A New Year, A Fresh Perspective

When we show up at work each morning, we’re reminded of how fortunate we are to be doing what we are doing. We provide superior screen printing services to clothing brands, musicians and amazing people around the world every day. Although a large portion of our business is done over the internet, the one thing that keeps us excited about what we do is you, the customer. We love thinking about you opening the door to find a box of your custom shirts waiting to be worn. We love seeing you tweet about your excitement and post pictures of the product fresh out the box. We love thinking about the t-shirts being worn at concerts, the hoodies keeping you warm at football games and the families all sporting the same getup at reunions!

Without you we wouldn’t exist. It’s our goal starting off the New Year to find ways to improve our customer service and to show our appreciation for you! Be on the lookout for changes throughout the year and please take a second to say hello (even if you don’t have a print order coming up), we love to hear from you!

If you have some great pictures of the product we printed for you, send them to us or post them to our Facebook page.

Cheers! The Threadbird Crew


Foalio Combines the Power of Portfolios and Creative Jobs, Offering Everyone Access to Amazing Artists and Designers

Foalio (http://www.foalio.com) has upped the ante on helping Artists find Jobs. From the creators of Threadbird, Foalio offers free creative job listings and portfolios.

  • Foalio Home Page
  • Foalio Project Page
  • Foalio Projects Page
  • Foalio Artists Page

Over the past few years at Threadbird, we’ve received requests for artists and designers, from clients who need to hire one but don’t know where to look,” says Foalio Co-Founder Scott Anderson. “We saw a huge need to help jobs find artists.

Unlike other portfolio sites and job posting services, Foalio doesn’t charge anything to post a creative job listing. When jobs are posted, they can be seen and applied for by anyone browsing the site. Artists are also notified by email when a job is posted in their creative field, helping them get the work they need.

It’s not uncommon that people searching for an artist are on a tight budget,” says Foalio Co-Founder Nick Rocccanti. “Most sites are charging $100-200 just to post a job. If your budget is $300, you’ve just spent half of it and still don’t have an artist! We want everyone to have fair access to hiring the right artist.

Foalio also includes the following features:

  • Artist portfolios to showcase projects, descriptions, links and items for sale
  • Browse projects and artists to find the style you are looking for
  • Share projects and jobs on Twitter, Facebook and via email
  • Resume builder for easy access to more info on an artist
  • See which artists are currently available for hire
  • Mark an item as “Pre-Made” and sell it as a ready-to-go template

For more information, please visit http://www.foalio.com.


Threadbird Artist Series: Elevated Engineering

We recently sat down with one of our wonderful clients, Neil Westfall, to talk about his clothing line Elevated Engineering. If the name strikes you as familiar, it may be because he is the guitarist of A Day to Remember. Elevated Engineering has been Neil’s outlet for expression through design as opposed to music. Enjoy.

Elevated Engineering Logo

How did you come up with the name Elevated Engineering for a clothing brand?

We wanted a name that represented what we were going for, clothing that was engineered to a higher standard. Every item is very detail orientated from the design to the actual garment itself. 

Were you at all concerned when you started about confusion when people saw the name alone?

No, because that is exactly what I wanted. I wanted to make clothing that that made people ask questions. Somthing that made the people that knew about it feel special. 

Why did you decide to start Elevated Engineering?

I wanted a way to express my self creatively through a different medium than music.

Your designs don’t seem to follow any “theme”. How do you decide on your designs? Do you have an overall look you’re trying to achieve with Elevated Engineering?

Each design concept is an idea between us and the artist. All of the desings go back to what has influenced us to be who we are today. We have always wanted to be a company that was based heavily on art.

What do you feel has been the toughest thing for you to accomplish in the building of your brand?

Being patient. Since the brand began we have always strived to keep the growth organic. This way people that connect with it and know about it really feel special.

You’ve got a little bit of everything in your catalogue: windbreakers, tanks, shirts, hoodies, etc. Do you feel diversity in items is essential to the development of a brand? Can a clothing line exist on basic t-shirts alone?

Every brand has to start somewhere. I think for the first couple items you make you can get away with just making t-shirts. If you want to be taken seriously I feel like you need to always be investing in yourself. Making new items and pushing the bar with every release.

Do you have any advice you could impart to budding clothing lines who could learn from mistakes you may have made in your past?

I think one of the most important things to remember is the fit of an item. You should find the brand that suits what style you are going for. Samples are key with every item!

Fun question: Desert island… you can take one of each.

  • Book: How to survive on a deserted island … The book.
  • Music: I would probably bring my iPod so I was never limited.
  • Something Random: A boat so I could leave whenever I got tired of being there.

Is there a featured product right now, or something that you’d like us to highlight?

The featured product for men’s is the SKATE TEE designed by devoner 

What has been your favorite piece so far? Why?

The ELVTD CREW windbreaker. We designed this ourselves and it really means a lot to me. I can tell this design is going to be a staple piece to our brand.

DO YOU HAVE ANY MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH PEOPLE WHO WILL READ THIS ABOUT ELEVATED ENGINEERING?

Elevated Engineering is a lifestyle. We are the masters of the free world.

Is there a sale going on or a possible coupon code we can give out with the feature?

We don’t run coupons, but all of our out of season items are currently on sale on our website:
www.elevatedengineering.com

  • Elevated Engineering Red Windbreaker
  • Elevated Engineering Eagle Shirt
  • Elevated Engineering Elevate Shirt
  • Elevated Engineering American Flag Shirt
  • Elevated Engineering Evelvated Womens Shirt
  • Elevated Engineering Sweatshirt

Common Printing Misconceptions: Screen Printers Can Print Samples

One of the most common questions and misconceptions clients have when it comes to screen printing is that they will be able to get a “sample” print before their entire run is printed. While rules are made to be broken I can guarantee that almost every screen printing company in America will not print you a sample without charging you a fortune and here is why. To understand why screen printers can not print samples is to first understand the screen printing process.

First thing you must take note of is that screen printing is indeed a “process” that involves several steps before your t-shirt can come to life. While I am not going to go into deep details here are the basic steps for the screen printing process.

1. Preparing art for print

Art is separated by color into different layers. This is done because with the screen printing process each color in a design requires a separate screen. For example a five color print will require 5 different screens which layered on top of each other will form the final image.

2. Films:

While not all screen printing companies use photo emulsion, a lot of them do and here is the process. Basically the original image is transferred onto an overlay such as acetate, usually by photocopying. This is once again done for each layer in the design.

3. Screens:

Each piece of photocopied acetate is then burned onto the emulsion covered silk screen using ultraviolet light. The areas that are clear harden the emulsion. After this the screens are washed and the areas of emulsion that were not exposed to the light get washed away leaving you a negative of each layer of the artwork.

4. Printing:

Each screen is then attached to the printing press where each layer/color is laid down individually by squeegeeing ink through the screen and onto your tee. This is done for each layer until you have your final image.

5. Drying:

After all layers have been laid down on top of each other and the final image has been created, each tee is sent through a high powered dryer to cure the ink and form your final product.

As you can see even when breaking down the process to the simplest form there are a ton of steps involved in bringing a t-shirt to life. Each step requires labor, time and of course money.

The setup process is truly the most expensive part of screen printing. Once a press is setup and ready to go it really doesn’t make that much of a difference if you are running 50 tees or 500 tees. When you increase your total quantity it allows the screen printer to eat up a lot of their overhead cost. This is why you get a much better price break when going with a larger quantity of tees!

As you can see without even looking at the individual costs for screens, films, ink, labor, and the tee itself making just one t-shirt as a sample is an extremely expensive and time consuming operation to pull off! Remember it is called the “Screen Printing Process”, and it is indeed a process.

There is however a bright side when printing with Threadbird, you are provided a photo-realistic example of how your tees will turn out! While of course nothing ever beats having the real thing in hand, having a photo-realistic mock really helps a client and printer get on the same page as far as placement, size and color. Whenever you are printing make sure that your screen printer always provides you with a mock up before they go to print.

Threadbird Mock Approval Sample

So the next time your screen printer tells you that they can not print you a sample, just know that it is nothing personal it is just all apart of the process.


Threadbird Artist Series: Bon Bon Vie

The 5th installment of Threadbird’s Artist Series brings us to the heart of the windy city. We caught up with Shari Neal to find out more about the heart behind Bon Bon Vie…

What is Bon Bon Vie? It’s such a unique name, how did you come up with it?

Bon Bon Vie is my t-shirt line that I started in 2010. I got the name from the song “Bon Bon Vie” by T.S. Monk (YouTube link here). I found out about the song from a friend and I really liked the name and it seemed really unique.

Why did you decide to start Bon Bon Vie?

There are a few reasons. I decided to start Bon Bon Vie because I needed an outlet where I could just design and be creative outside of work. I also have always wanted to start my own business. And last, I love t-shirts.

Your designs aren’t the average “emptees” print with large monsters or 100 bright colors. How do you come up with the designs for Bon Bon Vie?

The designs are just things that are in my head. They are usually from song titles or things friends say, Chicago related (where I was born & raised and still live), etc. I have never been into complicated designs. I like things that are really simple. I tend to also approach t-shirt designs like I would a logo. I like my tees to be something that people will see and remember.

What have been your biggest hurdles to overcome in getting this far with Bon Bon Vie?

I would say the biggest hurdle has been doing everything myself. I’m kind of a control freak, so I convinced myself I could do everything. Not true! Seriously people, hire professionals to do the stuff you’re not good at. It’ll save you a lot of time and money.

New clothing companies sprout up on a daily basis. What do you feel sets Bon Bon Vie apart from everyone else?

Well, though I have men’s tees too, there don’t seem to be a lot of small female owned tee companies out there that cater to women…so I truly believe I bring a fresh perspective.

Do you have any advice you could impart to budding clothing lines who could learn from mistakes you may have made in your past?

YES. Do your research! Get a business plan book, learn everything there is to know about this industry. Also, do not start a business without having enough money to do so and definitely plan how you plan to get funding (see my comment about getting a business plan book above). And make sure you are passionate about this. It will be hard work if you want to be successful at this…the passion is what gets you through the times that suck.

We always ask a few desert island questions… If you could only take one of each, what would they be: 1) Book 2) Music 3) Something Random?

  • Book: “All my friends are dead.”
  • Music: Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” album
  • Something Random: A notebook

Is there a featured product right now, or something that you’d like us to highlight?

Nope, no featured tees at the moment. But I have 2 new tees coming out soon. You can see them here & here.

What has been your favorite piece so far? Why?

My favorite tee is Brown Skin Lady because it was the first tee I thought of. I had that idea in my head for years and I always imagined it in a 70’s Foxy Brown kind of font. It was also the first tee I got printed and it continues to be my best seller.

Do you have any message you’d like to share with people who will read this about Bon Bon Vie?

Ummm…I hope you like my tees. And feel free to follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/ShariBonBonVie) & Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/bonbonvie)

Is there a sale going on or a possible coupon code we can give out with the feature?

Yup! Use the discount code THREADBIRD for 10% off your order!