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T.S. Designs Focusing on People, Planet, and Profitability

(May 2006) posted on Tue May 02, 2006

Discover why the company decided to go green and what actions it's taken to make eco-friendly screen pritning sustainable.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Lori Leaman

In its first few years of operation, the five-employee shop focused primarily on garments; however, Sineath continued to dabble in specialty projects, such as P-O-P displays and menu strips for local restaurants. The garment side of the business grew significantly, forcing T.S. Designs to move into a 5000-sq-ft facility in Burlington and add a few more manual presses, another dryer, and the company's first PC. Print jobs were a mixture of contract work, where the customers provided the garments and T.S. Designs printed the orders, and jobs for local businesses, where T.S. Designs provided the artwork, product, and printing. The company also took advantage of the growing regional popularity of the sock and hosiery industry at the time and added those products to the shop's list of printing capabilities.

Three years later, T.S. Designs moved into a 10,000-sq-ft facility in Burlington and added the first of its automatic garment presses, a four-color Precision Oval press. Sineath also built a one-color automatic press for hosiery decoration. With continued growth, T.S. Designs relocated again in 1988 to its current home—a 20,000-sq-ft facility located in Burlington. The company added several TAS automatic presses, converted its electric dryers to gas, and equipped its prepress department with Macintosh computers and an OYO imagesetter. Today, the 20-employee shop owns seven TAS presses ranging in models from eight colors/10 stations to 12 colors/14 stations. Jobs range from those involving a few hundred to several thousand pieces and run the gamut from T-shirts for local organizations to garments for Whole Foods Market in California (Figure 1).

The three Ps

T.S. Designs began like many small screen-printing outfits—a few employees with a few pieces of equipment and a lot of determination to succeed in a highly competitive market. In its early days, the shop focused on securing big clients, such as Nike, The Gap, and Tommy Hilfiger. This strategy brought the company frequent, high-volume orders and much success. But when the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, and the apparel-industry giants began to send their work outside the US, T.S. Designs realized it was time to change its goals and practices.


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