T-shirt Design Tips and Tricks

Did you draw the short straw and get volunteered to design the t-shirt for your group? Perhaps you have an idea for a t-shirt design you would like to sell to raise money. Fear not. Thousands of tees are designed everyday by everyday people with no design experience. Many amateurs have designed t-shirts and achieved gorgeous results. Do not be intimidated, you can too. To help you achieve t-shirt greatness, we’ve come up with a list of basic t-shirt design tips. They aren’t magic and won’t turn you into a Fairy Tale Princess or Prince Charming. However, they will help you through the process and help you avoid amateur mistakes (or turn you into a frog).

Talk to your Chosen Screen Printing Company First.

This will save you a great deal of time and more than a few headaches. Although most our t-shirt tips are applicable to all screen printing companies, some have specific preferences or limitations. For example, at The Greek Corner, we ask that all digital files be converted to paths or outlines. We support ai., eps., and pdfs.

Consider limiting the colors in your design.

If you have a limitless budget, this tip will not apply to you. However, most amateurs designing t-shirts try to keep their costs down. One of the best ways to control your cost is to limit the number colors in your design. Due to the screen printing process, each color in your design will require a new film positive. Each film positive will require a separate screen. As you would expect, each additional film positive and screen increases your cost. In order to be thrifty, consider limiting your t-shirt design to one to three colors.

Choose Your Colors Carefully.

Communication is typically the primary reason to create a screen printed t-shirt. Therefore, it’s important to carefully analyze your color palette. If you are printing on a white tee, pale yellow ink will be difficult to see. Contrast is the key, but using colors that complement each other Is critically important. Here’s a great tip: If you don’t have a good eye for color, ask a friend that does for help.

Keep It Simple.

If it’s your first time designing a t-shirt, keep your design fairly simple. Simplicity is elegant and memorable. It will help you communicate your message clearly and succinctly. Some of the greatest designs of all time are simple graphic images. Just think:

  • I love NY
  • Got milk?
  • Don’t Mess with Texas

In addition, complicated imagery and subtle details are much harder to print and may not turn out as well as you would hope.

Create a Mock Up.

A mock up is key to the creation of a beautiful t-shirt. After you’ve created your design, print it out and hold it up to a t-shirt. You may need to print it out in several different sizes. This is especially true if you are debating where you are going to place the design. Will it be on the left chest, your right hip, or a full back? The goal is to determine the scale of your design. Does it work on a t-shirt? Have someone hold up the design against their chest and stand several feet away. Can you still read it? Are the images easy to see? Figure out want works and what doesn’t work now, before you go through the printing process.

Ask For Help.

If you are having trouble, why not do it the easy way. Go to a screen printing shop and work with their professional designers. They can help you transform your rough sketches into an engaging, attractive design. They will also offer assistance when choosing ink colors and will make helpful design ideas.

The Easy Way Out.

Want the easy way out in designing your t-shirt? Contact the design pros at The Greek Corner. Just share your thoughts with them and they will transform your vision into reality. Best of all, it’s at no charge!

You’ve now passed T-shirt Design Tips and Tricks 101. To get started with your custom screen-printed apparel order, check us out at Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in Springfield, MO. We’ve been in business for over 35 years. We have over 85 – 5 Star Google Reviews online. We’ve never missed a hard customer deadline. We love giving shop tours. We offer full-service screen printing including free art service. Our experienced, friendly staff would love to work with you on your next tee shirt, bag, hoodie, short, and screen printed sportswear order for your school. Call us at 417.865.8011 or get a free quote today.

In addition to serving Springfield, MO, we also screen print custom t-shirts for customers in Branson, Nixa, Ozark, Willard, Rogersville, Marshfield, Clever, Lebanon, Bolivar, Reeds Spring, Ava, Seymour, Mansfield, Mountain Grove, Buffalo, Stockton, Aurora, Mt. Vernon and Republic. We ship custom printed t-shirts everywhere in the United States. 

Screen Printing FAQ

Screen printing is a delightfully easy way to quickly produce custom t-shirts (or hoodies, totes, bags, towels, etc). If you choose the correct screen printer, the process can be a breeze. Simply decide what product you want to use, get an idea of the artwork you would like to use, determine the print location, and the ink colors. To make it even easier, if you select the right screen printing company, they will help you bring your design to life at no charge. To get started, here are a few questions commonly asked of screen printing companies. Welcome to Screen Printing FAQ 101.

How much does screen printing cost?

The cost depends on a variety of factors:

  • How many shirts are you printing at the same time? The more shirts you print, the lower the unit cost.
  • How many different locations will be printed on your shirt? The more locations printed, the higher the unit cost.
  • How many ink colors does each design have on each location? The more ink colors, the higher the cost.
  • What style of t-shirt do you want? Shirt prices range from $5.00 per shirt and up.

Your screen printing cost is determined by the answer to those questions.

Shop Tours

Where can you print on a shirt?

Although most people stick to traditional locations (front, back, left or right chest), you can also print on the hip, yoke, on the hood of a hoodie, on pockets, or on the sleeves. If you would like to print on an unusual location, simply ask your screen printer what is possible.

Can I see what my t-shirt will look like before I place my order?

Absolutely! Once the design is finalized, your screen printer should send you a mock up or proof of your design. It will appear on the t-shirt or garment you have selected. In some cases, your screen printer will have a sample of the actual t-shirt for you to touch, feel, and see. If not, for a small fee, they will order the item of your choice for your approval. If you decide to order that specific style and color, they will use it to print your order and the ordering fee will be waived. Be sure to order a sample that is just your size!

What is the minimum number of t-shirts I can order?

Believe it or not, it takes just as much work to set up a job for one shirt as it does to screen print 500 shirts. Due to production requirements, at Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery, we have a minimum order of twelve shirts for screen printing. You may be surprised to learn that due to quantity discounts, it is less expensive to order 25 t-shirts than it is to order only twelve t-shirts. If that’s the case for your request, ask how we can split up the shirt colors for more variety. By the way, if you are interested in embroidered garments, you will be happy to know that there isn’t a minimum order required for embroidery.

What colors of ink are offered?

We offer a wide range of ink colors. If we don’t happen to have the exact shade you need, PMS color matches are available for a small additional fee.

How long will it take for my order to be printed?

Most screen printing jobs are finished in 10-14 business days. Depending up on the current printing production schedule, there are occasions when they may be completed sooner or later. If you have a specific date for an event, just let us know. We will do our best to accommodate you. In some cases, rush charges may apply.

You’ve now passed Screen Printing FAQ 101. To get started with your custom screen-printed apparel, see us at Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in Springfield, MO. We offer full-service screen printing including free art service. We would love to work with you on your next tee shirt, bag, hoodie, short, and screen printed sportswear order for your school. Call us at 417.865.8011 or get a free quote today.

In addition to serving Springfield, MO, we also screen print custom t-shirts for customers in Branson, Nixa, Ozark, Willard, Rogersville, Marshfield, Clever, Lebanon, Bolivar, Reeds Spring, Ava, Seymour, Mansfield, Mountain Grove, Buffalo, Stockton, Aurora, Mt. Vernon and Republic. We ship custom printed t-shirts everywhere in the United States. 

 

 

How Many Ink Colors Can You Use In Screen Printing?

Emerald Green. Sunny Yellow. Scarlet Red. Vegas Gold. When designing a screen printed t-shirt, the color possibilities may be endless. There is a rainbow of ink colors from which to choose. But how many ink colors can you use when screen printing a t-shirt? Two? Five? Ten? Twenty? Is there a limit or can you print the entire rainbow on your tee? As you narrow down the colorful possibilities, you can use the following tips when creating your t-shirt design.

 

 

 

 

How Many Ink Colors Can You Use In Screen Printing?

The answer is: as many as you want. Want the rainbow? Go for it. However, remember, every additional color requires a new film positive. Each film positive requires a new screen. Both film and screens cost money. Confused, see

our blog “What is Screen Printing?” Although you CAN use as many colors as you would like in your screen printing design, each color will increase the total price of your finished t-shirt.

To save money, consider limiting your design to 1 – 3 different colors. Stretch your creativity and figure out how you can eliminate extra colors while still maintaining the integrity of your design. Don’t forget, you can use the color of the shirt instead of an ink color in your design. As an example, if you print the American flag on a black tee, you will need to print red, white and blue. Change the shirt color to white and you only need to print red and blue. This is a great way to lower your price without sacrificing your colors.

Endless Options

Most screen printing companies carry a variety of t-shirt brands so you aren’t limited in the number of t-shirt colors either. Brands like Gildan, Next Level, Bella-Canvas, Allmade, and American Apparel give you an enormous number of color options from which tochoo

In addition, most screen printing companies carry a wide assortment of ink colors in-house. Some will even custom mix PMS colors. Don’t limit yourself with the assumption you have a limited color palette. You can use any color of ink you desire.

 

 

Color Tips

If you are struggling with the multitude of option, here are a few tips:

  1. Consider all of your options first.
  2. Think about contrast, especially for text. Contrast is essential for readability.
  3. To save money, limit your ink colors. Simplicity is beautiful (and less expensive).
  4. Carefully consider the shirt color. Can you use it in your design?
  5. When the screen printing company offers in-house art service, take advantage of their expertise. They do this everyday.

You’ve now passed How Many Ink Colors Can You Use 101. To get started with your custom screen-printed apparel order, check us out at Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in Springfield, MO. We’ve been in business for over 35 years. We have over 50 – 5 Star Google Reviews online. We’ve never missed a hard customer deadline. We love giving shop tours. We offer full-service screen printing including free art service. Our experienced, friendly staff would love to work with you on your next tee shirt, bag, hoodie, short, and screen printed sportswear order for your school. Call us at 417.865.8011 or get a free quote today.

In addition to serving Springfield, MO, we also screen print custom t-shirts for customers in Branson, Nixa, Ozark, Willard, Rogersville, Marshfield, Clever, Lebanon, Bolivar, Reeds Spring, Ava, Seymour, Mansfield, Mountain Grove, Buffalo, Stockton, Aurora, Mt. Vernon and Republic. We ship custom printed t-shirts everywhere in the United States. 

How to find a Good Screen Printer

When you need a large number items printed with the identical design, screen printing if often the perfect solution. It’s inexpensive. It’s quick. It has a wide variety of options (t-shirt, hoodies, bags, towels, etc). It offers a rainbow of colors for both garments and ink. It offers unlimited choice of designs. With all the possibilities, what’s a person to do? To transform your screen-printed vision into reality, you’ll need the help of an experienced and reliable screen printing company. There are dozens of screen printing companies from which to choose. Which one is the best fit for you? The following guidelines and suggestions will help you find a good screen printing company.

Ask for recommendations. Recommendations are a great way to find a reputable, reliable professional. Whether it’s a lawyer, house painter, babysitter, or plumber a personal recommendation is hard to beat. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers which local screen printer they’ve used in the past. Did they have a positive or negative experience?

Online reviews. These reviews are a great way to learn what others outside your circle of influence have to say about prospective screen printers. Look for a company that has multiple review instead of just a few. Check out our more than 85 – 5 Star Google Reviews online.

Look for experience and reliability. Experience is critical. Look for a company that has been printing for years. With years of experience under their belt, they’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. What is their record for making customer deadlines? How easy is it to work with them? Are they organized?

Take a tour. Taking a shop tour is a great way to learn how a company really feels about quality. Here are few things to look for while they are showing you around.

  • Is it clean? Do your shoes stick to the floor? Are there globs of ink tracked all over the shop? Is it difficult to navigate through the shop?
  • The equipment doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest. However, is it clean? Is ink smeared all over the machine? Does it appear to be well maintained? Does it look like the equipment actually works? Does it look like it’s held together with baling wire?
  • Does the shop look efficient and orderly. Is it neat and uncluttered or does it look like an episode from the TV show “Hoarders”? Are there pieces of old, unused equipment sitting around covered with stacks of boxes and other pieces of equipment?
  • Is every flat surface covered with lint? Are dust bunnies multiplying in every nook and cranny? Does the top of the dryer look like a shag carpet due to a thick layer of lint?

Screen printing shops are notorious for being less than neat and clean. Sure, a dirty, cluttered shop might be able to produce a nice printed t-shirt. Anything is possible. However, you can be assured that if a shop cares enough about keeping their shop neat, clean and well organized they will be sticklers about the quality of your t-shirt order. Take a look at the photo above our shop. We would love to show you around our facility.

Browse portfolios and services. Screen printing is visual. Be sure to ask for samples of their past work. Judge the quality of their products. Look at their past designs. Many screen printing companies have examples of their work online.

Ask questions and assess their customer service. If you haven’t done so already, give the company a call. Ask questions via email. Schedule a meeting. Explain what you want and ask how they can help you accomplish your goal. Look for a company with a friendly, knowledgeable staff. Here are a few questions you will want to ask:

You’ve now passed Picking a Screen Printer 101. To get started with your custom screen-printed apparel order, check us out at Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in Springfield, MO. We’ve been in business for over 35 years. We have over 85 – 5 Star Google Reviews online. We’ve never missed a hard customer deadline. We love giving shop tours. We offer full-service screen printing including free art service. Our experienced, friendly staff would love to work with you on your next tee shirt, bag, hoodie, short, and screen printed sportswear order for your school. Call us at 417.865.8011 or get a free quote today.

 

 

How to Design a T-shirt for School

First, who is your market? Who is going to buy and wear your t-shirts? Will it be both boys and girls? What colors will they prefer? What styles to they like to wear? Before you start the design process, poll your group to figure out what colors, styles, and features they are willing to buy and wear. For example, the Girl’s Tennis Team might prefer lilac v-necks. The boys baseball team wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those. However, they might love multi-colored raglan tees. Your entire student body might like vintage throwback t-shirts in your school colors. Know your audience!

Double and triple check spelling. Save yourself the embarrassment and expense of misspelling a simple word or name. Before approving your artwork, proof-read spelling and grammar… twice. Better yet, have two others proof the grammar and spelling also. It is very embarrassing to finish passing out 200 shirts only to find out you misspelled the name of your school. Trust us, it HAS happened. When you have a list of student names you are printing on the back of the shirt, have each student look for and proofread their name. What’s the only thing worse than misspelling a student’s name? Accidentally leaving off their name! Trust us, it HAS happened. Don’t let it happen to you.

Look at the trends. Keep it Classic. Most fashion experts advise against following trends. Not this time. You know students are prime targets for what is hot and popular. Watch the latest viral trends to maximize your design’s appeal. Make it the go-to garment for the school year. You can’t go wrong with the quintessential tee boasting school spirit, the school colors, and the school mascot. The classic school tee never goes out of style.

Use a professional designer. Don’t be afraid to ask your screen printing company for help. They will probably have graphic designers on staff or as consultants. Either way, they will be willing to help you bring your ideas to life. Whether you have a specific design in mind, a rough sketch, or not a clue, a graphic designer will help you create a good looking t-shirt.

Ask permission. When designing a t-shirt that represents your school or is intended to be worn during school hours or activities, it’s a good idea to run your design by the proper authorities. These days many school logos are trademarked while others are public domain. There have been circumstances in the past where some designs have been prohibited on campus. You don’t want to be stuck with dozens of shirts that can’t be bought or worn.

You’ve now passed T-shirt Designing for Schools 101. To get started with your custom screen-printed apparel, see us at Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in Springfield, MO. We offer full-service screen printing including free art service. We would love to work with you on your next tee shirt, bag, hoodie, short, and screen printed sportswear order for your school. Call us at 417.865.8011 or get a free quote today.

In addition to serving Springfield, MO, we also screen print custom t-shirts for customers in Branson, Nixa, Ozark, Willard, Rogersville, Marshfield, Clever, Lebanon, Bolivar, Reeds Spring, Ava, Seymour, Mansfield, Mountain Grove, Buffalo, Stockton, Aurora, Mt. Vernon and Republic. We are also an official Missouri State University licensed screen printer and embroidery shop.  We ship custom printed t-shirts everywhere in the United States. 

Artwork Guidelines for Screen Printing

Even if your design is incredibly beautiful, it will not translate into a screen printed graphic if you do not follow basic art guidelines for screen printing. Each screen printing company has established standards to guide their customers. By following those standards, the company will be able to create acceptable and attractive graphics. The guidelines typically include supported file formats, size restrictions, color suggestions, minimums and placement options. As you begin exploring your options for screen printed garments, be certain to contact your preferred screen printing company for their guidelines and specifications. The following is a review of our specific art requirements as well as a few general tips and tricks.

Create and save your design in a supported file format.

At Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery, we accept vector artwork saved in the following file formats:

  • Adobe Illustrator (.ai)
  • Editable EPS (.eps)
  • Acrobat PDF (.pdf)

We will accept non-vector artwork saved as an Adobe PhotoShop file (.psd) or an image file (.jpg) for recreation. Be certain to contact us before you create your final design so you can save it properly.

  1. If at all possible, use vector artwork

Vector art is composed of paths, lines, curves, and shapes. These elements are controlled through points with definite locations on the x – and y – axes of the work plane. This process allows you to increase or decrease the size of the graphic without distortion. Vector artwork that is saved correctly is easily transformed into an acceptable screen printed graphic. If you do not use vector art, the screen printer’s graphic designers will have to completely recreate your design.

  1. Choose high-resolution photos. Remember to include any links.

Photographs are not composed of vectors. If photos are not high-resolution they will become blurry and unusable when they are enlarged. Use photos that have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. If your design includes linked photos, be certain to include the photos or embed them when you submit your design.

  1. Convert all fonts to outlines or paths.

If you are including a font in your design, it is crucial to convert them to paths or outlines. If you do not do so and your designer does not have the font you selected, they will not be able to use that font. When you convert fonts to outlines or paths, you are assured that your font shape will be preserved.

  1. Want to save money? Use fewer colors

In order to transform your design into a screen-printed garment, each color requires its own film positive and its own screen. Those cost time and money. To reduce your overall cost, use fewer colors to limit the total number of screens.

  1. Have questions? Don’t be afraid to ask.

We will be happy to explain both the process and why certain file formats are necessary. To make it even easier, our talented graphic designers will be happy to create a custom design just for you. Best of all, there is no charge for the first hour of your design time!

You have now passed Art Guidelines 101. To get started with your custom screen-printed apparel, see us at Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in Springfield, MO. We offer full-service screen printing including free art service. We would love to work with you on your next tee shirt, bag, hoodie, short, and screen printed sportswear order. Call us at 417.865.8011 or get a free quote today.

In addition to serving Springfield, MO, we also screen print custom t-shirts for customers in Branson, Nixa, Ozark, Willard, Rogersville, Marshfield, Clever, Lebanon, Bolivar, Reeds Spring, Ava, Seymour, Mansfield, Mountain Grove, Buffalo, Stockton, Aurora, Mt. Vernon and Republic. We ship custom printed t-shirts everywhere in the United States. 

What is Plastisol Ink?

Screen Printing inkPlastisol ink”. What exactly IS plastisol? If you’ve ever ordered custom screen printed apparel, you may have heard that term. But, what is it? Is it something you want on your apparel? To clear things up, we will explain everything you need to know about plastisol ink when you place your screen printing order.
Plastisol ink is the most widely used ink in apparel screen printing. It is made up PVC particles suspended in a liquid plasticizer. It is very durable, flexible, and easy to use in the screen printing process.


So why do we love plastisol?

  • Plastisol ink is stubborn…in a good way of course. Once it’s cured on your shirt, it won’t chip off. In fact, it takes years of washing before you’ll begin to see any cracks in the printing. Your t-shirt will wear out before the print does.
  • Plastisol needs no special care. There are no special wash instructions for garments printed with plastisol ink. Just wash and dry normally.
  • Plastisol is versatile. It can be mixed easily to create just about any color imaginable. You get to choose exactly the color you want with plastisol ink. You can even create special effects like suede, glow-in-the-dark, glitter, shimmer or metallic.
  • Plastisol is thick and opaque. It shows up easily on the darkest fabrics and retains it bright image for years.
  • Plastisol is cost effective. It is less expensive than other ink options.

Plastisol ink is a fantastic screen printing medium. However, there are a few things to remember when placing an order:

  • Plastisol is a thermoplastic. There is a chance it will melt when coming in contact with extreme heat. Do not iron screen printed garment in high heat.
  • Plastisol does not bond to metal or glass.
  • Plastisol printing may bunch around seams. When working with your screen printing company, be certain to keep your design away from seams.
  • Plastisol is less breathable that other inks. It is certainly a consideration when considering a large design on your garment. This is especially true for athletic garments.

You have now passed Plastisol 101! Now that you understand plastisol ink, you may be in the market for new custom screen-printed tees. If so, be sure to check out Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in Springfield, MO. We offer full service textile screen printing at competitive rates. Our talented artists will work with you to create exceptional artwork for your screen printed garment. Whether you are looking for tees, hoodies, jackets, sweatpants, shorts or other apparel, we can do it all. To learn more, call us at 417.865.8011 or request a free quote. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

In addition to serving Springfield, MO, we also screen print custom t-shirts for customers in Branson, Nixa, Ozark, Willard, Rogersville, Marshfield, Clever, Lebanon, Bolivar, Reeds Spring, Ava, Seymour, Mansfield, Mountain Grove, Buffalo, Stockton, Aurora, Mt. Vernon and Republic. We ship custom printed t-shirts everywhere in the United States. 

Experienced Screen Printer Needed

We are growing! The Greek Corner, a local leader in the screen printing industry is seeking an experienced full-time Screen Printer. The Greek Corner was the recipient of the 2013 BBB Torch Award Marketplace Ethics and was a finalist for the 2014 and 2017 Springfield Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year.

To join our award winning team, the successful applicant must:

  • Be detail oriented
  • Follow directions, systems, and processes
  • Take the initiative
  • Be meticulous in their work habits
  • Work well with others
  • Set-up and tear down jobs quickly
  • Work quickly and efficiently
  • Willing to do whatever it takes to meet deadlines
  • Keep their work area neat and clean
  • Have a record of excellent attendance and punctuality

The Greek Corner features:

  • A family atmosphere
  • A reputation for always meeting deadlines
  • Clean, safe work environment
  • New, state of the art automatic printing presses
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • Vacation/Holiday pay

Automatic screen printing press experience is preferred. However, we are willing to train the right person. Compensation is based on experience. If you possess all of these characteristics and want to join our team, apply in person at The Greek Corner, 2109-A E. Rockhurst. To learn more about The Greek Corner, visit us at www.GreekCornerPrinting.com.

 

Greek Corner Acquires Bigfish Screenprinting

Springfield, MO— As of January 1, 2018 Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery are the owners of Bigfish Screenprinting, an acquisition that more than doubled the size of their company.

Greek Corner and Bigfish both offer custom screen printing and embroidery services to the Springfield region. Both locally owned and operated, Greek Corner has been in business since 1983 and Bigfish opened its doors in 2001.

The plan to sell has been in the works for some time once Bigfish owner, Vicki Simpson knew she wanted to retire to pursue other endeavors. “About a year ago I began giving some initial thought to selling my business and looking toward the future of working on some other things which are extremely important to me personally,” said Simpson. “As part of the decision to sell, it was of utmost importance to me that the future owner of my business share in my personal values and the integrity on how my business is managed. After a few meetings with Greek Corner, I was convinced that Jason would share my same values in treating my staff with respect and managing my business with integrity.”

“We know that Bigfish does some things better than Greek Corner and we also know that we do a few things better than Bigfish,” says Jason Parke, owner of Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery. “We are going to step back and observe what works best. After a period of time, we will take the best of both worlds and integrate those ideas and processes into a system that will create an even greater company than either of us ever dreamed.”

Greek Corner has grown over 600% since Parke purchased the company over eight years ago. Previously called Corner Graphics, Parke not only restored the company to its original name, but he also assembled a team who he could trust to be dedicated to delivering the highest quality service and product, every time. Parke and his team are taking this opportunity to objectively look at both companies to see what truly works the best for everyone, including the customers.

This acquisition will double Greek Corner’s annual earnings and increase their staff size by 12 employees.

Greek Corner will keep the Bigfish location on Glenstone for the foreseeable future. All orders can be placed through Greek Corner by calling 417-865-8011 or visiting www.greekcornerprinting.com.

Biz 417 Feature – September/October 2017

 The Problem
When Jason Parke bought The Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in 2009, his first big order was printing 1,300 shirts for Springfield Public School’s graduation. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong,” Parke says. One of the machines broke, a printer was out sick, a storm knocked out power and a dryer caught fire. Amazingly, Parke met the deadline, and things calmed down, with one exception: Business always slowed to a trickle during the winter.
The Big Idea
“My granddad always said you have to work twice as hard to do half as good during the winter,” Parke says. To fill the winter lull, Parke increased Greek Corner’s pool of contract orders—clients who place large orders throughout the year. Last year, contract orders made up about 20 percent of Greek Corner’s sales. This year, that number is up to 25 percent.
The Learning Curve
It was a somewhat unnatural move for this reserved introvert. “Networking has always been a little harder for me,” he says. Along with cold-calling potential clients, Parke used existing relationships and connections to win over new customers who could benefit from contract orders. “Persistence is key,” he says. “When a potential client turns you down, you just refocus that energy on someone else and try to win that business. You have to move on and not take it personal.”
The Takeaway
“I’m not going to say having contract customers fills the winter, but it really helps,” Parke says. “A big part of success is building relationships with our clients.” For Parke, that means not stealing customers, meeting order deadlines and accommodating clients who come in with special requests. “Customers will never know we printed those shirts,” Parke says. “But our job is to make our clients looks good.”