot of great shirts on that thing. My roommates at the time had started a record label called
"The Militia Group." So we were printing all kinds of shirts for their bands. It was kinda crazy that at 18 I was shipping shirts into Hot Topic for bands like Rufio and Acceptance.
Around that time, the band I was playing bass for started to tour and I had the great opportunity to travel the country with my best friends. That is something I definitely took for granted looking back... but one of my best friends in High School started a band called The Rocket Summer that I got to tour with, which was an introduction to another band called Yellow Second that I ended up joining.
The guys from Yellow Second were/are in this band called Five Iron Frenzy, whom I listened to in High School, so I was kind of star struck, in a jaded young 20s way. I had some crazy experiences playing amazing shows with bands that became great lifelong friends.
At some point I decided college would provide me a better future than riding around the country in a van getting schnockered every night in a different town, so I went to school and got a bachelor's degree in music... I always thought I would return to music somehow, but I didn't... I became a cable guy... which is a noble, esteemed profession. That job was good for me, for learning discipline.. but I hated it. During college, I married my lovely wife and we had our first child. We had some discussions about our future and I brought up the idea of getting a printing press and putting it in our garage. Sarah was extremely supportive in the idea and a great help to getting everything started back up. We started printing shirts for some of our friends bands, some bars, some churches, some clothing lines and things just started growing. Today (10 years later), we operate out of a 21,000 sq ft facility in downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
Do you have an all-time favorite print you did?
This is a pretty difficult question. I have a lot of prints that mean different things to me. Sitting in my office I have a stack of t-shirts that I just can't get rid of. Some have been worn way too many times. They have pit stains and tears. I think back to those very early days of printing and look at these shirts that were an accomplishment of learning different printing methods. Not at all perfect execution, but just good memories.
At some point a few of my best friends and I started this band called Rondo(named after the street that our rehearsal space was on). Our friend was having a big house party and we played the show. So we drew a picture of the house, printed it on a shirt and called it the Rondo rocking the block party.
I love that shirt because it reminds me of a time period. I have another shirt that is the first time we ever tried 4 color process and seeing how that print came out, was like magic.
Then there is always the first time we printed an Allmade shirt in Haiti. Striking off a nice clean looking print on a beautiful shirt in the worst possible conditions. That is a great memory.
What’s your idea of a perfect day in the shop?
It's sunny outside, 75 degrees (this is a 2 day a year thing in Texas). Music is on, presses are spinning, people are smiling. We have so much going on these days. 5 presses, 11 heads of embroidery, 38 employees... There's just so many variables walking into each day that things are bound to go wrong. I love walking out of days where we hit sales goals and production goals without people having to break their backs. I love the feeling of camaraderie.
Why do you like printing on Allmade tee’s?
Allmade is a really big deal to me. Allmade is a family. Allmade is a movement. I love what was created by a really passionate group of entrepreneurs. This project was like getting a masters degree in compassion. Before working on Allmade, I didn't really care that much about the environment, and I had no idea what the process of manufacturing shirts really looked like. Going to Haiti for the first time was like a great awakening for my soul. I remember thinking that I couldn't wait to bring my wife so that she could experience these feelings with me. We learned about people in a completely different culture and how things that we do in our everyday life affect them. We learned about the value of our planet and the value of human life. Printed on Allmade is a constant reminder of that value. A shirt that costs a little bit more in order to provide a better life for the people that make it. A shirt that costs a little bit more so that the materials used can have a better impact on the environment. A shirt so comfortable that it wrecks your expectations of all other shirts. Every time I even hear the name Allmade, I think of a group of people on a rooftop in Haiti saying cheers with a loud, passionate, "ALLMADE!"
(Brett on the rooftop drinking Haiti's famous Prestige beer!)
How do you bring greener practices into your shop?
It is really hard to be green in such a wasteful industry, but here are some easy steps we have made. Replace all of your lights with LED lights. These are better quality lights, they save energy and you will see better. Get a recycling dumpster. All of that wasted cardboard can be reused. Think of ways that you can reduce waste. Recirculating machines that recirculate chemicals are a great option for eliminating chemical waste. Take a look at the products that you are buying. There are some options for buying supplies that are better for the environment. We have changed a lot of our packaging to being recycled poly mailers and such. A lot of those products are out there and they are affordable. Also, educate your customers on what products they can buy from you that might have a more positive impact on the environment.
Hope you had fun reading more about Brett and what they do over at Printed Threads. Make sure you tune in to see who takes over our Instagram next!