Tony Poston wants to expand his Pullman-based apparel company to 50 campuses across the country.
He’s the president and owner of College Hill Custom Threads, located above The Coug on Northeast Colorado Street.
The company is dedicated to customer convenience and providing high-quality apparel at an affordable price, he said.
“The apparel prices range depending on the amount purchased, as well as the style of clothing. We offer free shipping and free graphic design and our prices are nine times out of 10 lower than competing apparel companies,"he said. “We understand college students are buying apparel on a budget so we try to make it affordable to help them get something attractive at a good price.”
The vision Poston had in April of 2011, when the company started, was not confined to the Northwest — it was national. Just 15 months later, the company is working with Greek chapters in Florida, Boston, California and Georgia, and has order placements across 30 states with 11 employees and 30 sales representatives around the country.
Every full-time employee at the company is a Cougar alumnus, with the exception of one of the founding partners and lead graphic designer, Stephen Lloyd.
Part of Lloyd’s position in the company is to work with interns. This rapidly growing t-shirt company has employed more than a dozen WSU interns over the last three semesters and currently employs five. Interns are recruited through the Digital Technology and Culture program.
The internship requires 150 hours of work, which is three credits per semester. It offers skill development in graphic design and an opportunity to build a graphic design portfolio.
Poston, who graduated in 2007, is a member of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity and was involved in the Interfraternity Council. He does a lot of business with Greeks, he said.
Groups in the Greek community host many events represented with various kinds of apparel that students purchase.
In 2007, these t-shirts were over-priced and not worth wearing after graduation, Poston said.
“By the time I graduated I had 55 t-shirts I would never wear again,” he said.
So Poston decided to make a change.
He began his t-shirt career managing bands in Seattle with a business partner, but parted ways to pursue his own business and move back to Pullman.
The Greek community makes up about half of the company’s customers. The other half includes small businesses, nonprofit organizations, breweries, bands and high school sports teams.
Poston said throughout the last year, the company has donated more than $5,000 to schools, philanthropies and nonprofit organizations. These include the YMCA, American Red Cross, Make a Wish Foundation, DG National Foundation, Wounded Warriors and others.
“Bring your business to a former Coug,” Poston said.