(as of Sep 17,2021 22:36:24 UTC – Details)
The Ann Arbor T-shirt Company is composed of dozens of artists, screen printers, art techs, logistics professionals, embroiderers, and support staff, all operating out of Ann Arbor, Michigan (about 40 miles west of Detroit).
We give our employees subsidized healthcare, a 401k match, company soccer and kickball teams, catered employee lunches, and quarterly company parties around town. While we believe in treating our employees with respect as a matter of course, it makes business sense, too. Happy people make better shirts – cooler art, higher quality prints, more exacting quality control, etc.
From top to bottom, our people are proud of the product we produce, and cannot wait to share it with you. If you ever find yourself in Ann Arbor, stop in for some coffee and a tour – we’d love to show you how we make our stuff!
Some woodworking humor in an expertly applied and cured screen print on a soft, smooth men’s t-shirt. Printed with pride and gratitude in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
So what went into this?
Our illustrators and designers create the artwork
Art techs convert the art into component screens (which were made of silk in the old days, hence “screen printing” or “silk screening”)
Skilled screen printers and their apprentices apply ink through the screens. We use top of the line M&R carousel presses manufactured in Illinois
Our warehouse team checks quality, bags, and boxes the apparel for shipment to fulfillment centers across the country
Where is my shirt made?
When you buy one of our shirts, your money is flying all around the country. The percentages vary between products as input prices fluctuate (and a small percent of our catalogue is fully imported), but for the most part, it looks something like this:
Ann Arbor, MI – Design, Printing, & Production- 35%Seattle, WA – Advertising & Platform Fees – 22%Cincinnati, OH – Apparel Distributor – 6%Atlanta, GA – Shipping & Logistics – 4%Roselle, IL – Printing Presses & Equipment – 4%Texas & Southwest US – Cotton Farming – 4%Toluca, Mexico – Fabric Sewing – 3%Pineville, NC – Screen Printing Inks – 1%
Screen printing is like cooking: it’s not rocket science, but it’s really easy to screw up if you cut corners or use sub-par ingredients. That’s why we…
Hire, train, and retain skilled professionals
We have internal apprentice and educational programs that result in screen printing professionals with a thorough understanding of how ink chemistry, curing heats, and apparel fibers all interplay. Getting the combinations wrong can result in crooked prints, faded inks, or scratchy shirt fabric.
Use top notch inks
We pay a bit more for top shelf inks because they are worth it! QCM inks are better for the environment (one of the first ink companies to go phthalate free), more vibrant, and last longer than the cheap stuff.
Invest in the best equipment
Our screen printing presses and support equipment are engineered and manufactured by M&R in Roselle, Illinois. Having the best tools allow our printers to move faster with less waste, allowing us to create high quality products at a lower cost, which we pass to you!
MICHIGAN ARTISTS & PRINTERS | this design was drawn and screen printed (silk screened) with pride by our skilled illustrators and printers in Ann Arbor. If you’re ever in the area, stop by for a free tour and see how we make your apparel! Tagless tag is printed on fabric inside collar, you can’t feel it.
UNISEX MODERN FIT SIZING | this shirt is slightly tapered to be a little less boxy than the old style of mass-market t-shirt. Nothing drastic, and most people wear the same size in our shirts as they do in all of their others, but you might go one size larger if you’re on the fence. It is pre-shrunk, but like any high-cotton product, will still shrink slightly in the wash. Our model photos are the real thing – the actual shirt on our salesguy, Rich. He’s 6′ 2″, 200 lbs and wearing a large
SOFT FABRICS | Our shirts are a ringspun, 30/1 fine jersey knit on 100% USA-grown cotton. If you don’t speak t-shirt geek, that means they are soft and smooth with a high thread-count, tight knit made out of fuzzy plants grown by American farmers. These are mid-weight shirts – a bit lighter than your mass-market, thick gym class t-shirts, but substantial / not see-through. It’s a nice balance between comfort and durability
TOP QUALITY INKS | We use QCM screen printing inks, manufactured in Pineville, North Carolina. These are high quality inks – vibrant and durable, and highly crack resistant. Some of our designs are intentionally faded or cracked (see product photos), but our inks always “do what they are told” by our printers. We use top of the line printing presses and ovens (to cure inks) made by M&R in Illinois
SAFE CHEMISTRY | QCM has been one of the most forward-thinking ink manufacturers in the industry, going phthalate-free over ten years ago – way ahead of the curve. They’re also CFC free and rated as carcinogen-free by the state of California