When Kelley Waltz started Sparkly Tees back in 2010, the reason why might sound familiar to many other business owners. According to daughter Kylie, “My dad wanted to make our own t-shirts for a Cub Scout troop.” Kylie remembers the early days, “It started with one screen in our garage.” But it turns out that Kylie’s dad didn’t really enjoy the shirt printing hobby that much. “However, my Mom really thought it had potential, and she also liked creating custom shirts,” adds Kylie. Sparkly Tees was born and Kelley operated it out of her home for many years. Today, Kelley and Kylie still offer screen printing, embroidery and heat printing services, but no longer run the business out of their home. In 2016 they moved the business to a retail space in a strip mall northwest of Las Vegas. They also do all their production out of the facility.
Heat Printing Services Growing their business has been mostly through word of mouth, but they do get some foot traffic at their location. “We do a lot of schools and spirit wear, especially cheer practice jerseys. We have two Hotronix heat presses right now, and are really happy with the Hotronix Fusion IQ we recently purchased. Without heat printing, we wouldn’t be able to profitably print smaller quantities or offer the level of personalization that we can,” Kylie insists.
Known for Sparkle, Shine and Fit The store specializes in custom on-demand and is known for their fun and sparkly CAD-CUT GlitterFlake designs. “Two cutters are always running, we have one set up to cut CAD-CUT Fashion Film or other heat transfer vinyls and one set up to do GlitterFlake,” explains Kylie. “In addition to GlitterFlake and rhinestones, we specialize in custom shirts for women,” Kylie continues. “Especially school staff shirts. When you get a shirt at other places, they’re not usually designed for women. We understand that if you don’t like your shirt, you won’t wear it. My mother and I know how to design and print shirts that staff members really love and appreciate, and word gets around. It starts with finding shirts that fit women well, shirts available in cuts for both men and women. You can even get polo shirts that are more fitted for women. Now we have more schools than ever coming in for shirts.”
Choices include Custom Transfers In addition to custom cutting CAD-CUT heat transfer vinyls, Sparkly Tees also uses Transfer Express for custom transfers. “Plus, we use CAD-Printz digital transfers when we need to do full color, complicated logos.” Even though there are many choices for customers, Kylie trys to keep things simple when helping folks design a custom shirt. “We have color charts, swatches and we help customers with artwork mockups. And even though there are tons of font choices, we try to just offer around 10 different font choices. When there are too many choices, people can have a hard time making decisions.”
Online Growth via Spirit Sale Platform Because of their success, Sparkly Tees was selected as a Beta-Tester for Stahls’ Spirit Sale e-commerce platform. This e-commerce platform is designed for small to medium businesses that use heat printing as their primary decoration method. It offers a powerful set of tools to market your services and grow your business. Kylie really likes the ease with which Spirit Sale allows them to acquire online sales. “We love it so far, says Kylie, “We had a webstore before but when we saw that Stahls’ had created something specifically with our business needs in mind, we jumped at the opportunity to be a beta tester. We didn’t really have a great web presence before, but we’re going after sales with more schools and hospitals and it makes it so easy for our customers to order. I haven’t really seen anything else available for heat printers or people doing on-demand, smaller quantity printing like we do.”
Continued Growth Ahead Considering the humble beginnings of starting the business out of the family garage, Kylie and her mom are very happy with the growth they are experiencing and plan to continue working hard to expand the business. “I think it would be awesome if we could open a second location,” mentions Kylie. “Our next step is to hire more staff.” If you would like to see more of Sparkly Tees creations, follow the Sparkly Tees Facebook page or check out the Sparkly Tees website.