April 30, 2017

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The "Hometown Special" Model A Roadster Pickup Is Back In The Shop

We just brought our roadster pickup back into our shop to freshen up a few things. Here's a list of some of what we're going to do...

1) Un-channel the body for more leg room for TK and to gain 2" in the radiator. 

2) Modify the windshield post foundry patterns and have new post cast and glass cut.

3) Swap out the tired A motor for a fresh model B motor

4) Change the bed to a longer 50" model A bed.

5) New paint 

This may not be a complete list but it's a good start. We'll do an update on where we're at periodically. Can't wait to get it back on the road!

April 13, 2017

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Custom Felt Logos

Hometown Jersey

 We've had the pleasure of making many logos and designs for businesses, car and motorcycle clubs and even chambers of commerce. Creating a logo in felt to stitch onto the jersey of your choice is a completely unique way to get an authentic vintage look when marketing your business or showing pride for your club or hometown.

Hometown Jersey

When working with felt, designs have to be simple. Unlike working with different mediums like silkscreening, felt is very one dimensional. We work with more of a silhouette vs. interior detail when cutting custom designs.

Hometown Jersey

The best way to see if we can create your logo in felt is to simply send us a photo. If it can be done, there is a one time $40 art set up fee to cut. If you re-order in the future, you do not pay the fee again because we already have your art in our system. We have a minimum of 6 jerseys when creating custom artwork. 

Hometown Jersey
Price depends on final details. If interested, feel free to contact us and we would be happy to give you a quote.
Hometown Jersey
Hometown Jersey
Hometown Jersey
March 28, 2017

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To Scale Or Not To Scale

Everyday I receive an email from writer and business leader Seth Godin. Mr. Godin writes about business, marketing and the ways ideas spread. I signed up for his daily emails years ago because they arrive early each day and give me positive food for thought about Hometown Jersey as the business day begins. Here's what he shared today:

What if scale wasn't the goal?

From restaurants to direct mail, there's pressure to be scalable, to be efficient, to create something easily replicated.

Which is often used as the reason it's not very good. "Well, we'd like to spend more time/more care/more focus on this, but we need to get bigger."

What if you started in the other direction?

What would happen if you created something noteworthy and worried about scale only after you've figured out how make a difference?

Todays email especially hit home for me because its exactly the way I was thinking when I started Hometown Jersey in the Fall of 2013. Being a scalable business didn't even cross my mind.

I wanted to make a super high quality, vintage inspired jersey with stitched on felt lettering, and it had to be Made In The USA. My inspiration was from photos of racers from the 1930's through the 1960's in the car and motorcycle world. I was coming from a fashion frame of mind in creating something that I though was really cool. And then I realized I could customize them so people could really make my jerseys their own. 

I didn't invent the racing jersey idea but Hometown Jersey was the first company in the USA to make custom racing jerseys with stitched on felt lettering like we are today. If others want to copy or follow, we really don't care. We are proud of the way we make our garments and will never compromise on quality by having them made off shore. My goal is that our customers are absolutely delighted when they open a package from Hometown Jersey. Thats why I do what I do everyday.

Of course we are a business and we have to make money to keep doing what we do. And yes, we want to continue to grow. But never at the cost of compromising on quality or delight. Ever.

If you have a business, or are interested in business ideas, I highly recommend Seth Godin's daily emails here.

March 01, 2017

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HMN BLOG Hometown Jerseys: Old-fashioned racing jerseys made in America

Thanks to Hemmings Daily  for featuring Hometown Jersey on the blog! The following is a direct re-post from their site.
Hometown Jerseys: Old-fashioned racing jerseys made in America by 
Daniel Beaudry on Dec 21st, 2015 

Hometown JerseyThis is the raglan-sleeve jersey that Hometown Jersey made for my car club.

A couple of us here are members of a group called the Barnstormers VSC (Vintage Speed Club), and when we decided to have jerseys made, we knew we wanted them to be homegrown and to have old-fashioned style and quality. So, when we saw how dapper the McCann clan of DeLuxe Speed Shop—Mark, Scott and Bryan—looked at The Race of Gentlemen this year, we asked them where they got their regalia. “Jill Smith at Hometown Jersey in Joshua Tree, California,” Scott enthusiastically replied.
Mark, Scott and Bryan McCann showing their team spirit in their regalia made by Hometown Jersey at the 2015 Race of Gentlemen. Above photos by the author.

After the race, I checked out Hometown’s website, and liked what I saw—American-made jerseys like those from the Thirties through the Fifties. I sent Jill a message: In light of her website’s sizing, which lists only up to 2X, I had a tall order, literally, as one of our club members is a big fella—6 feet, 6 inches tall and barrel-chested; a 5X. Jill got back to me less than 24 hours later and said that not only could she fit our club’s long name on the front of a jersey in two-inch hand-cut felt letters, she could also make shirts to fit our big-hearted friend.

Just three days after ordering—though Jill cautions that it can take up to two weeks during busy times like the holidays—the navy-and-cream raglan-sleeved jersey was in my hands and far exceeded my expectations.

The design is period-possible, with a neck opening wide enough to accommodate a shirt collar and tie like many speedway drivers wore when racing in the Twenties and Thirties, and the body and sleeves are shorter in the style of the era. The fabric is high quality: a fine-gauge 100 percent heavy-cotton knit. It’s durable and soft, and the material has a kind of natural texture to it.

Wearing clothing that’s in sync with the era of your car or motorcycle isn’t playing dress-up. It’s making sure that nothing detracts from the look of your ride, and it’s getting you closer to how it felt to drive it in its day. For American-made jerseys done the old way, we can’t recommend Hometown Jersey enough.

Raglan-sleeve jerseys, with text in standard font on the front only, start at $139, but there are many options for customization. Our club’s jerseys, with the addition of the lightning bolt, were $145, plus $9.75 S&H.

To view a complete selection and to order, visit www.hometownjersey.com. While you’re there, check out Hometown’s set-in and striped-sleeve jerseys and T-shirts. Pay close attention to the sizing chart on the website, as vintage-style clothing fits differently than modern types. If you have any questions or want advice on customizing your jersey and a price quote, email Jill at: jill@hometownjersey.com.

To learn more about Hometown, here’s our interview with Jill Smith…

Jill Smith of Hometown Jersey
Jill Smith, proprietor of Hometown Jersey, in the desert of Joshua Tree where her American apparel company is based. This and all subsequent photos courtesy of Hometown Jersey.

J. Daniel Beaudry: How did Hometown Jersey come to be?

Jill Smith: My husband and I are partners in his business, TK Smith Electric Guitars. Every year, we come up with a new silkscreened design for T-shirts. A few years ago, we wanted to do something different that no one else was doing as far as logo shirts.

We’ve always loved the style of racing jerseys from the 1930s through the 1950s, with their felt lettering. In our shop, we only use tools from the 1930s to the 1960s to build guitars; they’re all made in the USA and still work great. So, we knew if we were going to make a logo jersey, it had to be in the same spirit as our shop: made in America.

When we couldn’t find what we wanted, I decided to manufacture it myself. My jerseys are made exclusively for me to my specs in a factory that also uses vintage machines and has been in business for almost 100 years.

We put the jersey up on the TK Smith website and got a great response, so I decided to create my own website and make custom jerseys for anyone interested. That was exactly two years ago.

TK Smith
Hometown Jersey grew out of the apparel Jill was creating to promote her husband TK’s guitar-crafting business.

JDB: How many people are employed by Hometown, and where are you based?

JS: There are two of us; myself and my seamstress. We’re based near Joshua Tree, California.

Hometown Jersey shares a space with TK Smith, so there is a lot of creativity going on where we work. We have an industrial space with about 1,600 sq.ft., and it includes an office. We’re in the desert, so its a great mid-century building with seven spaces total and a lot of open land around it. We moved to the desert from Los Angeles about 10 years ago so we could “do our own thing”: work for ourselves and have more room to work/live.

My business doesn’t require a lot of space, so I basically take up a corner of the shop. But when Hometown Jersey moved in, our ’29 roadster, which was in the middle of the shop, had to be moved back home, and our 56 Ford Pickup had to be moved to the back in a storage container. Our shop is like our home, which is only five minutes away, so we never feel like we’re “going to work.”

TK Smith
Jill and TK’s ’29 roadster that gave up its parking spot so Hometown Jersey could set up shop.

JDB: How did you get into making jerseys?

JS: I worked in sales and management for one company in the beauty industry for 20 years, and in the industry total for 25 years. My past had absolutely nothing to do with manufacturing clothing, but what I did gain from that career was how to give great service and to put out quality work. Nothing disappoints me more than a consumer getting bad service.

JDB: You had my jersey in the mail in a surprisingly quick two days, I think. How long does it typically take to make a jersey?

JS: Yours was quick! You caught me at a good time, but I generally say to give it at least two weeks. Especially right now during the holiday season. When I tell people two weeks, I try to get it out in one.

If someone wants a custom logo or custom-cut design that is out of the norm of my standard lettering, it can take up to three weeks to set it up, followed by the normal production time. It’s not that it takes that long to make a jersey with stitched felt lettering; it’s that we’re always working on multiple orders at once. So, it may be a few days, or a week, before we can get to it.

Hometown Jersey
Custom fonts and elements are possible; just drop Jill an email and talk with her about what you’d like to do.

JDB: What are the steps in the process for making a jersey?

JS: Every jersey is laid out by hand, and the felt lettering is stitched on one at a time. We use our eyes and a sewing machine, not an embroidery machine and a computer. You can really see the difference. We want our jerseys to have an authentic vintage look and feel. You can only get that with a sewing machine. When you see lettering done with an embroidery machine, you can tell. If they were all perfect, it wouldn’t have the same feeling. We always want them to look amazing and to have our customers be delighted when they receive a Hometown Jersey. Mass-produced perfection is not the goal.

Hometown Jersey
Stock felt-letter colors are black, cream and “Old Gold.”

JDB: How were you able to meet my friend’s 5x needs? Are you always able to be so accommodating?

JS: I’m so happy we were able to make your friend the 5X jerseys! I can pretty much meet any need within reason, it just may take some time if we get a request out of the norm. So, if you can be patient, we can usually make any reasonable requests happen.

JDB: What is the biggest challenge for Hometown?

JS: Our biggest challenge is probably the same one that many small businesses have: How can we stay “small” and yet grow? By “staying small,” I mean continue to give great, timely service; continue to enjoy what we do; continue to keep the selection simple, but interesting; and at the same time grow financially. I’m more interested in doing great work and continuing to have fun doing it than just taking on more work for more money.

Hometown Jersey
A logo consisting of two numbers inside a circle is another one of the options offered by Hometown.

JDB: Is demand for vintage jerseys increasing? If so, is this also true for demand for Made-in-USA products?

JS: I think the demand for vintage jerseys has probably been strong for a long time, but the availability of a new, totally custom jersey, with the true look and feel of a vintage jersey may be increasing.

I think Hometown Jersey has resonated with vintage motorcycle and car enthusiasts because we offer something that no one else does. You can order anything you want to show pride for your car, bike, club, hobby or interest in stitched-on felt. I created Hometown Jersey from a place of nostalgia for my small hometown where I grew up in Illinois.

As far as things made in the USA go, I hope the demand is growing. We feel very strongly about this subject. It would make absolutely no sense for TK or I to sell anything not made in America. There’s no reason to. It’s really easy to buy pretty much everything you need today here at home. Will it cost more? Probably. But the quality is usually going to be much better and last much longer. When you buy products that fall apart in a year or less, it ends up costing you more in the long run to keep replacing them than it does to invest in high-quality goods that will last years. People who purchase a Hometown Jersey today will be able to pass it down if taken care of properly.

Hometown Jersey
The Sta-Lube logo is a stock-cost option.

JDB: What do you like most about making jerseys?

JS: Every day is different, even though the process is the same with each jersey. The layout, size of felt lettering and the personal message we put on them really means something to the person who purchased it. I feel like I have a relationship with each of my customers because I get to know a little bit about them by what they want their jersey to say. It’s so great when someone receives their custom jersey and they send me a message letting me know how much they love it. Thats the best and probably the main reason why I enjoy my work so much.

Hometown Jersey
Hometown’s jerseys are available in a variety of traditional colors and even in stripes.

One of my most surprising interactions was when I was asked to make a jersey for singer Billy Joel as a birthday gift. I wasn’t aware at the time that he has an extensive vintage motorcycle collection. Alex, who runs his shop, 20th Century Cycles, purchased one for himself and one for Billy.

It was probably one of the most detailed logo jerseys we’ve done to date, a lot of custom stitching. They liked them so much they ended up buying a large run of the same jersey to sell at their shop in Oyster Bay, New York. The entire interaction was a lot of fun and gave me the opportunity to make a custom jersey for an American icon.

Hometown Jersey
As Hometown’s jerseys are patterned on historical styles, they fit differently than modern clothing.

JDB: What are Hometown’s hopes for the future?

JS: To keep doing what we’re doing, and like I said before, to figure out how to grow while keeping the feeling of a small company.
March 01, 2017

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June Shows: LA Roadster Show and Born Free 6 Classic Chopper and Vintage Bike Show

 This is going to be a big month for Hometown Jersey. We are thrilled to be selling live at two great car and motorcycle shows in June.

First, on Fathers Day weekend, we'll be at the 50th Anniversary of the LA Roadsters Show. We've attended the LA Roadster Show in the past as spectators and we've taken our roadster out as participants in the show, but this will be the first time we've had a space where we'll be making custom lettered jerseys on the spot. If you can get out to Pomona June 14th or 15th, come  by and say Hi. Its a historic year for the club and we're proud to be part of it.

Then two weeks later on June 28th and 29th, we'll be at the 6th annual Born Free Vintage Chopper and Classic Motorcycle Show in Oak Canyon Ranch, CA. "Born-Free has quickly become “the” place for old and young from all over the world to ride in, see, and talk about old iron for one day. Born-Free 6 is set to bring together tens of thousands of eager spectators and participants as well as over 150 vendors and sponsors, live music, an AMCA regional swapmeet, and for the first time, the show is now two days in 2014!" We are so excited to be one of the many great vendors at Born Free. We won't have electricity there so we'll be taking custom orders throughout the weekend and we'll ship after the show at no charge. Please contact us if you have questions or would like to order in advance.

Its gearing up to be a great summer!

Hope to see you out and about in Southern, California.

March 01, 2017

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Lonestar Round Up-Austin, TX

We're so excited to be in Austin, TX April 4th and 5th for the 13th annual Lonestar Round Up, one of the biggest and best car shows/live music festivals in America! This will be our first time at the Roundup and our first show as Hometown Jersey. We'll be making custom lettered jerseys on the spot all weekend. 
 
 Hosted by the Kontinentals Car Club, the Roundup brings people to Austin from all over the world. Many driving their vintage, pre 1963 hot rods or custom cars, and many come to see the first class lineup of music happening both days, including the Horton Brothers, The Modern Don Juans and Blue's guitar legend, Jimmie Vaughan.
 
Besides amazing cars and music, the show also features art, a swap meet and an eclectic group of vendors which all equal a great weekend in my favorite city in Texas. We'll take lots of photos to share but if you plan on attending, stop by the Hometown Jersey booth. We'll be at the indoor vending building right next to the main stage. 
Hope to see you there!
March 01, 2017

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New Year-New Designs

As it always does, the first two weeks of the New Year have flown by. Since we just launched Hometown Jersey in mid Oct., we had a whirlwind holiday season. I just want to thank everyone who embraced what we're doing and who purchased custom jerseys for yourself or as a gift. We really didn't know what to expect and its been a blast so far! 

We've made custom jerseys with cities and states all over the U.S. and the world, for car and motorcycle clubs, to commemorate weddings, business names, bands and we've met a lot of great people through our Instagram and facebook pages. Please keep sharing the great photos of yourselves. It's so much fun to see the wide variation of customized jerseys on the wide variation of recipients.

Easing into 2014, we have a number of things we're working on right now, and some new items coming in the near future. The first is the Skull and Crossbones Jersey above. Just like our lettering, its made of felt and can be ordered on a black, navy, red or burgundy jersey. Its a design that was inspired by a custom guitar by my husband TK . Its available in the store now.

 Next, very soon we'll be offering the option to have your letters or designs sewn onto your jersey. We're doing this in a very old fashion way, one at a time on a single sewing machine, to get an authentic jersey. You can get a very clean, perfect look by doing this with a computer and a digital machine, but that’s not the look we're going for at this time. Here's a sneak peak of what ours will look like. We'll be sharing more details within a few weeks.

      

Last, for late spring and summer, we'll have amazing T's with flock designs. We are not going to be doing screen printing, there are plenty of great screen printers out there. You may have seen really old flocked t-shirts from as far back as the 30's and 40's with motorcycle or car company promotion, or with the name of clubs. Flock also became popular in the 70's. (Ours is not the kind you iron on at home) Can't wait to share.

Wishing everyone the best year yet and looking forward to what’s down the road!

September 12, 2015

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June 09, 2015

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Introducing Hometown Jersey T's

I've wanted to offer t-shirts for a long time but could not find a Made in the USA T that I was happy with. For my husband TK's business we have used various brands of Made in America shirts for silkscreening, but they were just OK. Just OK was not good enough so I've spent the last year researching and finally coming up with our own design. After a lot of testing and adjusting to get it right, we're really happy to introduce a T that we can proudly offer to follow in the foot steps of our high quality jerseys. Just as important to us, they're made right here in California.

Or fabric is pre-washed so there is little to no shrink. The color T's are custom dyed to our specifications, the design was inspired from a vintage T from the late 50's, early 60's and are 100% cotton. We loved the fit so much that we're even offering the T's plain as a two pack in either Classic White or Navy Blue. More colors to come soon.

But the most exciting part is that just like our jerseys, you can order your own custom Hometown Jersey T decorated in either felt or flock lettering and designs. See details here.

Offering stitched on felt lettering or logos on a t-shirt is probably not the the best idea from a money making standpoint butt looks cool as hell so I am doing it anyway! Below is one we made this week and I couldn't stop looking at it before I shipped it off. The medium weight of our t-shirt stands up beautifully with the stitched on felt. We can also create custom designs in flock. Feel free to contact us if you have an idea for a T you'd like us to create.

   
February 01, 2015

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Gallery

A collection of a few of our custom made jerseys... View full article →