In 1987, Tom Vann started a screen printing business, named Target Screen Printing, in his parents’ basement in Naperville, Illinois, while attending the College of DuPage for commercial illustration. He went on to complete two associates degrees, but rather than become a commercial artist, he found himself immersed in business.
In 1990 he changed the business name to Target Graphics and gradually built a strong presence in the promotional product industry. In 1997, the company was sold to an investor with Tom at the helm to operate the business as if it were his, which he did with gusto. By the early 2000's, Target Graphics was a major player in the contract printing world. Tommy was no stranger to the trade show circuit, with many distributors fondly remembering his guitar playing and other antics at ASI and PPAI shows. He would dress up as a cowboy or Willie Wonka for many morning ASI Keynote Presentations and could be found giving away $100 bills to lucky distributors found wearing his Full Color promotional t-shirts on the tradeshow floor. Many will remember him as Tommy T-Shirt. Tommy set the course to becoming a contract screen-printing company that exclusively services promotional products distributors. He transformed a basement business into a Multi-Million Dollar Powerhouse. In 2009, Tommy parted ways with Target Graphics, now Target Decorated Apparel. It was a great run.
Today, Tommy and his wife Ellen are in the next stage of their lives with Tommy's T-Shirt Factory. Always an innovator & tinkerer from the first day, his passion continues for “finding a better way”, whether it is a printing technique or a unique way of serving customers. Full Color Process screen-printing has always been his passion and he continues to refine the techniques he learned and developed over two decades. It is a great joy for him to see the faces light up while teaching the methods to his production team.
The vision for today and the future is efficiency through technology. This is especially important with order processing. In 2010, Tommy jumped into an internet ordering system head first. It was rough in the beginning, but the original crude programming has developed tremendously. Tommy's T-Shirt Factory is focused on providing an online solution for ordering 'One Stop' decorated apparel, as well as, contract screen-printing. Distributors need to be selling while suppliers are producing. Buying printed and embroidered apparel from one source just makes sense, when you consider the time saved.
What Tommy wanted to do was offer blank products at cost or near cost with decorating. To do this required 'Three Main Ingredients' - Effecient Production Facilities, a Killer Ordering System, and Lots of Work. It's happening NOW. Tommy's has an online ordering system, whereby a distributor can select a garment and upload their customers artwork for screen-printing, digital printing or embroidery, including contract work. Customers can access their order history 24/7. Communications are extremely slick with quotes, order confirmations, proofs and shipping confirmations.
Imagine this. Whether you enter an order online or have Tommy do it for you, you receive an emailed .pdf order confirmation that shows you a 'Virtual Proof' of the garment and decorating, all the necessary order details, and the shipping cost. You can also view it online. Then when the order ships, you receive a shipping confirmation & invoice with all the tracking links you need. And of course, you have real people behind it that will happily accept your purchase orders if you do not want to order online. Its a great thing.