Custom shirts with quirks

Local T-shirt shop allows customers to design their own shirts.

Fast Yeti Custom Tees is not your garden-variety clothing store.

Its owners, in their spare time, pose for pictures with an actual Yeti and post throwbacks to Facebook fans, reminding them that Weezer’s musical glory made “junior high slightly less terrible.” Rather than being just another apparel-printing store, the Fast Yeti crew injects personality into their business.

Fast Yeti, located at 2703 E. Broadway, suite 226, offers custom clothing designs and screen printing on a T-shirt of your choice. It’s a fitting addition to the city of Columbia, which boasts both a rich collegiate atmosphere and a love of eccentricity.

Manager Reid Lyle and his team operate on the basis that T-shirts are a commodity every business or organization will need.

“There’s a really wide range of opportunities,” he says. “T-shirts are kind of a blank slate. They can be something that actually serves a marketing function.”

For the employees of Fast Yeti, their business is a niche in which they can fuse marketing, creativity and an overlying sense of artistic freedom. The artists are able to use their skills in both business and design.

“It’s also fun, because you get artistic projects as well,” Lyle says, gesturing to a complex pattern in progress on one of the team’s computers.

In just six months, the team has served all types of local organizations and businesses, including MU Greek organizations and local auto-repair shops, quickly becoming a go-to outfitter for many clients.

“(Clients) typically come here with an idea,” Lyle says. “They usually have a goal.”

Fast Yeti’s team is willing to turn nearly any tee design idea into a physical reality with their team of professional graphic designers. Customers generally wish to create individual designs from scratch, and the graphic design team follows them through a simple three-step process: idea, design and print.

For those who aren’t so sure, the shop’s physical location sports decorative wall panels filled with the team’s ready-made ideas and designs and offers computers on which clients and designers can consult. Besides offering these pre-made options in store, Fast Yeti’s website offers even more choices for tees in holiday, Greek, tiger, graphic and funny categories.

Knowing that the satisfaction of its customers is paramount to a fledgling business, Fast Yeti operates with an emphasis on high-quality design and speedy processing of orders, offering full refunds if customers are not fully satisfied.

For the trio of managers at Fast Yeti, it’s been satisfying seeing their idea become a reality.

“I’ve had the idea for a while,” Lyle says. “The Fast Yeti idea came together in January and then almost simultaneously, this spot became available.”

Within three months, the apparel-printing store was in full operation. Though Fast Yeti is not the only printing shop in the Columbia area, there is plenty of business to share.

For Lyle, an eventual goal is to move more towards a web-based business. He says, though, the physical storefront remains an effective way to maintain a “face” for Fast Yeti.

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