lots &
lots &
lots &
lots of printing

If I had to sum up this year of Trust in one word, it would be “busy”. Busyness is a funny word and a funny concept, ultimately it’s what you want for your business, but when you’re deep in the throes of busyness, all you can think about is getting a break. It’s certainly better than the alternative—at least that’s what you tell yourself when you’re staring down another late night or another early morning shift—but busyness brings a whole host of challenges and hurdles, like exhaustion, lack of focus, degradation of mood, and eventually burnout. This year Trust experienced “busy” like never before. We got to see it from all sides: the pain, the excitement, the trials, the accomplishment, the struggle, and the reward.

The first factor that led us here was the decision to sell one of our four presses and replace it with a tag press, a smaller machine that would cost less and produce more. Unfortunately, the manufacturer was unable to make a press that fit our needs, and eventually pulled out of the deal entirely. This left us with a hole at press 4 and without the flexibility to scale up with our work as we hit our busy season.

The second factor was an unfortunate streak of team members moving on from Trust. It’s always bittersweet to see people move on to new opportunities, but this year it also left us without some of our most experienced printers and leaders in production. We were slowly able to bring on new team members, but hiring and training are long processes, and the work never slowed down.

A graph of Trust's sales growth from 2018 to 2019 A graph of Trust's sales growth from 2018 to 2019

In fact, the work just kept speeding up. The one constant of 2019 was that the work kept coming. It was a triumphant year for our sales team, a team formed two years ago with zero experience who have become very good at this. We won the business of big, exciting customers that fit well with us and sold a lot of garments. It was also a great year for our repeat customers. We had more than 50 less “new customers” this year than in 2018, but the ones we did get and the ones we already had did huge things.

In the end, 2019 was a big, exciting year for Trust that we weren’t prepared for. It was our biggest year ever, up 13% in sales from 2018, but we fought through with fewer presses and fewer people. We overworked ourselves, which isn’t ideal, but we got through it! The shirts got printed, the hats got embroidered, and we’re standing strong. 2019 was a lot, but it didn’t kill us, and we’ve never been stronger.

This year we printed 426,390 garments. We used 580 gallons of ink and shipped out 5,443 boxes. We completed 2,687 orders for $3.4 million in sales and we added a very exciting 150 new customers to our family.

stitches on
stitches on
stitches on
stitches

While our print business was booming, we decided to add a whole second wing to Trust and embark on a journey into embroidery. It’s been a goal of ours for a while, and we were finally able to find the right machine and software to take the plunge and learn the process. Embroidery is totally different than printing, so we had to rethink everything from order processing to quality control to pricing. It was a challenging project for our team that was already stretched very thin, but it was a chance to do what we’re best at here at Trust: solving problems with patience and perseverance.

Embroidered hats for Fort Worth Locals Embroidered hats for Fort Worth Locals Embroidered hats for Fort Worth Locals Embroidered hats for Fort Worth Locals

We didn’t have any formal training, so we found every resource we could online and began a long trial and error process. We created designs for ourselves to digitize and began to explore stitch types, underlays, and push/pull compensation. We hit a few roadblocks and we broke a couple needles (and a ton of thread), but before long we were producing well-stitched hats, beanies, and shirts. We still have a lot to learn, and there’s still a little too much “error” in our “trial and error”, but in the 7 months since we launched embroidery we’ve sent out 2,985 stitched garments that we are really proud of.

Machine embroidering a Trust hat. Machine embroidering a Trust hat. Machine embroidering a Trust hat. Machine embroidering a Trust hat.

a new look
a new look
a new look
a new look

The rebrand of Trust really started in 2018. After 10 years of one consistent logo and an unfocused brand built piece by piece over the years, we felt the pull for something new. A long and thoughtful strategy and design process led us to “the empty screen”, a strong and flexible logo with a great set of complementary elements that have helped us fill out an exciting and cohesive brand for ourselves. A new focus on illustration and animation with repeated style and elements has brought the brand to life, and a new color palette evokes the goals and the feeling of Trust instead of the literal colors of screen printing.

The new Trust Printshop logo.
An icon of an ink drop
An icon of screen mesh
An icon of halftones
An icon of a squeegee
An icon of a lowercase 't'
An icon of a graphic design tool
An icon of an ink bucket
An icon of a t-shirt
An icon of a registration mark
An icon of a press
An icon of a figure
An icon of a pantone book
A set of illustrations
A set of illustrations
A set of alternate Trust logos with illustration
A set of alternate Trust logos with illustration

ok
ok
ok
oklahoma dreamin'

Even in the midst of the storm, we took some time to slow down and spend time as a family. Trust rented us an awesome set of cabins in Broken Bow, OK where we spent a few wonderful days and nights together soaking in the nature and the camaraderie. A kayak trip, wonderful home-cooked meals, and late night hot-tubbing highlighted a weekend of bonding and relaxation with our team members and their families.

It’s become an annual tradition to spend at least a weekend together away from home. Just like in previous years, when we think back on 2019 at Trust, I imagine what we will remember most is the time we spent north of the Texas border.

Matt and Abbi canoeing down a river
A panoramic image of a small waterfall and a river. A panoramic image of a small waterfall and a river. A panoramic image of a small waterfall and a river. A panoramic image of a small waterfall and a river.
Matt reading a book on the back porch with Sherman the dog.
A group of friends at the river
Lounging in a hammock by the river.
Abbi walking across rocks next to the river
Children huddled up on the couch with snacks.
The Trust team preparing to embark on a canoe and kayak trip. The Trust team preparing to embark on a canoe and kayak trip. The Trust team preparing to embark on a canoe and kayak trip. The Trust team preparing to embark on a canoe and kayak trip.

family
family
family
family

Our Trust family changed a lot this year. 9 people left and 8 joined, but it has always felt like Trust. Our leadership, our philosophies, and our core values have kept us producing beautiful, quality work for our customers, and our warm, fun-loving people have kept us all smiling, even through the busyness.

The Trust team on the 4th of July
Marc and Maisy playing in a small pool
A group of friends enjoying some food and drinks.
Sherman the dog dressed up as a doctor for Halloween
A group of people all dressed up for Halloween
Alt Text!
Alt Text!

look
look
looking
looking forward

Where do we go from here? We don’t want to be stretched as thin as we were in 2019, but we also want to keep growing. That means expanding and improving, growing our team and empowering each team member to produce more with less wasted energy. In 2019 we rebranded, added embroidery, and re-structured production. We have no major changes like that lined up for next year, so 2020 will be about optimization, perfecting the things that we put into place in 2019 and pushing to new (more sustainable) heights.

This year was tough and chaotic, but we worked hard and set a strong foundation to build on in 2020.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men go oft awry”

- To a Mouse by Robert Burns

Trust's 2020 goals

  • $4 million in sales
  • 4 strong full-time press teams
  • 150 more new customers
  • Building a new embroidery room

thank
thank
thank
thank you
thank you
thank you
thank you for reading!
Have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year!