There are so many challenges these days, when trying to navigate running a St. Louis embroidery and screen printing company. Just when you think you have things figured out, the world changes yet again. Just a little less than two and a half years ago things were going along just fine and then Covid 19 reared its ugly head and changed the world as we know it.
Our business like so many others was greatly affected because so much of our overall workload is event-related, such as Muscular Dystrophy runs and Cancer Survivor walks as well as golf tournaments for trying to raise money for well deserving causes. This all came to a screeching halt not long after the virus showed up and people were scared out of their minds. So many businesses were shutting down such as restaurants as people were afraid to congregate in fear of contracting this nasty bug. Then all of a sudden there was a vaccine and people started to get a little bit more confident and started attending sporting events and other public gatherings and our business started to pick up like so many others. At that point, we started to get our confidence back as things were starting to turn back to normal or at least a small sense of what used to be normal, and then we had an election.
Soon after that, we got hit with the new set of challenges, one being the supply chain crisis. This pretty much affected every business in the country that relies on using imported goods such as ours does. What used to take 5 minutes to locate t-shirts now can take up to a couple of hours and then five minutes later after finding them, they’re gone again. This blank apparel is sitting on cargo ships in containers that are not being unloaded in a timely manner and causing great backups at our ports that receive such product. Two years ago we didn’t have the customer base and then not long after we got that back, we couldn’t get the blank goods needed to fulfill orders.
A friend of mine who also owns a St Louis digital t-shirt printing company ordered a brand new digital press. When he first bought it, they told him he would be receiving it within a couple weeks and the next thing you know, 3 months went by and he still hadn’t received his machine. It finally showed up last week. I can’t express how frustrating it is to have a customer call in for an order and not be able to find the blank t-shirts in order to fulfill it.
I’ve been in business for myself pretty much my whole adult life and I’ve never witnessed anything quite like this regarding what’s known as the supply chain crisis which is made worse due to Covid. To sum it up, running a St Louis embroidery and custom screen-printing company in this current economic environment, it’s not for the faint of heart.