blood, sweat, and tears

We opened our St. Louis facility in 2016 in a small, 7500 square foot space, with 1 automatic and 1 manual press. Growing a new business in a new market definitely was challenging for us along with Kyle, our operating partner. Identifying the best supporting employees was an ongoing job, along with the newness of these responsibilities. Kyle was joined a few months into this new venture by Gabrielle, who had left her previous job as a graphic designer at a local competitor. She was looking for change and decided to give this a shot. The two of them had much to learn in terms of working together and managing this new business.

Jay would make monthly visits to work with and mentor them, helping with the typical issues that would arise. Kyle would often times arrive at 4 AM to get a head start on their work, always fearful of not completing it on time. His care and concern were a driving force behind their success and loyalty from their customers. All of their customers loved working with Gabby and her cheerful manner. Many months were non-stop, 7 days a week, to do whatever was needed to stay on top of work. After 18 months, we made a decision to expand with the purchase of a building nearby. This allowed them to add capacity with more equipment in each department and space to organize. They really started to grow and show promise with a stable team helping them produce.

In addition to Kyle’s drive for success was his wife, Amber, who also has had many outstanding accomplishments in her field of Bio Sciences. She has quickly become a leading force, passing on multiple opportunities to grow within her organization, locally and Internationally. Amber’s growth inevitably would mean a move somewhere around the world. In order to achieve this, Kyle would need the flexibility to support her and we all agreed that we needed to relieve him of his responsibilities, sooner than later. The void his absence would bring created an enormous challenge for us, with the rebuilding of the management team there. We therefore agreed that the best option would be to close down their business.

This decision has been absolutely bittersweet and we appreciate how well our leads in St. Louis received the news when Jay met with them. They have all found new opportunities already and though, they won’t have the same culture Kyle and Gabby created, they will do well and continue to excel. Thank you for these past four years.

Visual Impressions St. Louis Moves into New Expanded Facility

Kyle Petersen and Gabrielle Kohlmann have worked very hard in their first two years as our team building our sister facility in St. Louis, MO. Kyle has been with Visual Impressions for almost 5 years and previously ran a smaller facility for one of our customers for over 10 years. He brings a work ethic and drive for the highest quality product and service to St. Louis like no other screen print company. Gabrielle previously worked in graphic design in the local market and we were fortunate to discover her shortly after opening in 2016.

2 years later into our endeavor, space became an issue and we made the plunge and acquired our own 20,000 facility very close to our previous location. After much clean-up and beautifying, our new Warson Road address looks professional and updated for our next chapter. With this move, we added 2 more automatic presses, bringing our total to 4 autos and 2 manuals. Enough equipment to be a formidable supplier, they can now handle larger opportunities and employ over 15 qualified individuals. We have also added a fully automated packaging line for polybagging, which is especially helpful with larger retail orders or customers who need UPC labels on the packaging.

Welcome Tom Robinson as our Chief Operating Officer

We are very proud to formally introduce Tom as our new COO at Visual Impressions. He brings a wealth of screen print and digital graphic knowledge to our facility. Tom was always our first call when we were challenged with a job in production in the past. We have had a long relationship spanning over 16 years prior to him joining our management team.

He has been in the screen print industry in production and facility management in his earlier years to a long career as a top leader in sales of consumables and equipment in our industry. With all of his experiences, we feel fortunate to be surrounded by his wisdom everyday. Please stop in and say hello to him when in the neighborhood or reach out via email: [email protected].

Digital Printing Solves Problems

Close Up of DTG Print - Car on White Shirt

There has been many articles written expounding the virtues of digital garment printing over the years.  Most just discuss why it’s a good thing, or compare it to traditional screen-printing.  Not many articles are available discussing exactly what problems a DTG printer can solve though.

So, let’s address why using a digital printer could solve that tricky problem for you, and if you use Visual Impressions, make you more money with that order.

Tight Turn-times

Regardless of how many colors your image uses, using a digital printer to push that order out might be just the trick for those crazy rush ideas your client throws your way.  With traditional screen-printing, there is a production delay as the art has to be approved, and then the screens burned, washed out, dried and made ready to register on press.

With digital, we can handle the art and get the shirts printing with a push of a button.  When your client says “I need these shirts ASAP”, and you are scrambling to figure out how to get it handled…this is the perfect answer.

Photos on a T-shirt

Your client really wants to get that head shot enlarged and printed on a lime green t-shirt.  With any type of screen-printing you are faced with using halftones to replicate the image.  Halftones have that inherent quality problem though in that they are composed of a series of dots, and sometimes these don’t look so hot on a t-shirt when printed.

To make matters worse, occasionally other, less quality-minded  printers that don’t use computer direct to screen imaging systems can get a moiré pattern introduced, and that just never looks right.

Digital prints always make photographs look fantastic because they don’t use halftones as part of the printing process.  If you want to wow that customer, use digital printing instead of screening.  You won’t regret it.

Trade Show Product Shot

Your client is introducing that new gizmo at the next trade show and needs some t-shirts to give away.  How are you going to make that gizmo look fantastic on a t-shirt?  Digital of course.  Remember, there’s no halftones, so you can get a magazine quality photograph on the shirt.

Imagine the high-fives you’ll get when you pull that one off.

High Color Count, Low Order Volume

Fifteen color job for 24 shirts?  Sounds like a perfect DTG order.  Why?  Well, start counting screens and throw in those screen charges and it’s easy to see that either that art has to be drastically changed, the client disappointed, or someone is eating some of the cost.

That doesn’t have to happen…just print it digitally as there’s an unlimited color count as everything is printed CMYK.  Need one more shirt the following Tuesday because someone forgot to register for the event?

No problem.  We can whip one more out in no time, as the art is already saved on our printer server.

Managing Inventory for a Catalog Program

Don’t want to preprint a bunch of shirts and have to sit on that money?  Why not just do them digitally as needed and have them drop shipped to the end user?  Talk to us about what you need to help your customers, we can assist you in building a seamless program.



So How Does Digital Printing Work at Visual Impressions?

Simple.  Just like any other order, you would send us the art and Purchase Order for the job.  We’re on the PSST network with SanMar, alphabroder, and S&S so you can drop ship us the inventory for free.  We’ll put the order in and schedule the work.  The goods will be received and we’ll print your order and ship.  You’ll get an shipping tracking number automatically sent to you.

If you need help with art, pricing or just simply understanding this stuff we’re here for you.  Our job is to make you a success in the eyes of your client.

Want to see some examples of what we’re describing above?  Click here.

We use a state of the art Kornit Avalanche digital printer, and use a gas powered dryer to cure the inks on the shirt.  Like everything else at Visual Impressions, we do things with best industry practices and the utmost quality.

Want a quote or to learn more?  Click here.


Boost Your Sales Revenue with Contract T-shirt Printing

Auto Press Squeegee Stroke with Light Blue Ink

According to the December 2015 issue of Wearables Magazine, 2016 is going to be “the year of the t-shirt”.  So, if you are a promotional item sales person what exactly does that mean to you?

If you do it right, basically more money in your pocket.   Want to learn how?  Here are some tried and true methods that come across our shop on a daily basis:

Use a trendy shirt.

Right now that’s a heathered tri-blend.  The incredibly soft feel of this type of shirt, partnered with a creative piece of artwork can really get things going for you.  Want to really add some value?  Let us relabel the garment with a custom tag or neck print, and then polybag the shirt for easy distribution at that trade show or event for your customer.

?What else is trending right now? Performance t-shirts.  This is a tricky blank to print on, so if you’ve been burned before by a printer that didn’t know what they were doing…why not use the shop that other’s turn to for this type of job?

It’s all about the art.

Did we mention our team of rock star designers?  Let us loose with a creative direction and we can bang out some killer concepts that will win you orders.  All we really need is an in-depth conversation and some basics on what’s needed.  Add some creative ideas and shake.  Boom.  More sales for you this month.

Get funky.

We’re the experts at thinking things through and adding some pizzazz to your program.  Ever think about adding foil to your art?  What about a high density gel or other specialty ink idea?  Thinning the inks out for a softer or more retail look?  What about a side wrap placement or something off-center?  Funkify your customer’s look for something show-stopping that’s bound to get the smiles you want.

Sustainable Printing

These days your corporate clients are looking for ways to tighten up their supply chain by going “green”.  Has anyone reached out to you about this?  It’s more involved that just using a t-shirt made from recycled plastic water bottles.  Visual Impressions has worked hard to achieve their sustainability certification from the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership.  What does this mean to you?  The value is that we’re a trusted source to help you navigate these waters and guide your client into making better decisions.  Why stop short with just ordering an eco-t-shirt?  Why not use a sustainable printer too?

Click here to learn more about our sustainability program.

Custom finishing.

Sometimes there’s more to an order than just printing the shirt.  Folding, poly-bagging, hang-tagging and adding custom neck labels or hem tags are essential for some programs.  Want to add a retail ready, high-end value to your client’s orders?  Get some help solving the challenge with the A-Team that has the skills to make it easy.

Drop shipping.

Who has a distribution center anymore?  These days that 5,000 piece order has to be broken down into 1,473 drop ships from a spreadsheet.  Who is doing that pack out?  You?  Why not let the same pros that decorate the shirt handle the drop shipping program too?  We can send these out in your packaging, on your third party account, and still hit your deadlines.   Ssshhh.  We won’t tell anyone that you didn’t do it.  So while you are closing more deals, or rounding the back nine at the club…we’re getting that order ready to ship.

Multiple Production Locations

Our main 100,000 sq ft production facility is located in Milwaukee, WI.  We contract screen-print, digitally print and embroider apparel for promotional item distributors all over the United States.  Although we can handle just about anything thrown our way, we’ve also just opened up a 10,000 sq ft production facility in St. Louis, MO.  Our goal is to make it easier for you.

We’re on everyone’s major PSST list (Pack Separately Ship Together) – so if you order your goods from SanMar, alphabroder or S&S they will ship free into us in one day ground usually.


Want to see more?  Take a quick tour of Visual Impressions by checking out our Pinterest page – just Click Here.


If any of the above sounds like something that you’d like to partner with us on, please give us a shout and let’s get the party started!

(800) 291-8337




How Far Away is St. Louis From You?

Visual Impressions - Now Open in St LouisYou know why we are asking right?

We’re opening up our new production facility and we’d love to get some of your screen-printing orders in the door to try us out.

Maybe you’ve heard about the awesome screen-printed apparel services that Visual Impressions provides to our customers out of our Milwaukee production plant.  One of our key leadership gurus, Kyle Petersen, moved down to St. Louis and we’ve built a shop around him.  So now, that expert level of apparel decoration that you’ve come to expect from Visual Impressions, is now available 386 miles southwest of Milwaukee in St. Louis.

Maybe that’s closer to you.

Kansas City, Nashville, Louisville, Memphis, Indianapolis, and all points around in a circle…got something you need printed?  Give us a holler!  Kyle is ready to hit home runs for you!

Maybe you are in the St. Louis area too and aren’t happy with your local t-shirt printer?  We’d love to talk shop and demonstrate what we bring to the table.

Here’s how you can get the party started.  Call Jay Berman at (414) 586-5606 or e-mail him at [email protected].  He’d love to have a casual conversation about your printing needs and our plans for our St. Louis facility.

Making Connections at PPAI Expo 16

Visual Impressions - PromoKitchen Mixer T-shirt

If you missed us at PPAI Expo, that’s ok.  We were hard to catch.  Whether walking an average of 6+ miles a day at the show, enjoying a beverage while competing in the Rock, Paper, Scissors contest at the PromoKitchen Mixer on Monday, sitting in on the wonderful Seth Godin keynote, or making time to listen to new and existing customers plan for success for this year…it’s no wonder we didn’t connect.

All is not lost though.

Most of these conversations were based on some very similar refrains.  2016 looks to be a huge year for promotional item companies and everyone wants to know how we can help them push for greater success.  To recap, here is a list of the topics of conversations we had in Vegas this year.  We would be ecstatic to have a more detailed conversation with you today.

Just reach out.

Our new facility in St. Louis

Why bury the lead?

This is big news for a lot of our customers and we’re anxious to get it going.  Our slated started day for production will be February 2, 2016.  We’re running the order admin and art through our Milwaukee facility, so the same group of fantastic creative people will be handling your order.  We’ll just use the magic of technology to shoot the orders to St. Louis, and have the inventory shipped there beforehand.

This is a super exciting time, and we’d love to have an in-depth conversation on how our new Missouri production facility can help you grow your business.

Decorating Trends

Because we’re a high volume shop that focuses solely on servicing the promotional item community, we see a lot of great ideas come through the shop.  This is an advantage that we can give you, as we can work together to develop a creative brief for your customers to ensure their decorated apparel has that cutting edge look.  Want to see some?  Check out our Pinterest page for some action shots from around our shop.  Click here.

Need some ideas or artwork?  We have you covered.  Give us a well-written creative brief and stand back for some awesome ideas headed your way.

Digital Garment Decoration Makes a Big Impact

We use a Kornit Avalanche direct to garment printer every day for our customers.  This equipment provides the best in the industry production that you need.  Some promotional item customers that we’ve talked to have had mediocre to poor results with digital, as their print partners either just haven’t understood the capabilities of digital apparel print production, or they’ve invested in inferior equipment.

So how can you use this technology?

DTG printing works fantastic for high color, low volume print runs.  Because it’s digital, it doesn’t use halftones to replicate the image.  Photographs, product shots, and images with tiny details or textures look amazing.  The colors look brilliant and the print hand is soft on the shirt.

While a lot of our orders for our DTG department are under 50 pieces, it is not uncommon to run an order of 1000 or more for a customer that needs a high end image on the shirt.  You simply can’t get this level of detail with traditional screen-printing as that technology uses halftones.  Got a project where digital could work?  Call the experts and let us help you hit a home run for your customer.

Big Orders

With our massive Milwaukee, WI 100,000 sq foot facility and two shifts of production, we can turn your large order and meet your deadline.  We produce big orders for some of the largest promotional item companies in the business, and drop ship the orders all over the world for them.  Why send that order back to your distribution center when we can take your spreadsheet and do it for you at the point of production?  Our job is to take the headache of this type of production run away from you so you can naturally do other things.  Such as breathe easier.  We got this.

Post Production

Sure, anyone can print or embroider a shirt…but what about all those order details afterwards?  One of the great services that Visual Impressions provides is our ability to go the extra mile after production with our packaging department.  We can assemble multiple items and package them for distribution for you.  Our team handles orders that need relabeling or polybagging…and we know how these orders need to be scheduled so that they can still hit your deadlines.

Let’s discuss how we can make these types of programs easier for you.  This is a value add that you can wow your customers with every single day.

Inventory – We’re One Day Away

For major apparel distributors we’re usually only one day ground into Visual Impressions.  Not only that, but because we get a lot of companies ordering and sending their goods into us, we participate in the PSST programs for alphabroder, SanMar and S&S.  (Pack Separately, Ship Together)

This is a huge advantage for you.  Check out what that might mean to your bottom line if you are still paying for freight into your current decorator.

Customer Service – It’s How We Win Together

We’re here to help.  That’s our number one job…to make you a success by being your behind the scenes partner.  Whatever you need, just let us know and our expert customer service team can work out the details to help you scale your business.

Call us today!  (800) 291-8337 or e-mail [email protected]

Double Down On Awesomeness

So, it’s the new year and everyone is asking “Hey, are you going to set any major goals for this year?”

Of course we are.  But not just any old goal will do.  Sure, some apparel decorators might be happy with learning a new skill or improving a technology.  That’s great, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  We do that all the time too.

For the team at Visual Impressions though, it just doesn’t go far enough.  When we make a stretch goal, we want to shoot for the moon.  Our goal for 2016 is a doozy.

Which is why we are opening up a second production facility in a completely different state.  That’s right.  Now there will be two shops running for our customers!  Which leaves you asking the obvious question.

So where will it be?

Ssshhh!!  That’s the secret.

Currently, we’re busy building out the space, bringing in new equipment and supplies and hiring staff.  If this was a local space in the area, you might see the windows covered up with newspaper before the sign goes up and wonder, “What do you think they are going to do in there?”

You can’t do that online, so we’ll just leave you wondering.

In the meantime, let us know where YOU think our shop should open!  Maybe you’ll guess it right, or maybe your choice might be a good spot for our third facility…you never know.

More to follow…stay tuned!

Follow us on Twitter! 

What We Sell is Trust

Stack of Blue T-shirts

Maybe you are new to sourcing decorated apparel, or maybe you are a veteran salesperson with years under your belt.  Either way, we’re here to help you succeed.  We know you can give that PO to any decorator out there.  What sets us apart is how we approach things.

Over the years the crew at Visual Impressions has learned to do things the right way.  We’ve seen a lot of decorating and shirt style fads come and go, learned the hard way how to handle that complicated order, and helped our customers along the way navigate through growing their businesses.  We pride ourselves on learning new things every day.  Check out our Pinterest page and take a peek at our gang of creative ninjas hard at work in our 100,000 sq ft production facility: (Click Here)

Check out these nine things that makes us rockstar partners for you every day:

Customer Service

It’s not just a buzz word filled phrase, but actually something we enjoy.  Did your client just hand you a big challenge at the last minute and you need to pull it off to be a hero?  Do you need to print 10,000 t-shirts and drop ship them to 1,354 locations by the end of the month?  What about embroidering a custom backpack program and shipping them overseas to three different countries?  We’ve handled all that and more.

Our goal as your contract apparel decorator is to hit home runs for you daily.  When you hand off a job to us, you can be rest assured we’ll do whatever it takes to deliver on the expectations you’ve set with your client.

We’re experts at doing the right thing.

We know you need answers.  That’s why we are staffed with industry experts that have been around the block or two.  We’ll make you look good.  That’s our job.  Just let us know how we can help.

Shirts Ship To Us Free for Decoration

We’re leading members of PSST programs (Pack Separately Ship Together) from SanMar, alphabroder & S&S, and anything you order from them comes to us one day ground for free.  Just place your order with them as you normally would, and they will take care of the rest.


Got a big order and a deadline?  How about consistent orders for programs that are only a few dozen pieces, but you need to ship them 100% complete?  What about printing on red polyester, or maybe a fashion forward tri-blend?

We operate on two shifts with thirteen automatic presses and four manuals to maximize our production capabilities.  All M&R equipment.  Got a deadline you need to hit?  Pantone color to match?  Funky location to print?  Picky customer to satisfy?

Our expert crew won’t let you down, like your last printer.


Corporate logos, we love ’em!  Whether it is a company store fleece jacket program, logo’d uniforms, event merchandise or just a regular baseball hat order, our embroidery team excels in pleasing your customers.  All digitizing is handled in-house, so we can be assured it’s correct for our machines and the garments you’ve selected for your order.

We employ 105 heads of Barudan embroidery equipment on two shifts to sew excellence into your sales orders.

Digital Printing

We have one of the fastest Direct to Garment printing machines on the market in the Kornit Avalanche.  It can print on any color cotton substrate with brilliant white, amazing color and superb detail.

Maybe your last apparel printer had DTG capabilities, but you didn’t like the results.  The devil they say is in the details, but also in the equipment.  Let us show you the difference using the right printer can make.

We also preflight all of our images before sending them to the DTG to make sure that they will print well on the garment you have selected.

Heat Transfer

One of the best ways to handle a corporate catalog program is using pre-made heat transfers of the logo.  We usually make these ourselves ahead of time, and then as your order comes in for the client, we get the shirt and complete the process with a heat transfer.  It’s a great way to build this into your sales arsenal, as there’s no inventory to worry about.

Heat transfers are also used for names and numbers, and also any type of vinyl cutting.  We handle those challenges too!

Post Production

Need your shirts relabeled with a custom tag?  How about polybagging all of the shirts for you and having them marked with sizes so they are easy to hand out later at the trade show event?

Maybe you need some custom scenario where a hat, a shirt and a provided printed piece all go into a mailer.  We’ve done those and more.

You’re not still bringing it all back to the office and working until midnight to package your own order are you?  Let us take the worry out of fulfilling your orders.  We can ship on your third party account and special packaging too.


There’s lots of talk these days about “greening” up the supply chain.  Who do you turn to that knows what they are doing and can help you with this challenge?  Visual Impressions of course.

Not only are we Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) Certified printers, but here in Wisconsin we’ve also earned our Green Tier Certification and our Wisconsin Green Masters awards too.

We’ve put a lot of effort into our programs at Visual Impressions, because we know how important it is to protect the environment and do things the right way.  Want to learn more?  Click here.

We Contract Decorate for Other Shops Too

We’re where the pros go.  Maybe you don’t have an embroidery machine, or don’t have the capabilities to run that 25,000 piece three location job.  Why not outsource it to the shop that handles those jobs daily?

Scale your business the easy way by outsourcing the work to Visual Impressions.  You know you want to take that big order.  Let’s work on it together and make your shop more impactful!

Let us handle that embroidery order, screen-printing order or digital printing order for you.  Maybe you need hangtagging, polybagging or even custom relabeling.   We do it all.


Contact us and let’s discuss how we can help you succeed!

(800) 281-8337

[email protected]


Follow us on Twitter!