By Vicki Johnson
PHOTO BY VICKI JOHNSON
Laurie Hohman places a shirt on a heat press as part of the process of creating custom-printed shirts. In the background is owner Denice Daniel.
A personalized hoodie or a one-of-a-kind teddy bear for under the Christmas tree can be found as close as Bascom.
Custom-printed shirts and other cloth items are the newest item at Daniel Advertising Specialties, SR 18 and CR 7.
"We decided to do something that would allow us to make individual shirts," said Laurie Hohman, the company's graphic designer and marketing specialist.
"We want to let people know you don't have to buy 10-15 of something," added owner Denice Daniel . "You can buy one and get it customized."
Although T-shirts are available from other local companies or online, Hohman said there's usually a minimum order number for screen printing. And online orders require shipping costs.
"You're spending $40 for a shirt, we could make here for a lot less," she said.
Hohman got the idea when she, as a photographer for her own business, was taking pictures at the Seneca County Fair last summer.
"People kept asking if I was from the newspaper," she said. "They didn't know who I was because I didn't have a shirt or anything.
"For me, I wanted to have a shirt for my business, but I don't want to have to order 12," she said. "Then I found this."
The heat transfer process allows small numbers of shirts to be made easily for individuals or small groups who want only a few.
"Our niche is small quantities," Daniel said.
For example, cheerleaders at a school might want shirts for spirit day in their school colors, or a group of women might want shirts to wear for a bachelorette party that coordinate with the bride's wedding colors.
"We're just trying to think of all the possibilities," Hohman said.
Daniel said customized shirts make great Christmas gifts.
"We can customize each shirt and change the colors," she said. "With screen printing, you have to get all one color. With us, if you want one in pink and one in orange, we can do that. For us, it really doesn't change that much."
Although they aren't licensed to sell most brand-name shirts such as John Deere or Ohio State, Hohman said she can add a name or custom wording to a shirt purchased elsewhere, depending on the fabric the shirt is made from.
"We know cotton and cotton polyester blends work well," she said.
The process they use is a transfer, but not the old-fashioned transfers that came off in the washing machine.
"We tested all different kinds of stuff," Hohman said. "When we washed it, we didn't see any deterioration."
Wording comes in more than 40 colors and styles such as "glitter" and "holographic." Wording can even glow in the dark.
During the process, Hohman creates a design on the computer. The design is sent to a cutter, which separates the letters from the rest of a plastic material. She then removes the extraneous material and places the letters on a shirt.
The shirt is centered on a heat press and she programs the press to use the right amount of heat to transfer the design to the shirt.
"We started off thinking we would just do the heat press here, but we ended up buying the cutter," Hohman said. "So we can do the whole process.
"We're starting small and working our way up to other options," she said. "If people want more we can always expand."
Future options include full color.
Not only does the shop handle T-shirts, but sweatshirts, tote bags and other cloth items can be personalized.
One idea is stuffed animals with a customized shirt.
"We have bears with T-shirts for baby births," Daniel said. "It's a neat baby item. Mom can take off the shirt and have a keepsake. Onesies they grow out of, but a bear they can play with."
Shirts can be ready in five days - usually sooner, depending on number of orders and complexity of the project.
Prices range from $30 for a jersey and $20 for a hoodie to $14 for a T-shirt.
In addition to the new shirt design process, Daniel Advertising Specialties sells promotional items, wedding favors, wedding invitations, custom-made wedding invitations, balloons and similar items.
Daniel started the business from her home in 1984, but moved to office space at SR 18 and CR 7 in Bascom two years ago.
The office contains a shelf with examples of the many items that can be personalized with a company logo.
"Anything you can think of can have an imprint on it," Daniel said. "We're dealing with companies all over the U.S. as a distributor.
"We deal most often with Ohio companies because we like to stay local and it saves shipping costs," she said. "But if you can't find it in Ohio, then you have to look elsewhere."
December hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday or by appointment. Call (419) 937-2838 or (419) 937-7655.