Typically, much of the innovation or diversification in the industry comes from the latest pop expression or pop-culture sensation.
Over the last decade or so, however, a legitimate new niche in the T-shirt printing industry has made itself known across America: Rest in Peace and memorial T-shirts.
Loving Memory Store is one such T-shirt printing company. This ASPA member printer's primary focus is on memorabilia and commemorative designs, giving people an opportunity to immortalize key moments of their life on their shirts. Memorial and RIP shirts today form a significant part of their design work, with several distinct categories on offer including Loving Memory, Baby Loving Memory, Fallen Soldiers, and Military Memorial. The brand philosophy is to connect the intricate craft of graphic design with unique one-of-kind products. As the demand for such services is growing, the company is gradually including new services they offer, such as shipping & serving customers in areas like Atlanta & North Florida. The range of products available is also constantly growing as well.
Elsewhere in the country, Memorial Mall in Memphis launched a specific RIP and memorial T-shirt line, EterniTee, back in 2013. In fact, there was enough demand in the market that another store started offering RIP and memorial shirts not 200 yards from EterniTee - Air Kingz, which has also been supplying the shirts for many years. Tim Flowers, the owner of the brand, says that is started as an out-of-garage hobby and grew into something bigger and better through the years. He notes that "in pop culture, sometimes the greatest tribute that you can pay to an individual is to wear an article of clothing with them on it," – and we tend to agree. Apart from t-shirts, EterniTee also prints custom memorial images on other items and clothing articles, including but not limited to ties, throws and even casket panels.
Another remarkable store that, among many other services, offers memorial T-shirt printing, goes under a catchy name of Tha T-Shirt Shop. Located in Dallas, Texas, this ASPA member is a custom screen printing shop. Even if you don’t live nearby, no problem, as the company offers a convenient online ordering system. Tha T-Shirt shop is also known for other services, such as family reunion tees and screen printing, but memorial shirts are definitely one of their main specialties. They offer a variety of fully customizable designs, from plain text to more sophisticated fonts, photos and collages. The products are printed quickly (3-5 days is the average completion time for online orders, and you can always call in and discuss a rush service), and the staff are very professional and knowledgeable, so it’s definitely a great place to purchase a quality memorial tee.
Just like Tha T-Shirt Shop, not all retailers that offer memorial tees have brand names that are suggestive of that. For instance, you probably didn’t know that ASPA member Anytime T-Shirts, a Maryland-based printing company, manufactures custom memorial T-shirts as well. The company acknowledges that there are many reasons why the demand for customized tees is so high, and it’s important to find a supplier that provides the highest quality service possible. The owner of the company states that they “do not just print on t-shirts [but] help companies turn their logos into a work of art”. Isn’t it especially important for memorial pieces, created to celebrate someone's beautiful and significant life? The company prides itself in creating good quality tees made of outstanding fabrics, offering a wide range of sizes from extra small to 5XL. The prints are guaranteed to hold after multiple washes, making lasting memorabilia. The best thing is that these guys don’t work with set templates – they will happily create a unique design just for you.
An ASPA member in California, San Jose-based company STITCH N INK, which brands itself as a “one stop shop contract decorator”, also offers memorial tee design and printing services. The strength of this particular business is top-notch innovative equipment they use, which allows to provide high quality cost effective service solutions.
We’ve tried to connect you with some printers who offer memorial tees and you are more than welcome to pick from our list or do your own research based on our suggestions. We hope this gives you some ideas if you want to offer this type of shirt printing in your area, it may a niche that you find to be lucrative.
- Joseph Guilar reporting for American Screen Printing Association.