By Audrey Hertel
May 14, 2019
When Shirts 101 began in 1994, it was a family-run business located inside of Awards Unlimited with the desire to make quality apparel and promotional products for its clients. Today, Shirts 101’s ambition remains the same, but the company now resides in a larger building complete with offices, a showroom, a warehouse for production tasks and 30 staff members with an eagerness to give back to the community.
The Lincoln-based company specializes in embroidery, screen printing and heat and press vinyls, promotional products and graphic design, and this year marks its 25 anniversary. In celebration of the milestone, the company will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on Thursday at its current location, 2630 N. 27th St.
Amy Holman, the current operations manager of Shirts 101, joined the company in 1995 and came back in 2014 after moving away for nine years. Since the beginning of Shirts 101, Holman said she has seen a growth in the company’s products due to new technology in printing and embroidery.
Although technology plays a large role in the production of Shirts 101’s merchandise, the employees are the driving force behind the creation of it. According to Holman, working at Shirts 101 is like working with family.
“We always say we’re like a big family,” she said. “We definitely have rules and those kind of things, but you’ll normally hear laughter throughout the building.”
And the cohesive working environment isn’t the only communal connection Shirts 101 fosters. The company also forms a connection with the clients it makes merchandise for and the community that invests in it.
Shirts 101 strives to give back, according to Holman. The company achieves this ambition by donating shirts and sponsoring local businesses and organizations, and each year around Christmas, Shirts 101 has their employees bring various items to donate to three charities of their choice.
“We always want to be the company that’s giving back to people,” Holman said. “And I think that it’s important to give back to our community because people invest in us also.”
Shirts 101 will also give back at its ribbon cutting ceremony this Thursday by offering a free tour and shirts to attendees of the event.
Holman said she is looking forward to the 25-year celebration and is proud she works for Shirts 101 as it is constantly growing and isn’t stagnant in it’s market. Holman reflected on how being a part of a team is the most rewarding part of working for Shirts 101.
“I’m most proud of how we work as a team, how we really are a big family. I’m definitely proud of the people that I work for,” she said. “Because our employees like where they work, and it’s a good environment, everyone is willing to work hard and go out of their way. Everyone’s willing to do any job.”
Over the past 25 years, Shirts 101 has established itself as a company determined to meet the needs of its clients through the products it produces. Holman said she hopes the company will continue to grow and leave an impact on the community.
“I hope that we’re seen as a company that does care about the community, that is willing to go the extra mile and help people out if they need help,” she said. “I want us to be seen as a company that gives back.”
This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the work of some of KZUM’s underwriters.
Audrey Hertel is a multimedia intern with KZUM.