About

Northwest Custom Apparel is dedicated to providing the utmost satisfaction to customers through caring service, assured quality, innovation, and reliable delivery of distinct customized garments and products.

OUR TEAM


Northwest Custom Apparel is staffed by experienced embroidery operators and management that will guarantee your order is completed to your satisfaction. You can rest assure with our years of experience and training that your order be delivered on time and correct.

Jim Mickelson

CEO

Jim Mickelson, after a successful career with a major oil company, founded Northwest Embroidery in 1977. This was the first commercial embroidery in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, Jim has become the guru of embroidery never refusing to answer a question or offer advice to his fellow embroiders. Jim and his wife Leeanna raised four wonderful children who went on to successful business careers.

Erik Mickelson

Manager

Erik Mickelson’s position as Manager is more than a job, it’s a passion. It’s always fun and exciting because he enjoys marketing, computers, and coming up with innovative ideas to help NWCA grow. He majored in accounting and finance at Washington State University, graduating in 1996, and returned to school to obtain his Master of Business from WGU, graduating in 2016. Erik continually strives to advance his education through podcasts, audiobooks, and industry tradeshows. He is married to a remarkable and caring wife named Wendy, a Registered Nurse, with whom he shares his many hobbies and a love for the outdoors.

Ruth Nhoung

Production Manager

Ruth Nhoung is our Production Manager and Northwest Custom Apparel is lucky to have her. Thanks to her vast knowledge of machine embroidery and dedication to creating a comfortable and supportive work environment, the production plant runs smoothly and customers are pleased with our work. She is a loving mother and grandmother and enjoys spending quality time with her siblings. She says, “I love everything about Northwest Custom Apparel: the people, the atmosphere, the work, and the customers. I love what I do and I embrace all of NWCA’s core values”.

Steve Deland

Art Director

Steve Deland has been our amazing Artist since 2017. He loves working at Northwest Custom Apparel because he appreciates the goal-oriented, progressive-thinking management style. He is most passionate about his art, which includes scroll saw woodwork, and his five grandchildren.

Taylar Hanson

Sales

Taylar Hanson is a highly acclaimed Saleswoman at Northwest Custom Apparel. She has a BA in Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles from Washington State University. “Go Cougs!” The best part of Taylar’s job is getting to work with longtime customers who trust us to do the best work and take care of their needs. She is passionate about appreciating nature, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Nika Lao

Sales

Nika Lao is very knowledgeable in how the business is ran because she began as an Embroidery Machine Operator and has worked hard to become the excellent and personable saleswoman she is today. She enjoys the stress-free environment and the many chances to connect with her co-workers over potlucks, BBQs, and bowling parties. Nika is a proud sister of two highly successful brothers and can boast mastering three languages herself: Khmer, Thai, and English. She is an avid camper, enjoys going to farmer markets, and loves cooking.

Bradley Wright

Accountant

Bradley Wright has been a vital team member of NWCA since 2017. As our accountant and knower-of-all-things, Bradley is proud to work closely with his wonderful colleagues. He studied at the University of Washington. These days he dedicates his free time to his new house.

Alicia Wada

Shipping Clerk

Alicia Wada is passionate about helping her co-workers at Northwest Custom Apparel in any way that she can. She works in our Shipping and Logistics department. Alicia, who goes by Ali, has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. She lived in Japan for ten years and recently brought her family to America in 2019. She is interested in learning crafts and textile art from around the world.

Dominic Nguyen

DTG Operator

Dominic Nguyen recently joined our Direct-To-Garment department. He says he loves the family work environment at Northwest Custom Apparel. In his free time, Dom likes to listen to music, hangout with friends, and play video games. He comes from a very big family which can be very chaotic at times, but is always exciting.

Brian Beardsley

DTG Supervisor

Brian Beardsley has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. He is our DTG Supervisor. Brian loves that he gets to work with high-tech machines in a fun atmosphere. He has a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He said, “I always wanted to create visually interesting assets in a variety of mediums”. In his free time, he enjoys building and painting models, playing video games, designing, and playing his guitar.

UT Tri Tran

Embroidery Machine Operator

UT Tri Tran loves Northwest Custom Apparel so much that, although she has already retired after a long career in machine embroidery operations, she is happy to return part time. She says, “I love the family style work environment and how everyone shares food, laughter, and fun on a regular basis.” In her free time she is dedicated to living a healthy and peaceful lifestyle with her friends and family.

BunsereytheavyHoeu

Embroidery Machine Operator

BunsereytheavyHoeu, who goes by Theavy, won our Operator of the Year in 2021. She takes on many roles in the production team. She says, “These are not my co-workers, these are my family! I cherish all the memories we make together”. When she goes home to be with her family, she makes the most of her time with them by holding family get-togethers and even karaoke competitions.

Sreynai Meang

Embroidery Machine Operator

SreynaiMeang is a hard-working Machine Operator. She is most passionate about helping people. Sreynai, who goes by Nai, likes to exercise in her free time and talk with her family in Cambodia.

Kanha Chhorn

Embroidery Machine Operator

Kanha Chhorn has been an Embroidery Operator with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. She is delightful and always makes everyone smile and laugh. Kanha takes on additional tasks that allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations. In her free time, she can be found at her local temple or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Savy Som

Embroidery Machine Operator

SavySom is one of our Machine Operators who is passionate about embroidery and sewing. She enjoys working at NWCA because of its flexibility. She has two teenage sons and loves spending time with her family on the weekends.

SorphornSorm

Embroidery Machine Operator

SorphornSorm has been a Machine Operator since 2011. One of her four sisters works here as well. Her other relatives are in Cambodia. In her free time, Sorphorn studies English, listens to music, and enjoys exercising.

Sothea Tann

Production Team: Trimmer

Sothea Tann recently joined the Production Team in 2022. She finds Northwest Custom Apparel to be a good working environment with helpful and friendly staff. In her free time, Sothea spends quality time with her family and, overall, focuses on a peaceful and happy lifestyle.

Antonio Massey

Production Team: Folder

Antonio Massey recently joined NWCA in June of 2022. His role on the Production Team has greatly improved our processes and productivity. Antonio is always willing to lift heavy boxes or help his co-workers during busy times. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his dog and mastering video games.

OUR HISTORY


Outfitting the Puget Sound and Beyond Since 1977

We started as Northwest Embroidery back in 1977 by Jim Mickelson almost by accident. At the time, Jim was traveling from Washington to Alaska every other week to work as an administration manager for the Alaska Pipeline when came up with the idea to sell embroidered caps to fellow pipeline employees. Originally he sewed all the patches onto the caps himself while back home in Washington. When his trial run of 300 sold out in three days, he knew he was on to something.” he says. “I had all this room on the plane, so I filled it with hats. I just kept hauling hats up there and selling them until I started making more money selling hats than working for Atlantic Richfield.”

We originally occupied a rented location in downtown Tacoma with just a single 11 head embroidery machine. Within just a few years, we moved to our current facility in Milton, with two buildings and almost ten times the manufacturing capability. Today, we even manage a branch office in China to handle large specialty orders. Jim is now joined by his two sons Erik and Scott, bringing the company into its second generation.

Technology in our industry has changed dramatically since the early days, and Northwest Custom Apparel has kept on the cutting edge with every improvement. In the old days, the artwork was digitized all by hand, stitch by stitch, into files that could be read my the embroidery machines. The files were saved on large paper rolls with holes punched in them, taking up a large section of our warehouse just to store them. Now designs are digitized directly on our computer screens and are sent immediately through our network to our factory’s embroidery machines. Our entire library which used to take up shelves of space now can fit on a memory chip smaller than your fingernail.

Three decades in the business have given us a greater appreciation for the art that goes into creating an embroidered garment. Technology may have helped make things faster, but every item we produce is still manufactured with the same strict attention to detail as it was three decades ago. Throughout the years, technology has changed and trends have come and gone. Through it all, we continue to pride ourselves on the same principles on which the company was founded – top-notch customer service and high-quality products.

WHY CHOOSE US?

Northwest Custom Apparel believes in old fashion customer service, that has been instilled into the culture by owner, Jim Mickelson, since 1977. We strive to provide the "WOW" factor each and every interaction with the customer. Many employees have over 10 years experience and the most senior employee has 25 years of producing quality and on time embroidery. We invite you into our remodeled showroom to see all our samples and new ideas to promote your company. We make ordering easy and a fun experience.

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OUR FUTURE


We are continually thinking outside of the box to provide new services, products and ideas to our customers. We believe direct-to-garment printing will be the future of t-shirt decorating and is already replacing traditional screen printing. We invested in Kornit printers, which print unlimited ink colors, using water-based inks that are environmentally friendly. Embroidery will always be our staple and we are continually investing in newer and faster embroidery machines. Owner, Jim Mickelson, always reminds us as we grow in technology, we can't forget our "Old Fashion" customer service of 40 years.

-Jim and Erik Mickelson


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