August 13, 2014
CustomInk: Where Printing T-shirts is About People
The t-shirt is now 102 years old—and it’s been an exciting and transformative ride for this American icon.
First introduced by the U.S. Navy in 1913, crewneck t-shirts were issued to soldiers to be worn under their uniforms. Just shy of 30 years later is record of one of the earliest printed t-shirts, which bore the name of the Air Corps Gunnery School in Las Vegas and appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine.
Custom printed t-shirts have become the mainstay for business promotions, social activities, charity events and individual expression—and the custom apparel market has grown to a $5 billion industry.
CustomInk, a 2012 newcomer to Reno, launched its online custom t-shirt design website in 2000, offering tools for anyone to design a custom t-shirt. Fourteen years later, the company had sold more than 50 million shirts and now employs more than 1,000 nationwide.
Just over 400 of those jobs are located in Reno, where the company has already outgrown two locations. CustomInk now occupies two sizeable buildings—one on Gateway Drive and the newest location on Longley Lane.
CustomInk’s Reno-based operations include sales, service and customer care along with printing, production and shipping. With locations in three states across the nation, CustomInk is only a two-day shipping time to most U.S. destinations.
Be one of the first to see behind-the-scenes at this innovating and energetic company.
- Tour CustomInk’s brand new production center. Hear an overview of the proprietary web-based t-shirt design interface that starts the printing process.
- Hear about the customer care process that escorts the customer through the design process and the design staff that ensures the designs are prepared for the printing process.
- Learn how screen printing has changed, yet is still quite hands-on and observe the company’s new digital printing operations.
- Meet a few of the “inkers” (staff members) who keep the process rolling.
- Feel the great atmosphere this company has created for its employees.
Even more striking than the company’s sophisticated use of technology is the feel of its work environment. Clearly focused on people, the space is clean and bright—decorated in CustomInk’s signature orange, red and white colors with each employee’s name plate including a color photo of that employee. The space is open and airy and gives every desk access to daylight.
It is clear that CustomInk’s owner, Marc Katz, wants this company to have a nice work environment. Although its headquarters is in Virginia, the company feels more like a Silicon Valley startup—offering a catered lunch one day per week and a snack—such as a yogurt bar—on another day of the week. Vending machines dispense free healthy snacks and fresh fruit is delivered several times per week. The buildings include fun amenities, such as a workout room, a break area with some game equipment—such as Dance Dance Revolution—and a tv, a Serenity Room for nursing mothers.
The company also offers benefits, life insurance, and a 401(k) plan with company matching. Not to mention, plenty of free t-shirts!
Truly the company philosophy about following the golden rule, ownership and innovation plays out through more than the way customers and employees are treated. It also extends to the community through the Three Hearts Initiative—so named because an octopus (the company’s logo and mascot) has three hearts. This charitable giving and community relations division of the company is active and engaged in giving back.
It’s no surprise that CustomInk has won recognition nationwide, as a great place to work, as well as for its innovation and rapid growth.
Read NCET’s column in the Reno Gazette-Journal on August 3 to learn more about this remarkable company’s unique culture.
Don’t miss Tech Wednesday on August 13 for a tour of CustomInk’s new production operations.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 5:30 – 7:30
- $15 – NCET members
- $25 – General admission
- $10 – children under 18 accompanied by parent or adult guardian
NCET events have been selling out! RSVP early so you don’t miss this great event.
4855 Longley Lane
The fine print:
- Advance reservations required. RSVP by 5:00 pm on Monday, August 11.
- We encourage you to pay in advance—there is a $10 service charge for payment at the door.
- No-shows will be charged the full amount of the reservation unless cancelled at least 48 hours before the event.
For more information, contact NCET at (775) 453-0130 or info@NCET.org.
|Photography courtesy of
||Videography courtesy of