Colorado Avalanche Hockey wouldn’t be what it is without their number one fan, Cam Dollen (AvsFam). His primary business is hockey. Actually, I think that’s all he does. This man lives, sleeps and dreams hockey. You would think he was associated with the #AvsFamily. Nope, he just loves them.
Just so you know, Cam doesn’t do interviews but when his “favorite Allmade team member” reached out begging and pleading, he couldn’t resist. Since he was doing me a solid, I asked him to meet me at the ice rink where he likes to spend most of his days.
Cam, do you have a favorite Allmade color to print on?
Darker shirts for sure. We are mostly a fanwear company for the Colorado Avalanche hockey team so not only do the colors need to be similar to theirs but using a color story that is similar to another team is blasphemy. People wear the shirts to tell a story about who they are and what they belong to. In this case, it's very specific to Hockey in Colorado.
Do you have a favorite ink that you use on Allmade?
All of our inks are Plastisol based because we don't have as much clean-up to do. We run the same screens for a while and will be lazy sometimes and just leave the ink on the screen overnight. That said, as we become better printers and hopefully have better equipment, we'd like to explore water-based ink for the added softness in the print and because we know it’s better for the environment and the person wearing the shirt.
Do you discharge? If so, how well do Allmade tees discharge?
No, not anymore, but when I worked at Graphic Elephants and in my time working with them since, we did a ton of R&D work with discharge. They are my plan for scaling if I ever have to and I've pondered having them print some discharge work for me on these shirts. So, I'd love to know what feedback you get.
(The feedback we share with our customers is: Given our blend, we give our Dischargeability a B+ rating, due to 50% poly content. This rating is based on our internal testing, in addition to feedback from several other customers.)
On a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the best, how well do Allmade shirts print?
A 5 for sure. Just so you know, I've printed on Next Level, Anvil, Bella Canvas and a hand full of blends. I print with a light-hand and often reduce for the look but also to keep the balance of ink to shirt just right, so it doesn't' feel like something on the shirt, but a part of the shirt. The Allmade Tri-Blends are the perfect balance. They are also just thick enough for me to sneak an inside print that doesn't show through the shirt.
Can you tell me what you like about printing on Allmade?
Technically they print as well as anything I've used but my favorite part is actually the blend. The Tri-Blend by its nature is subtly heathered, and with my light-handed style of printing, they bring some complexity to the finished shirt. My designs are simple and classic in shape because they are the focal point but the color story that surrounds it and, in my case, shows through it, is what makes it interesting. It brings texture and refinement. It doesn't look generic in its full solids.
Are there other benefits to printing on Allmade that we can share with our customers?
Yes, the philosophy! We love to know where our shirts come from and who made them. That story is literally woven into each shirt and we want to be able to tell it with pride. For those that don't care, cool by us. They still get a great shirt that makes them happy. For those who do care, it's 100% hippie and free of the bad stuff. It's made with materials that are the best possible answer at this moment in time. They are an example of innovative ideas that you can wear.
Now, to the nitty gritty, what’s your least favorite aspect of printing on Allmade?
The smalls are really small. Like the rest of the line they run small and when a small shirt runs small it has to be stretched on the pallet, or you have to swap pallets to print the small shirt. I only print my own work and I'm just not set up to swap things out.
Do you find that the shirts shrink after printing?
They do, a little. I've only tested the Unisex XL, but it got a bit tighter for sure. It's a big concern for me right now because I'm transitioning from Next Level shirts that don't run as small and they don't shrink quite as much. So, I really have two variations for each size, and I can't give my customers solid fit details.
I know we sent you a couple samples when you were first deciding if you wanted to add Allmade as a part of your brand offerings. Did you hear back from your customers?
Yeah, we tested Allmade shirts with our best customers and the feedback has been great. The most common feedback is: "It's so soft!" We've had a few "I wore it two days in a row because I didn't want to take it off." We also get a lot of "My girlfriend stole my shirt!"
How do your customers respond to printed Allmade tees?
This is where we geek out. We don't really even consider ourselves to be a t-shirt company. Making a great shirt that is eco-awesome and looks great is just the cover charge at the door. We're all about the experience. We want our shirts to be the shirt a person imagines themselves in at the end of a long day of work and when they are in their happy place. The shirt they never throw out, even if it's been washed so many times it's falling apart. The shirt a girl steals from her boyfriend. The shirt you wear under your business clothes. The shirt you never leave at home when you travel. It has to feel like 1000 warm hugs every time they put it on. It's that important to us to design an experience that includes that.
Just curious, what’s your favorite shirt to print on?
The quality of a shirt is hugely important to a small company like me who has a small customer base. The shirts feel like they are made from clouds, the cut is very flattering yet forgiving and the length is just right. But when the thread is sloppy it just makes all of that go away. The shirts look like they are going to come apart at the hems. Or, that it was produced cheaply. I see a little more of this than I'd like to in the orders I've had so far. We spend a fair amount of time looking for them and trimming them off. But it worries me that I'll start seeing pictures of people saying their shirt is falling apart with pictures on Twitter... I hate that so much. I love what you are doing and think it's temporary. That you're still a start-up of sorts and that it'll be addressed.