Every shirt has a story Behind the new spring apparel line from Pressed

Every shirt at Pressed has a story.

From concept, to design, to matching the designs with garments and, finally, printing the shirt, each of these items of apparel is meant to share its story and connect with people.

“We want this to strike the heart and the mind in a really good way,” said Kristen Meeter.

Kristen co-owns Pressed Studio and Store with her husband. Pressed started out selling jewelry online and at events. Now with a brick and mortar store at 319 N Grand Avenue, which opened in November 2018, Pressed sells its jewelry, apparel and other items from makers and creators across the country.

On Friday, Pressed is launching a new line of apparel for spring. It features five designs that have been on Kristen’s and Eric’s hearts for over a year.

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Much of what Pressed offers comes with an uplifting, scriptural or Midwest theme.

That trend continues with these new shirts.

“Our brand is the desire to offer words of value for the human soul,” Eric said. “Whenever we’re brainstorming, it always comes back to that.”

And every Pressed product is made in-store.

I. The Creative Process

A shirt’s life begins with a concept.

At Pressed, the concept can begin with a cool font or design that catches the eye of either Eric or Kristen.

“For concepting, we’re always collecting ideas and messages that we think should be on a shirt,” Kristen said. “It could even be fonts that we like or just different random design aspects. And we just collect it all in notebooks.”

The best ideas tend to come when they’ve gotten away for a while. Eric and Kristen will go to a cabin or resort and enter creative mode.

These latest shirts were dreamed up and refined at Honey Creek Resort at Lake Rathbun - a favorite “go-to.” Pressed’s store business plan was actually written there.

“That’s like our creative space,” Kristen said.

They brought laptops, notebooks, pens, sketch pads and got to work figuring out what their spring launch would look like.

“It’s basically a process of the two of us hashing out and trying to agree on what messages do we think we want to put out into the world right now,” Kristen said.

The result was five apparel designs that they feel fit their brand and have messages they believe the world should hear now.

“We’re going for a unique, modern, fresh look,” Kristen said. “We kind of like to have our own look and be different from what the rest of the world is putting out. Font plays a big part of it.”

When a design is finished, Kristen begins sketching. She’ll also search for fonts that match the design.

When she’s done, Eric takes her drawing and transfers it onto a computer.

“It’s a very creative process and I think that’s why we do get away and get into that space,” Eric said.

So, this past winter, they left Honey Creek Resort with a computer loaded with five designs ready to go for spring.

II. The Garments

Where a design is printed - or on what it’s printed - is very important.

With this new launch, they have a minimum of three garments in four of the designs, plus they’ll have other fashion apparel.

“We are very particular about what we print on,” Eric said. “Every garment we print on is either USA-made or ethically made.”

Three of their new designs are featured on Allmade Apparel shirts.

Allmade Apparel is a young company, like Pressed, that has a give-back aspect intertwined with its business plan. The company makes fabric for its shirts in Pennsylvania using organic cotton.

“Even before we see the garment, it’s doing good in the world,” Eric said. “And we love that.”

Allmade has a process to make polyester, Eric explained, that uses recycled water bottles.

“Every t-shirt is six water bottles, which is kind of cool,” he said.

Allmade’s fabric is sent from Pennsylvania to Haiti, where it’s sewn into actual t-shirts. They’re working with a nonprofit that employs orphans to break that cycle of being stuck with little to no economic opportunity. They pay the orphans three to four times the normal the normal rate in Haiti.

“Even before we see the garment, it’s doing good in the world,” Eric said. “And we love that.”

Pressed has also printed several of their designs on bamboo.

“We don’t see that very often and we enjoy it,” Eric said. “It kind of sets us apart.”

III. Printing apparel

The printing process is done by Eric in the basement of their store.

Through a detailed process, Eric takes a design and applies it to a screen. Ink is then added to that screen and pressed through onto a shirt. The shirt then goes through a conveyor dryer.

“We’ll hold a color sample up on the garment and just eye it and see if we like the look,” Kristen said. “Once we decide, then he mixes up that paint color.”

The process can be time-consuming, but Eric said that “in the end, it’s a ton of fun.”

“When it comes out of the conveyor, it’s ready to wear,” Kristen said.

IV. Finished product

The result of Kristen's and Eric's efforts are shirts ready to go out into the world and share their messages.

“It’s been really fun to pour ourselves into these designs over the past four months and really fall in love with them,” Eric said. “Now we’re just so excited to share that.”

They each have shirts that speak to them.

Kristen connects with a design that carries a Zig Ziglar quote: “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

“That’s been true in my own life in a very big way,” Kristen said. “I had a difficult road that led to the starting of the brand, the starting of Pressed. And I never would have thought when I was on the difficult road that it would have led to this beautiful destination. I saw that Zig Zigler quote and I knew instantly that that’s going to make it onto a t-shirt.”

For Eric, a shirt featuring a Bible verse from First John connects with him.

“I think the design that has been challenging me and speaking to me the most has been our First John quote: ‘Let us not love with words or speech, but with action and in truth,’” he said. “It was just a great reminder just kind of with where our brand is and with everything like that. We are so words-based - which is great and is awesome - but the follow-up to that, that should inspire us.”

They both love their “Mountains” shirt.

“We love the mountains,” Kristen said. “Mountains are a source of peace and solitude and just refreshing and we love the scriptural aspect of that.”

They have wanted to design this shirt since they began printing apparel last year.

“In both of our hearts, we’ve had the vision for Mountains, probably since the beginning of the company,” Eric said. “That’s the first shirt that we wanted to design. That would be the one that kind of connects the most to our hearts together.”

Shop Pressed

Come see Eric and Kristen in the store at 319 N Grand Avenue or shop online.

All pictures except last by LARK Photo & Video.

Story by Spencer Signal.

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