At STAHLS’ we know that our customer’s success is our success. That’s why we focus on fostering a community of apparel decorators to learn from each other. To further build that community, we created the STAHLS’ Brand Ambassador program to connect fellow heat printers and share industry knowledge, tips, and tricks.
We are so excited to introduce one of our brand ambassadors, self-proclaimed “Hat Master”, Skip Davis of D4 Graphics! We got to interview Skip and ask him all about his business, decorating niche, and go-to products. Check out Skip’s interview below!
How did you get started? How did you decide to use STAHLS’?
I got started in the heat press business after seeing my parents set up (doing the same thing) in NY when I was visiting. It was around 2006. My parents were using a STAHLS’ press and utilizing Transfer Express at the time also, so it was just natural to use what they were using.
What heat press did you start with? Besides a heat press, do you own any other equipment?
I have a vinyl cutter, a Hotronix® Fusion IQ® 16×20 press and two hat presses: a STAHLS’ MAXX® Cap press and the Hotronix® 360 IQ®. I started with a STAHLS’ 15 x 15 Mighty press.
Tell us about your first order.
My first order wasn’t really an “order”, I was at a Pittsburgh Penguins game and wanted to buy a Penguins hoodie and all they had were ones that had a small, embroidered logo on them for $60 or something crazy…. I said to my friend that was with me, “why don’t they make hoodies that look like jerseys?” So, I designed one and started selling them at work and to friends. Bootlegging at its finest. They were amazing looking and brought me my first legit order, which was for the place I was still working at before I left and started D4 Graphics.
Tell us about some of the things you did to help your business grow?
Prior to what social media can do for your business, I would do a lot of just stopping into places that I frequented and show some samples along with looking for businesses getting ready to open (mostly bars and restaurants because you could see the application for a liquor license posted in the window) and stop in and introduce myself and what I do. I also do a fair share of regular vinyl, so for business, it’s a 1 -2 punch for me to be able to offer then both clothing and signage. They love the fact that they don’t have to deal with multiple places. Some businesses call me for sign work and don’t know that I do clothing and some call me for clothing and don’t know I do signage. Works out well.
Would you have done anything differently?
I’m pretty happy with how my business has grown since incorporating in 2009. Wouldn’t change much.
Do you have any employees? Do you ever enlist the help of friends/family?
No employees, just me. I don’t really have help from friends or family, as I am a control freak and everything needs to be done a certain way, lol.
What has been your biggest order? How did you get it?
My biggest order wasn’t really a one-time order. In 2016, I was doing apparel and vinyl work on company trucks for a local guy that was about to turn professional on the Bass fishing circuit and his sponsor needed a supplier for decals and clothing. I signed a licensing deal with that company and subsequently now sell to and sell for upwards of 15 different Bass fishing companies and clubs….it really snowballed quickly.
What is your favorite product?
My favorite product would have to be SPECTRA® Eco-Film. I used Eco–Film religiously when I started pressing hats over 10 years ago and now CAD-CUT® Soft Flock is one of my favorites.
What do you do to promote and market your business?
I don’t do much marketing, so social media and word of mouth mostly. I have a great customer base that without hesitation passes my name along. That’s how the Bass fishing gig really took off for me, I was selling for the one company via my website and people that ordered would contact me about doing the same thing for another fishing company or a club that they were in. Sometimes it wasn’t even fishing related. It was the quality of the product that I provided that really did the marketing for me.
What is your favorite part of selling custom apparel?
The best part of selling custom apparel is when you get that over-the-top reaction from a client from an order they received from me, it’s the best!
What are your future goals?
My future goals are to keep the business rolling, continuing to grow (as a business and a person) and always push the boundaries of this industry. I can’t thank STAHLS’ enough for choosing me to represent them and Josh Ellsworth for really being a mentor of sorts for me. It’s all so crazy to me that so many other people look to me for guidance and help with their projects. I am extremely lucky to be doing what I am.
Our ambassadors are here to give you a new perspective on how to use STAHLS’ products. Be sure to check out our Q + A with another brand ambassador, Justin Coats, here. Also make sure to connect with us in our Facebook group and stay up to date on our events and webinars.
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