Dual duty: use reunion souvenirs and keepsakes to raise money
By Megan Moyer
Outfitting your reunion
T-shirts are a long-time reunion staple. They characterize unity and pride and are not complicated to coordinate. Collect everyone’s size, decide on t-shirt color(s) and design and find an experienced company that provides great service and quality, and fits your budget and timeframe. We contacted two companies that specialize in imprintable reunion clothing, Graystone Graphics and Hollopoint Design. Both have several standard family reunion designs, Graystone also has standard class and military reunion and genealogy designs. Their designs are customizable and both companies can also work with your artwork.
Choosing t-shirt design and color(s) are the toughest decisions. The least expensive t-shirt colors are white, ash gray or natural which also happen to be the best backgrounds for colorful designs.
Listen to the experts as you make these changes. Michael Waite of Hollopoint Design says, “Don’t choose t-shirt and design colors that are too close in value, like royal blue and warm reds. Although they’re different colors, the values are so close that when used together, they tend to blend and detail is lost. Contrast is key, light with dark is best. White is the best canvas for full- and multi-color graphics.”
At reunions of large families, different color t-shirts are often used to identify branches or generations. The Orth Family Reunion is every other year in Farmington, New Mexico, for great-grandma Orth’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They order their reunion t-shirts from Hollopoint. In the past they ordered different color shirts for the families of each of grandma’s six children. But there never seemed to be enough acceptable choices and someone always got stuck with a color they didn’t like. New color choices offered by shirt manufacturers eased that problem. To avoid the hassle altogether, the Orths thought about using one color for everyone.
Hollopoint suggested a different shirt color for each of the four Orth generations. Embroidery threads are easily changed to complement different colors. Grandma got a white sweatshirt (she likes to stay warm), and her children and their spouses (the second generation) got indigo blue t-shirts. Grandchildren and their spouses (third generation) were outfitted in earth-toned green t-shirts and great-grandchildren (fourth generation) chased around in stone-washed navy blue. Babies drooled onto embroidered bibs.
So many to choose from
When it comes to reunion designs, both companies offer several standards, viewable on their web sites. They can be personalized with your family name, logo, reunion date, location or any other information. They can also use your original design. Many families choose photos of ancestors or a family tree.
Another alternative and truly unique keepsake is to print family members’ signatures in a design. Screenprinting signatures is Graystone Graphics specialty and most requested service. Signature Designs give every family member a feeling of involvement and kinship. Graystone offers signature sheets online. Ramona Stites of Graystone suggests, “If collecting signatures prior to your event isn’t possible, a good alternative is to typeset family members names. It still creates a sense of union.”
Collect everyone’s sizes and keep track of them so there is no confusion when it’s distribution time. Michael Waite of Hollopoint suggests, “You will invariably need to guess a size for one or more members, so guess big. T-shirts are typically worn oversize, they’re a casual-comfort garment, so loose is best. Going a size bigger is also common for outfitting growing kids.”
Prices can range from $6.50 to $13.00 for t-shirts, $10.00 to $20.00 for sweatshirts. Ask about set-up fees and minimum order quantity. Then determine what you will charge members to raise reunion funds.
Turnaround time for an order on average is two to three weeks. Check with the company to ensure the color(s) you choose are available and ask for the company’s requirements if you are customizing a design or providing original artwork.
Hollopoint Design and Graystone Graphics both offer other imprintable alternatives — tote and duffel bags, aprons, hats, golf shirts and long-sleeve t-shirts.