After 15 years of working for his family’s company, a longtime Virgil resident is expanding his horizons.
Alex Froese, general manager of his parents’ company Mother-ease Cloth Diapers in St. Catharines, has launched his own business creating custom team jerseys.
MVP Uniforms set up shop in September, thanks to a process called dye sublimation printing, or dye-sub printing, which uses heat to transfer dye onto a surface.
Froese got the idea for the business after his parents purchased a dye sublimation printer last year.
He had also heard about rising shipping times for sports jerseys reported in 2021.
“I saw an opportunity to do other things with it,” he said.
With this new technology, determination and the right staff, he had everything to make his goals a reality.
He now manages both Mother-ease and MVP Uniforms.
The 33-year-old father of two has lived in Virgil since he was born.
Froese said every jersey is made in-house from scratch with Canadian fabrics.
First, he starts by designing the artwork in Adobe Illustration.
“We essentially build the design (and) build the jersey on the computer,” he said.
Once customers are satisfied with the digital design, it goes to the dye sublimation printer.
The printer takes the digital file and uses a heat press at 400 degrees to press the design onto a white, dry-fit polyester material.
This technology prints the dye into the fabric and not on top of the fabric.
“With dye sublimation, the jersey could be one colour or 15 colours. It’s all the same to us,” he said.
After it’s transferred onto individual pieces of fabric, it’s sent to the sewing department where workers will sew the fabric together.
“It’s permanent, we’re not sticking it on, it’ll never crack, fade or peel or anything like that,” he said.
He’s currently working on a set of team jerseys that are black and neon green.
“Anything is possible,” said Froese.
Though business has been a bit slow, Froese said, it picked up last month after posting about it in the NOTL 4 ALL Facebook group.
“That has definitely caused a lot more work, and a lot more opportunities, which has been exciting to see,” he said.
Froese said being able to bring a customer’s vision to life and see their faces when they touch their custom jerseys for the first time is extremely rewarding.
Long-term, he wants to not only be a supplier of sports apparel, jerseys and team gear but to eventually offer made-to-measure athletic apparel.
“Made to measure would be you provide your body measurements and the garments will be fitted perfectly for you,” he said.
He currently only makes team jerseys in quantities of 12 or more. He hopes to do individual jerseys in the future.
The team price would be about $85 a jersey, he said.
He can’t produce franchised jerseys, such as NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, because he doesn’t have the specific licensing yet.
That’s something he eventually wants to offer his customers.
Customers can order jerseys at mvpuniforms.com.
By Somer Slobodian, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 04, 2023 at 09:03