As an industry leader in the world of heat printing, STAHLS’ knows the value of community and its ability to foster innovation. By learning from fellow heat printers, we gain fresh perspectives and insight on the who, what, where, and how of heat printing. To foster this community of learning, STAHLS’ brought on expert brand ambassadors to provide valuable tips and tricks to fellow apparel decorators.
We are so excited to introduce one of our brand ambassadors, Erik Batewell of Yoursport Custom Apparel! We got to interview Erik and ask him all about his business, services offered, and go-to products. Check out Erik’s interview below!
How did you get started?
The business was started by my father in 1990 as a hockey equipment pro shop and quickly morphed into a screen printing/embroidery/heat press shop.
Besides a heat press, do you own any other equipment?
- Two Hotronix® Fusion IQ® presses.
- Hotronix® Fusion 360IQ® hat press
- Hotronix® AutoCap hat press
- STAHLS’ EZ Weeding Table (best investment EVER!)
- STAHLS’ Laser Alignment System
- Tajima 6 head embroidery machine
- Tajima 2 head embroidery machine
- Vastek 4 color 4 station manual screen-printing press
- Graphtec CE-6000-60 plus cutter
and we are very interested in a cutter printer!
What heat press did you start with?
We had used the BASIX B-400 and went through several of them over the years, pressing Thermo-FILM® numbers for years beat them up, haha!
Tell us about your first order.
I started in the business in 2003. Some of the first STAHLS’ products I remember using/ordering was CAD-CUT® Thermo-FILM® exclusively. Our first cutter/plotter was a STAHLS’ home brand I believe and that’s when we started experimenting with CAD-CUT® Fashion-FILM etc. But I will be completely honest, we stayed away from most products as weeding them was a NIGHTMARE until we found the heated weeding table (thank God lol).
Tell us about some of the things you did to help your business grow?
Two big ones in my opinion.
- Linking up with OrderMyGear for online store platform and all that comes with it. We went from doing a few team orders via paper order forms before OMG and to date this year we have done over $250,000 in sales just on the OMG platform.
- Following trends from industry leaders, specifically STAHLS’. You guys have always been out front in terms of technology, etc. and we have found that investing in anything you guys offer pays off 10X. Ken Chadwick was the man and really helped us make the push and start to use the custom printed options FlexStyle®, Stretch Litho™, CAD-COLOR® Express Print®, etc. I couldn’t even tell you who my rep is now, but can tell you the more we saw Ken, the more we started to offer and stand out from the competition.
Would you have done anything differently?
I also would’ve added Inksoft/Printavo shop software to integrate it all at the same time, I HATE pushing paperwork – too much room for human error, etc.
Do you have any employees?
There are five of us in total. Me and my business partner Chris, Keira runs the embroidery department, Maureen runs the heat press department, and Antonio has been our head screen printer for 18 years now.
Do you ever enlist the help of friends/family?
Yes. One of our employees is my sister-in-law, and from time to time my wife helps us, especially during the holidays. This year we had 387 OrderMyGear orders to decorate, tag, separate, fold, bag and ship before Christmas arrived.
What has been your biggest order?
Some of our biggest orders:
- 600+ Sun Pharma FlexStyle® pressure sensitive emblems for notebooks.
- Hockey uniforms (jerseys, socks, shells, apparel) for several large organizations we deal with
- Several transfer orders of 200,300+ pieces and of course in the embroidery/screen printing departments we’ve done orders well over the 1000 pc limit
How did you get it?
We got the business the same way we get all of our business… relationships we’ve built and customer referrals. Our customer acquisition cost is $0 as we’ve never spent a nickel on advertising.
Our motto is “Our Reputation is on You,” we pride ourselves on 3 things – communication, transparency, and always putting a major emphasis on the details.
STAHLS’ brand 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, “The Hat Master” Skip Davis, here. Also make sure to connect with us in our Facebook group and stay up to date on our events and webinars.