Small is beautiful at Hometown Imprints

By Posted on Feb 18 2021 | By

Warrenton shop embroiders its way to a company’s bottom line

In the scary world of Covid-19, building a brand that conveys a sophisticated, secure, and established image is goal number one. Like a book, customers judge companies by their covers.

Fortunately, the Fauquier County community has a local resource to put images, logos, and more on all manner of items visually telegraphing the message, “Buy from us. We’re successful”.

On a more personal vein, having your name stitched on a golf towel introducing yourself to others while carding birdies is the ticket to lower scores. Well, maybe.

Hometown Imprints at 5439 Old Alexandria Turnpike uses thread and ink to energize a company’s profits or an individual’s image. Visual marketing keeps you from blending into the landscape while graphically building reputation and respectability.

Unlike most other promotional forms, embroidering and screen-printing logos on value items turn them into walking promotional tools; billboards with personality.

Hometown Imprints owners Jen Riggleman ,52, and her husband Buddy,50, have lived in Warrenton for almost 20 years. Buddy Riggleman founded Peak Roofing Contractors that today employs 50 people.

“Originally, Buddy was using a company down in North Carolina to supply logo work-apparel for the company. About two years ago, it occurred to him he could own his own printing company and serve his needs and those of other firms as well.

“He told me I was going to run the business. I said, ‘Excuse me!’ At the time, I was working at St. James Episcopal School. I was shocked. I told him I had a job but in truth, I was ready for a change,” said Jen Riggleman smiling.

With the purchase of an embroidery machine, the former school aide found herself running a business.

As with most things today, the company centers on the digital world. Images often come in a PDF format and from there are embedded onto uniforms, sports apparel, casual wear, and more.

If it drapes a body, a logo can be displayed on it. Typically, a digital design is ordered from a contractor and then stitched into a design through digitalizing or sublimation.

Once digitalized, the design is stitched in the order of the thread drop and color. Riggleman saves the image to her laptop that “talks” to the embroidery machine. She then final adjusts for size and colors.

In addition to embroidery, screen printing and vinyl heat printing make up a sizeable portion of other customized items.

While the technical side of the business is fascinating, customer interest centers on quality and beauty. To personalize an item conveys a sense of ownership, giving it the power to attract and hold attention, essential to building a brand.

As an article moves toward final production, a final review is provided to a customer for sign off, resulting in some back and forth until the last thread or shade of color is spot on. Once a customer approves the artwork, it takes about ten days to produce the deliverable.

What gets embroidered or screen-printed? Name it and its eligible: saddle pads, blankets, ball caps. beanies, jackets, stockings, golf towels, dress shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, cups, mousepads, and more. There is no limit to what can become a company promotional tool.

The firm’s growth has mostly come through social media and advertising, but Riggleman underscores that walk-ins and individual piece items are welcome. When looking for an unusual gift or a personalized article of clothing or equipment, it’s a sure bet an item displaying an individual’s name or symbol will be a cherished gift.

An essential asset in working with the firm is the personal attention given to every order. Just three people staff the “factory”: owner Riggleman, the designer, and her two assistants, Caitlyn Watkins, responsible for marketing, and Oscar Riggleman, the screen-printer.

One of several customer reactions found on its website sums up the service, “The staff were super responsive to all inquiries and were able to produce the desired product. I plan on using them in the future and highly recommend their service.”

Prices for products are based on the production technique employed and the number of items ordered. Individual items like a t-shirt can cost as little as $10 to $15, including the shirt. Clothing items can be purchased on-site, or customers can supply the product. Bulk orders tumble in price based on the numbers ordered.

“We are looking forward to 2021. Covid has had a negative impact on us as it has everyone. Much of our business was centered on summer camps, churches, family reunions, sports teams, and high school spirit-wear. All of that business has been affected.

“We have custom-designed face masks, including orders for the Town of Warrenton and the volunteer fire department.

“I think people sometimes don’t think about a micro-business as a buying option. One of our strengths is customer service. We even deliver orders if it helps our customers. We are focused on personalized service,” said Riggleman.

Small is not only beautiful, it’s an avenue to quality products and service.

Hometown Imprints is opened 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit https://hometownimprints.com/ for photo albums showcasing its products.


Published in a January 2020 edition of the Fauquier Times.

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