Graphic tee startup

(First published in the March 22, 2018 issue of City Pages)

JAS Construction needed small batches of T-shirts done quickly, so it started its own graphic design firm


Graphic designer Wade Michalski works on an embroidery machine Tuesday at 801 Custom Threads, an off-shoot of JAS Construction.

JAS Construction recently needed small batches of shirts for their company, and they needed them done quickly. They soon realized that the easiest way was to start their own graphic company. Then they discovered other companies and individuals had the same needs.

That company, 801 Custom Threads, has been in business for two months, turning out small orders with high-tech graphic design equipment. The company started in the JAS Construction offices and moved into the building next door at 801 Genrich Street, the former site of the Wausau Pickers market.

Being a small company makes them nimble and responsive, says general manager Kendra Majernik, also a JAS employee. They’ve so far filled orders for other construction companies down to a single shirt.

801 Custom Threads uses a machine that prints directly to garment, eliminating the need for setting up a screen in the middle, says designer Wade Michalski. That allows 801 Custom Threads to keep costs the same whether someone wants one shirt or 100, because they don’t have high set up costs. “It goes right into the fiber of the shirt, and it completely changes the color of the fiber,” Michalski says.

Besides T-shirt printing, 801 Custom Threads can do embroidering—it’s impressive to watch the computer-controlled embroidery machine set a pattern on a shirt at high speed). The company also does logo touch up or creation, social media and website design, and prints vinyl decals and even vinyl onto clothing.

Michalski came to the job via Appleton, where he worked as a designer for A2Z Design. A native of Mosinee, Michalski says he was happy to return to the Wausau area.

Being able to work with small orders and be creative is a perk of the job, Michalski says. He tells a story about how a man came into the shop at 11 am with an order that he needed by 7 pm: a set of shirts for his child’s band performance. Being a small company allowed them to quickly turn out the order and creating the design was fun, Michalski says. “It was really fun and I enjoyed the creative aspect of it too.”

Find 801 Custom Threads on Facebook or