Apparel Graphic Academy

Northwest Custom Apparel: Decades of Quality, Community Involvement, with Erik Mickelson


An Exclusive Interview with Erik Mickelson, Operations Manager, April 16th, 2023

MILTON, WA – Northwest Custom Apparel, founded by Jim Mickelson in 1977, has been a leading player in the custom apparel industry for over four decades. Since starting as a purchasing agent in 1997, Operations Manager Erik Mickelson has witnessed the company’s evolution and growth, from the early days of the internet to modern online marketing.

Erik Mickelson Photo of himself for the Apparel Graphic Academy BLOG
Erik Mickelson is the Operations Manager of NW Custom Apparel

In an exclusive interview, Erik Mickelson shares his insights on how the company has adapted to the digital age and the challenges it has faced. He explains that one of the critical factors in their success is embracing technology and staying ahead of industry trends. For instance, Northwest Custom Apparel was among the first to adopt direct-to-garment printing in the Northwest, allowing higher-quality prints and faster turnaround times.

Mickelson also highlights the importance of customer service in the custom apparel business, stating that personal connections with clients are essential in creating long-lasting relationships. The company’s commitment to excellence and innovation has earned them a loyal customer base, allowing them to remain competitive in a constantly changing market.

Northwest Custom Apparel has celebrated numerous milestones throughout its history, including selling over 10,000 “United We Stand” t-shirts after the 9/11 attacks and providing custom embroidery for the University of Washington and WSU Cougars during their Rose Bowl appearances. In addition, the company donated $32,000 to the families of the four fallen Lakewood police officers in 2009.

Milton Police Badge
Erik Mickelson and the NW Team Support their local Milton Police Department.

The local community of Milton has played a significant role in the company’s growth and direction, with residents actively engaging in word-of-mouth marketing. Northwest Custom Apparel proudly supports local businesses, organizations, and events, supplying them with custom logoed apparel and promotional products.

The company’s longevity, quality embroidery, and excellent customer service set them apart from other regional custom apparel companies. A strong team and a commitment to customer satisfaction have been critical to their success.

Looking to the future, Mickelson envisions growth through online company stores, allowing businesses to create their virtual storefronts for employees to purchase custom logoed apparel. This innovative approach will help the company continue to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers.

With a history of resilience, innovation, and community spirit, Northwest Custom Apparel is poised for continued success under the leadership of Erik Mickelson.

newspaper article about DTG printing with 3 men standing in front of a Kornit Printer
Innovating with DTG printing and water-based inks

In conclusion, Northwest Custom Apparel’s ability to adapt and innovate in a rapidly changing industry has been crucial to its success over the past four decades. By embracing new technologies, maintaining strong customer relationships, and actively supporting the local community, the company has established itself as a leader in custom apparel. Under Erik Mickelson’s leadership, Northwest Custom Apparel will continue seeking innovative solutions and expanding its online presence through initiatives such as virtual company stores. As it looks ahead, the company is well-positioned to remain at the forefront of the custom apparel market while staying true to its roots and values.