Today we’d like to introduce you to Donn Jobe.
Hi Donn, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started in 1996 with the purchase of my business license for I believe it was $45.00.
The first products sold were pre-designed Christian transfers and contract screen printed family reunion t-shirts.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has not been a smooth road, trying to juggle a side business and work caused problems.
I was fired from 2 jobs for having a side gig that they thought I was running from work; in the beginning, online sales on social media were not a viable solution, you paid hundreds of dollars just to have a 1-page informational website, purchasing the correct equipment [heat-presses] were expensive.
My first heat press was given to me by one of the companies that fired me, finding screen printers to work with was difficult but I kept pushing and we learned to bootstrap my business growth every step of the way and I applaud my wife for sticking it out with me.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a 26-year career creative graphic designer that turned his creative ability into a decorative apparel business that does screen printing, direct-to-garment printing, small format digital printing, and promotional product retailer.
We are known for one of our many businesses Team Logo Apparel [www.teamlogoapparel.com] which is a mobile gameday fan apparel printing operation for youth leagues, schools, and adult sports teams where we print apparel on the spot and can customize with your name and number on the back.
I am most proud of the fact that after 26 years of doing this part-time, and having to close our first brick-and-mortar store we are still in business and making an impact and growing our online private apparel brands at the same time we are building customers.
What sets us apart is that we can print for our customers in 3-5 days using our direct-to-garment printer on white, light, and dark colors and that we have service providers that make it possible for us to print for customers more than one way using:
• Screen Print Transfers
• Digital Print Transfers
• Heat Applied Patches and Emblems
We can basically say yes to any print job that applies to wearables, hats, promotional items, and more, so we are the perfect go-to solution for any job.
Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you are an entrepreneur you have to take risks, you must take risks. Risk-taking pushes you beyond your comfort zones and introduces you to areas you may not have imagined going.
One risk that comes to mind is when we asked “The Gospel Jubilee” a large Christian Conference that would come to Nashville in the 90s, could we become the apparel event sponsor and they said yes.
I had no idea how I would fund this, a customer heard of what I was wanting to do and believed in me and loaned me the money, all he wanted back was what he gave me. We paid him back and did the Jubilee for 2 more years. This was a huge risk for me in my early years.
My thoughts were, would they purchase the event shirt and other Christian-designed shirts that we would print on the spot, would we have enough, and what if we didn’t sell any. Had I not taken this risk, we would not have grown our services.
We went on to open a kiosk in the 100 oaks mall area, we closed it after 2 years, we became sponsors of the Blue Cross Bowl for high school football championships, and we also became official apparel printers for several youth league championship games as well.
As a USMC veteran, I would say that calculated risks are a part of every entrepreneur’s steps. You have to make them in order to realize your dreams, if not for my time in the Marines none of what I am doing now or have done; would probably not have been done because I was raising a family, coaching youth sports, and working full-time jobs.
My wife would often say how do you do all this and not be tired, I dig deep within and find the strength and faith inside that keeps me reaching for what others may see as impossible.
I am a risk-taker, it’s scary, it’s hard but who said life would be easy.
- Website: www.bulldogcustomtees.com
- Instagram: @bulldogcustom.tees
- Facebook: bulldogcustomtees
- Other: prepline.com, notbysightclothing.com, n2desgnz.com
Aaron Grayson of Aaron Frank Photo