Over the weekend we were very saddened to learn about the passing of imprinted sportswear industry guru and longtime friend Mark L. Venit. I’ve known Mark for over 30 years; his knowledge of the custom t-shirt industry and his passion for sharing that information is legendary. You never walked away from a meeting or dinner with Mark (he often organized dinners at trade shows and brought all types of people together) without learning something, including perhaps a thing or two about Medieval castles, one of his long time passions. He loved researching this part of history and was an expert on the treasures you might find within castle walls. This might have also led to his fascination with sand castles; he is a three time world champion sculptor and sandcastle builder. But whether he was building sandcastles or helping people build their businesses, he did it with lots of enthusiasm, intelligence, humor and grit. He wasn’t one to hold back
or sugar coat the truth. If he saw room for improvement, he would let you know. I’ve seen first hand how he has helped businesses of all sizes grow and thrive, and I considered him a trusted source for industry information. Back in 2010, we encouraged Mark to write a book to preserve all this knowledge and the result was The Business of T-Shirts. This book covers everything from how to price apparel, how to find customers, how to keep customers and more, including answers to lots of questions you didn’t realize need to be asked. It’s a must read for anyone in the industry today. Mark remained active in the industry as the President of Apparel Graphics Institute LLC, providing management and marketing consulting and proprietary research to apparel graphics companies throughout the Americas and Europe. He has also written over 400 articles on management and marketing published in trade magazines and professional journals and was recognized by Impressions Magazine as one of the Top 25 Innovators in Industry History. He also founded and recently retired as chairman of the board of ShopWorks Software, a leading provider of industry-specific business software. As you can see, Mark’s contributions to the industry are immense. We are grateful for all the time we were able to spend with him and we will really miss seeing his smiling face at industry trade shows or getting his informative emails on his whereabouts. One of the great communicators, we have lost a good friend and colleague. On behalf of the Stahl family and everyone at GroupeSTAHL, we offer our deepest condolences to his loving wife, sons and family. As you can see from the video shared here, he was a creative man with great passion for detail and excellence, but who also possessed an even greater trait; the ability to not always take yourself so seriously and to just have fun.
Mark was a special person,and will be missed. Mark was not only a well known expert in the industry but he took the time to teach many of our industry’s future experts who have followed in his footsteps. Mark was one of the most prominent educators in the industry and we all owe him for leaving our industry a better place
Thank you for this wonderful tribute, Ted. I love that you mentioned the trade show dinners. My husband Jerry and I enjoyed several of those dinners, including one in Tampa where we shared a crowded cab with you and Tom Stewart. That was truly a fun night, and we appreciated Mark including us.
Mark took us on as clients at a time when he wasn’t targeting small businesses. He wasn’t afraid to tell us what we were doing wrong, including a strong recommendation that we change our name. (We did.) Even after that weekend spent at his castle, he continued to keep track of our success, including a story about us in his book.
Mark will truly be missed. We’ll continue to build our business, always having fun and remembering the good advice Mark gave us!
Thanks for reading. You will be able to find it on stahlstv.com If you register, you will have free access to this and hundreds of other how-to videos. Thanks for reading. Ted
Yes of course I remember that dinner and cab ride. Mark always had a way of making everyone feel welcome and appreciated. I’m so glad you reached out to share this memory. I will check in the book for the story about your business. I checked out your website and I have to say I really like it. It’s friendly, easy to understand and very well done. Thanks for reaching out. If you are at the Long Beach ISS show, please stop by and say hello.
We just heard of the passing of Mark and were greatly saddened by the news. Mark came in as a consultant when our business was in the process of being handed over from one generation to another and we found ourselves trying to sort out a new business identity. To tell you the truth I am not quite sure that mark quite knew what to do with our situation. We were finding our way changing from a 30 year glass shop, art gallery and custom framing shop … Moving into custom clothing, awards and custom engraving. We were on the market as Emerald and Vibe and had a mixed identity. We were lost and not sure how to change the function of our business. Working together we have successfully rebranded and have grown into Emerald Custom Creations. I first met Mark when I made the decision to buy Shopworks. He told me I was crazy as I was too small to consider a purchase of the value as I had very minimal sales at the point of purchase. He said it was meant for companies that were over a million … I said “Perfect that will be me!” So I purchased the software and can’t imagine how I would manage my business without it. We are a long term customer of Stahls Canada and have been lucky to had had the opportunity to have Mark as one of our alliances is our business change … He will be missed by Emerald Custom Creation
I met Mark in 1980 in Upper Darby.
He assisted me in creating thousands of t-shirts for 3 major rock and roll bands prior to them going on tour.
We became friends and not just two businessmen.
I’ll never forget, I’d been working for Disney for years and out of the blue he contacted me and invited me to a Sand Castle competition in Tampa/St. Pete.
He purchased a vendors table at the event and encouraged me to showcase my acrylic castle sculptures for the weekend. He was always thinking about how he could help his friends…
I hadn’t spoken to him in years, and was saddened to hear he passed, when I decided to look him up.