When Roland Ustayev helped start his print and embroidery business, Stitch Kings, with Josh and Dwight back in 2016, they didn’t have any knowledge about the industry.
Not afraid to take a chance on a growing industry, however, they decided to buy an already established print shop, Action Enterprise, and away they went.
“I fell into this business by accident,” Ustayev said. “I was working for a different family business that we had and we went to get shirts for that business. Action Enterprise was the name and he asked us if we knew anyone that wanted to buy the business. At the time, we figured why not. It’s been a learning process ever since.
Their working conditions were far from ideal. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the guys did the best they could with the space they were given to operate.
“We were under the ‘L’ in Frankford Kensington,” Ustayev said. “Really small, row home. We were on the first floor of the row home, which I guess would be the basement. The shop was no bigger than our showroom here. Dilapidated. Everything was caving in on us. It was terrible. We literally had a massive waterfall because we had a hole in the roof that came from the third, second, and first floor.”
They renamed the business, Stitch Kings and quickly became known around town as one of the go-to businesses to get custom apparel. Direct-to-Garment printing was one of their other bread-and-butter printing applications.
After working out of that location for two years, the team was able to purchase a warehouse just down the road in north Philiadelphia. The upgrade was night and day. They went from a cramped, unworkable space to a 30,000-square foot warehouse with more room than they knew what to do with.
“It’s 30,000 square feet and we’re only operating out of about 11,000-14,-000 square feet,” Ustayev said. “We broke it up into departments on the floor the best we could. I like a spacious area. I’ve visited a lot of shops and everything is on top of each other. I need space and I need to be able to breathe. We’re trying to keep it as spacious as possible here with our layout.”
In 2020, Ustayev and his team ditched their outdated ways of keeping orders on pen and paper and purchased DecoNetwork, an industry leader in production management software, to help catapult their business to the next level.
Adding DecoNetwork did just that.
“I think our most massive growth was actually, believe it or not when we got DecoNetwork,” Ustayev said. “It just helped manage everything in the shop and help organize everything into which department every order has to go to. It really helped us with keeping track. With that management software, it let us focus on other aspects of getting clients and customers in here.”
With the countless features DecoNetwork has to offer to help run custom apparel shops and streamline the process from start to finish, Stitch Kings grew rather quickly.
“We were writing on paper by hand and we had stacks and stacks of papers,” Ustayev said. “It was time to get rid of that and transition over. Plus with repeat customers, it gets easier with DecoNetwork. You have all of their artwork and everything saved. (DecoNetwork) knows everything. What shirts you used last time. It’ll give you everything set up right away for you to just make another proposal and send it out as opposed to digging through stacks of papers to find that customer. That was a giant headache and that was actually cut out completely thanks to DecoNetwork.”
Ustayev and his team are also big on creating online stores through DecoNetwork and have done a lot of business by setting up stores for clients and fulfilling all of their orders.
Stitch Kings has also been fortunate enough to work with a few big influencers including Pennsylvania natives Wallo and Edbassmaster. Both have gone to Stitch Kings to produce merchandise for their respective brands.
They have also done business with Barstool Sports, rapper Lil Uzi Vert, UFC fighter Eddie Alvarez, Ice T, and many more.
“We had Wallo recently come in and do work with us,” Ustayev said. “He’s a huge influencer. When he shouts us out, boom. We get more business. When Edbassmaster would come in and do work with us, he would shout us out and we would get more business. It’s kind of generated traction on its own and we kind of just fell into that. We look for influencers, bring them in and that’s kind of been our niche so far.”
Halfway through 2022, business is still booming for Stitch Kings. Ustayev said it’s been a stressful ride to get to where they’re at, but one that he’s been very excited to be a part of.
“It’s still nerve-racking,” Ustayev said. “We’re growing and we need more equipment, so we go get more equipment. When is that going to catch up to where we don’t need any more equipment and we can just keep growing? But it’s been a good process so far. A good ride.”