Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. This week we welcome in Erik Mickelson of Northwest Custom Apparel to talk about the changes he has been through while taking more of the reigns of his family business. Started in 1977 by his Father, Jim Mickelson, the company has been part of Erik’s life since he was a kid and has grown to 20 full-time employees to make this thriving embroidery business tick. Erik is now implementing procedures and policies to take the company from managing by “Jim and his Gang” to running a business correctly with procedures and policies. We talk about the trial, tribulations and all the fun stories along the way.
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Our regular listeners know this, but 2 Regular Guys are all about garment decorating, a bit of fun, and no rants or lectures or selling. We are not doing this for our employers, but rather for our industry. Since February 2013, The 2 Regular Guys have been the first and the most listened to garment decorating industry podcast on this planet! We are humbled by all of you tuning in each week. We work hard to bring you information that will make your business better, and our industry better. Take a look at our incredible weekly guest list and you’ll understand where this industry goes for news, interviews and the heartbeat of garment decorating. Thanks for listening!
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Generational Change - Growing and Renewing a Family Business
Erich: First and foremost, why don’t you tell us a little about how your shop started and what it was like growing up with the family business? Did you always think you’d take it over?
Terry: Pretty frequently when businesses grow organically from small startups, there can be some old, ‘good enough’ policies that end up sticking around even after a shop becomes established. You wrote in our initial conversations that you wanted your company to move from ‘management by Jim and his Gang’ to running ‘correctly with procedures and policies’. What kind of policies did you find needed changing the most, and what new policies have you put together to get to those correct procedures?
Erich: Policy changes and personnel issues can be tough, especially when there’s a handing over of the reigns; how have existing staffers handled the changes, and what challenges have you faced in putting these changes in place? How is your father reacting to your initiatives? What are you doing to help get folks on-board and to make sure new hires know how to operate?
Terry: Shops can get comfortable, not only in the way they handle their people, but even in production methods and equipment. Have you taken any steps to update your production line, and if so, has it made a difference?
Erich: Production is important, especially with an existing customer base still coming in throughout the process of updating your shop, but when you want to grow, it’s all about marketing. We’ve seen some cool things you are doing with packaging and social media marketing; What have you changed about your marketing, and how has it affected your sales?
Terry: With longstanding businesses like yours, sometimes the customer base is as used to the old practices as everybody inside the shop; have you had to make changes to pricing or customer service procedures? How were the changes received?
Erich: Is there anything else you’d like to share about the process of updating a family shop? What resources have helped you as you’ve been working on these new goals?
Terry: Thank you for coming on the show, Erik! Where can people find you and Northwest Custom Apparel?
Erik Mickelson is the operations manager at Northwest Custom Apparel and Embroidery with an education in business administration, but you may know him as a frequent contributor in industry social media groups such as Screen Print Marketing, where he’s been sharing his progress in bringing the 41-year-old company started by his father Jim into current and correct procedures and policies.
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- Aaron’s Online Video Series “Small Business Saturdays” #SBSVideos Every Saturday Morning
- Erichcampbell.com – Printwear Magazine in the states or Images Magazine if you happen to be in the UK.
- Complete Screen Printing Business Course – Workhorse Products in Phoenix – July 21-22
- Operation Sublimation, Mission: Wide-Format Graphics – Mimaki USA in Suwanee, GA – August 14-16
- Complete Screen Printing Business Course – Atlas Screen Supply in Chicago – Aug. 18-19
- Screen Print Master Class: Stepping Up to the Next Level – Phoenix, AZ – Aug. 25-26
- ASI Chicago – July 25-26, 2018
- NBM Long Beach, CA – August 2-4, 2018
- NNEP Nashville – August 17-18, 2018
- NBM Secaucus, NJ – August 24-25, 2018
- ISS Orlando – September 6-8, 2018
- NBM Indianapolis – September 13-15, 2018
- ISS Ft. Worth, TX – September 27-29, 2018
- SGIA Expo – Las Vegas, NV – October 18-20, 2018
- NBM Charlotte, NC – November 2-3, 2018
This show is brought to you for a full hour by:
Specialty Graphics Imaging Association – SGIA will continually strive to be the foremost resource for information and education within the specialty imaging industry. SGIA supports the digital and screen printing community in the USA and Canada by providing services and activities specific to their interests. While the majority of SGIA services and activities are specific to US and Canada, SGIA will continue to partner with national and regional associations around the globe to continually develop the international community. The SGIA National Affiliation Program brings together a multinational community to enhance awareness and encourage the exchange of information. Supporting the Leaders of the Digital and Screen Printing Community
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SubliSource – Sublimation just got easier with the launch of sublisource.com, the new US distributor for Best Sublimation. Our mission is to help our partners grow with a different way of doing business compared to all the “Me too” distributors in the United States.
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