Company Merchandise stores


Company stores are the best medium to distribute apparel to your employees. Northwest Custom Apparel is your first choice

Reasons for choosing a company store from Northwest Custom Apparel

  • Allows employer or employee committee to select apparel to be given to employees.
  • Allows selection of custom logo for apparel Choose a custom logo for an event
  • No requirement to purchase apparel. Only pay for what was ordered
  • No inventory requirement
  • Purchase on demand
  • HR Manager has no confusing problems in taking orders and distributing merchandise

Making the HR Manager happy

The reasons for the above are to make a HR Manager’s life hassle free. Trying to figure out what to give your employees is confusing. This option is to make your team a part of the selection process.

Distributing company caps

Distributing caps from a company store will guarantee each branded cap will be worn and will get at least 3,300 views in its lifetime. This is an inexpensive way to show off the company’s brand. Your cost is less than 3 cents per impression

Erik Mickelson, Northwest Custom Apparel
Erik Mickelson, Operations Manager, Northwest Custom Apparel poses for his 2016 Staff Photo. Erik joined his father, Jim, after graduation from Washington State University in 1996.

Custom decorated apparel will get even more looks. A full back tee shirt is an inexpensive way to get your message out. In a year a tee shirt will capture at least 4,000 eyeballs. At $10.00 per shirt it will cost less than 2 cents for each eyeball.

If the company decides to allow employees to purchase company merchandise the collection process is a slam dunk. Employees will be able to order and pay for all merchandise on line. Another option is payroll deductions to cover the cost.

Best Benefit

The best benefit of a company store is getting the brand out and making everyone a winner. Employees get branded merchandise and the company gets brand recognition.

Northwest Custom Apparel has been doing company stores and have a good track record putting them together.  It has proven to be a moral builder and a great marketing tool.




SGIA features Digital to Garment printing

SGIA Trade Show

I just returned from the SGIA Trade Show in Las Vegas today. What a show it was.

The big topic was Digital to Garment printing. There were companies all over the exhibit floor selling DTG printers. Some were good and some are actually toys.

The Vulcan Rules

Kornit was exhibiting their Vulcan printer. I witnessed it printing at the speed of over 200 shirts per hour with one operator. This is definitely the future.

I had the chance to meet some really smart people who are getting into DTG printing early. These people will be known as the pioneers in DTG printing. One interesting gentle man I met was Dinesh Wahi from Shirthub in Burnsville, Minnesota.


ShirtHub has two Avalanche printers from Kornit. They specialize in e-commerce printing. I was really impressed in that they can receive an order and ship it in 24 hours. This is what is called service.

I also met a few of the staff from an unnamed company who has 21 Kornit DTG printers. This tells us something about the future of DTG printing. It is going to be big. Running 21 Kornits full time means the market is only going to get bigger.

Amazon DTG printing

The big rumor is that Amazon has 16 Kornits in Texas running e-commerce orders. One year ago Amazon did not have any DTG printers. Now they are going to become a player.

Kornit and Hirsch put on a reception that was really neat complete with Vegas Show girls. We all had passes for the High Roller thanks to Kris Janowski of Hirsch. What an event. A nice party and a ride on the Big Roller.


Noted attendees from our industry included Rob Dubow, Greg Kitsen, and the Kornit Engineering team from Israel.

The topic of consumer safety came up and we all know there are regulations for printers who use toxic chemicals in their print process. It is against the law to expose children less than 12 years of age to these chemicals. Once enforcement starts you will see mass migration to DTG printing…

SGIA was awsome

To summarize the SGIA show is that it was awesome and I will be back.

Same day screen printing

The largest DTG printing plant is located in Milton, Wa.

The company Northwest Custom Apparel offers same day printing for multicolor designs. Customers who have camera ready art work can take advantage of this service. The company also accepts 300 dpt art for same day printing.

The advantage of using DTG printing is that a customer can design their artwork and submit it for instant printing. The reason for the speed is that no screens have to be set up for each color in the design. This is referred to as Spot Colors separation.

The process consists of converting customer artwork to a digital file. This art file is converted to a language that the Kornit DTG printer can read and transfer to a tee shirt.

Northwest Custom Apparel is the largest DTG printing company in the Seattle Tacoma area. Hi Tech companies love the same day printing model because in their world everything is instant gratification. This is the reason that DTG printing is going to be the wave of the future. It is a nascent industry on the cusp of exploding as it passes traditional screen printing.

As well as speed Kornit printing uses only child safe inks. Screen print inks made from Poly Vinal Cholride which is known to contain cancer causing carcinogenic particles. DTG printing is the preference of PTA moms who are concerned about child safety.

Jim Mickelson

Tacoma Tee Shirts 3 Reasons You Want One

History of Tacoma T-Shirts

The city of Tacoma is revitalized with a booming economy and it is a great place to buy custom printed t-shirts. The custom t-shirt industry has roots starting back up on Tacoma Avenue in 1977 with Northwest Embroidery.  This tiny shop was the birth place for custom printed apparel in the area. The t-shirt industry was in its infancy in the late 1970’s, but caught on quickly and many other t-shirt shops opened up in Tacoma and Seattle. By the mid 80’s local business wanted to be identified with their business logo on apparel. They wanted their employees to look sharp and represent their brand and image.

Boeing was a big influence in the 1980’s when they required all their staff to wear embroidered golf shirts and work shirts. The apparel boom was on in Tacoma with t-shirt companies opening up everywhere. Another long time printer, Skip Jenson owner of Post Industrial Press opened his doors to help meet demand of printed shirts. After 30 plus years, Skip is still printing strong out on South Tacoma Way.

Recommended Tee Shirt Printers in Tacoma

There are so many great t-shirt printers in Tacoma, however, it is my duty to recommend some of the great ones. Of course Skip out in Post Industrial press will always do you right. Skip can print multi-color prints with fades and crisp detail. Skip can take a piece of artwork and duplicate it on a t-shirt.

Hi Tech Screen has been printing shirts since the late 80’s  and specializes in hot rod and car prints. If you are having a car show and need some printing give Tina and Ken a jingle out at Hi Tech.

T-Town printing up in the Hill Top area is another great place to go for printing. They have multiple printing carousels and a fully stocked showroom. T-town features a line of Tacoma shirts called “T-Town Apparel” You can purchase these local shirts right in their showroom. Pat and Gail Ringrose are the owners.

Northwest Custom Apparel started in Tacoma in 1977 and moved their operation about 5 miles away to Milton in 1981. They recently re-branded their entire company and remodeled their showroom with new styles and fashions from Port Authority. The specialize in multi-color printed t-shirts and sweatshirts, using their new direct to garment printers. The printers are manufactured in Israel and are the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.  The cool thing about DTG printing is the ink is water-based, unlike screen printing ink that is known for cancer causing carcinogens. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable with a great sense of humor. If you do not have a design their graphic artist, Randy Fountain, will sit down with you and put your idea into reality.  Embroidery is their specialty since 1977. You can purchase custom embroidered baseball caps and jackets with your business or team’s logo.

Three Reasons to Buy Tee Shirts in Tacoma

  1.  Quality: Tacoma was the birth place for custom t-shirts and all the companies have experience that will give you the best looking tee shirt ever.
  2. Service: Tacoma businesses pride themselves on customer service. You will not find employees that care for their customer anywhere else in the country.
  3. Guarantee: Tacoma t-shirt printers GUARANTEE their printed image will be sharp, correctly sized  with vibrant colors.

Now that you have a brief history and some reasons to buy T-shirts in Tacoma, go sit down and design yourself a logo and we will be waiting to print your shirts.

Erik Mickelson

*Erik’s family has been in the Tacoma Apparel Business since 1977. After graduating Washington State University in 1996, Erik joined his father, Jim Mickelson at NW Custom Apparel.

Erik recommends if you do not have artwork and want to fiddle around online creating some t-shirt artwork, please go to the online t-shirt designer at


What Direct to Garment Printer Should I purchase?

There are many models and brands of direct-to-garment printers, and they all have features that make them unique. You should identify features that are most important to you and complement your business. Features such as size, print area, print speed, number of colors, printing software, required maintenance, warranty, and color quality are all important to know, but understanding how the direct-to-garment printer will grow your business is even more important.

Kris Janowski
Vice President
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