US company 1350 Custom Apparel has created screen printed ‘shirt kits’ for kids to decorate at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Based in North Carolina, the garment decoration company had recently opened a retail store in March 2020, selling its own branded custom apparel and gifts. Jeff Schafer, co-owner and founder of 1350, said: “It was a heck of a time to open a new store because the Covid-19 pandemic found its way to our area just a week later. 

“Shortly after we had our soft opening, our state governor ordered our retail doors to be closed to public sales. Naturally that hurt our bottom line, so we started brainstorming ways to continue to pay the bills.

“My wife Felicia thought up the idea to offer shirts and towels that children could colour on, and at least keep their minds busy for a little bit while their schools are temporarily shut down.”

Jeff explained that they initially screen printed a basic Easter egg design with six different egg designs on each shirt, and started advertising them on social media. 

“The shirts were instantly a hit and our customers started asking for other designs, too. We have since sold shirts with dinosaurs, princesses, dogs, cats etc on them, and the customers are loving them! 

“Each shirt is sold with three fabric markers for the children to use. I really feel that is the deal-breaker for this idea – I don’t think the shirts would’ve sold so well if we weren’t including them,” he explained.

“Most customers will make the purchase if it’s simple, and offering a ‘shirt kit’ was definitely the way to go versus just selling a shirt that parents still had to buy markers to complete the project.

Jeff and Felicia’s children have also been decorating the T-shirts

“I would recommend other businesses offer the shirt kit deal – not just a shirt that can be coloured. Keep in mind that typical markers children have at home will wash out of fabric, so be sure to sell fabric markers.”

Jeff and Felicia started their business under the company name, City Screen Impressions, after retiring from the United States Army.

“We initially started off with just a single-head embroidery machine and a small screen printing press, and were working out of our basement at home. In 2016, we retired from the army, and as business at home had grown so much, we took out our first lease on a commercial location.

“We also decided it was time to rebrand our company to something that had more of a patriotic meaning behind it; thus 1350 was born ­– in its simplicity, 1350 represents our nation’s flag, which displays 13 stripes and 50 stars.”

Jeff added if their shirt kits prove popular, they will continue to make them.

“We will happily sell shirts that you can decorate for your birthday, holiday, bar mitzvah, or whatever the occasion.”