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If you have any custom apparel needs the TeeHive in Baxter can create it for you, Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

Teehive business is flourishing

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

If you need a specialized dance T-shirt or sport uniform with your number or team name embroidered on it or a business shirt with a logo on it - The Teehive in Baxter is one place to go.

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The Teehive is a screen printing and embroidery business that makes custom apparel. People can use online tools to custom design their own T-shirts or apparel, whether for teams, groups, businesses, organizations, family reunions, bridal parties, other special occasions or create just one T-shirt. The digital transformation of the business allows screen printers to move from a need to sell those special apparel orders by the dozens to an ability to sell a single shirt.

The business was modeled after large and successful companies like online retailer CafePress, which allows customers to personalize and customize products from maternity shirts to flip-flops, jewelry to mugs to iPhone cases.

The Teehive began in 2009 and was located on Laurel Street in downtown Brainerd. Steve and Cindy Clough of Clough Properties founded the business as an off-shoot to their thriving Just For Kix business as demand grew for custom apparel. The company moved its facility to Cypress Drive in Baxter in 2012 because it needed more space and it allowed them to put all their manufacturing under one roof.

Jerad Clough, who manages The Teehive, said Just For Kix was designing and making so many T-Shirts that having another company to specialize in the custom apparel made sense. Last year alone, The Teehive made 90,000 pieces of dance attire.

Just For Kix needs apparel for its dancers through its dance instruction and dance studios; when it hosts competitions and camps; and for its manufacturing, mail order and e-commerce work. Just For Kix also has designed and made dancewear and costumes for participants in the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

Making apparel for Just For Kix dancers will continue, but the business is growing and they are seeing more retail orders as design tools let people go in and create their own designs or custom sayings.

Clough said about half the business is making apparel for businesses, schools and youth sport programs. The Teehive also creates custom apparel for dance teams across the country, which is about 20 percent of the business.

Clough said Ernie's on Gull Lake is one of their biggest customers, when looking at making apparel for businesses. He said a good portion of the businesses they work with are in the Brainerd lakes area.

"Our goal is to put out the best quality in the fastest amount of time," said Clough.

The Teehive has been working hard on its online marketing and is launching some new products, such as MoveU Outdoors, as one of its new brands. Other brands the company has is the Alexandra line, named after Steve and Cindy's daughter; Luv Dance and MoveU.

The Teehive just launched its new website that can be found at moveu.us.

"We hope to reach more people, businesses and organizations online to expand the business," said Clough.

The Teehive can do any job from one T-shirt to thousands, such as making 10,000 T-shirts in a few days. Clough said the company made 5,000 T-shirts for the Extreme Mud Run event held this past summer.

"We had 13 hours to do them," said Clough. "We had to do designs/embroidery on the front and back and we worked hard to get them all done in time. It was a fast turnaround."

Clough said an average job is about 24-36 pieces of apparel, and depending on the print it takes about two weeks to get the job done, from start to finish.

"On average we have about 100 jobs going at one time," said Clough. "Right now (July) we have 150 jobs. Our busiest time is when school starts and the dance season."

The Teehive employs 15 full-time people, four in the front office and 11 in the production areas. Shifts are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Clough said there is a lot of cross training and employees need to know how to do anything from the screen printing process, to embroidery, to the dye sublimation to the shipping and receiving end. Clough said they are looking at adding another shift because business is picking up.

Staff at The Teehive see the product from start to finish, however the sewing is out sourced to people in the lakes area to do.

Clough said their goal is to do more jobs outside the Brainerd lakes area and to continue their mission to create something different for people.

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