We are excited to share the milestones and history that built this company into what it is today. I hope it will help you to understand what we value, showcase our ambitions, and give you a glimpse into this incredible ride that our team is on.
Greg Wallis, Director, Passion Sports Custom
The first t-shirt
It wasn’t pretty.
It wasn’t bad either.
It wasn’t even printed by us.
But it was the humble beginning of Passion Sports.
Passion Sports began in 2006 when the ‘company’ was nothing more than a batch of custom printed t-shirts being sold at basketball courts and camps throughout Victoria, BC. $25 a piece, $20 for friends, and free if your name was Steve Nash. Prices included tax and door-to-door delivery in Greg’s parent’s Dodge Caravan.
Each shirt had the brand’s motto printed on the back: “PS — I Work Harder.” The odds are pretty good that if you played organized basketball in British Columbia between 2006–2016 that you’ve seen one.
300+ t-shirts sold
PASSION SPORTS BASKETBALL CAMP
In the summer of 2007, we launched the first ever Passion Sports Basketball Camps. Youth summer basketball camps were held across the province over the years, even a trip up to the Yukon
Passion Sports Basketball Camps were the perfect vehicle to get our t-shirts out on the masses. With over 300 young athletes participating, we were pushing hundreds of shirts out into the basketball community.
The shirts were still being printed by “the other guys”. Our frustrations with service were growing.
10 summer camps
300+ young athletes
THE FIRST PRINTING PRESS
In September 2009, finally fed up with the service and pricing of “the other guys”, Passion Sports officially began self-production. Passion Sports bought a Riley Hopkins 6-colour manual screen printing press and the other equipment required to prep and print on apparel.
1 Riley-Hopkins manual printing press
1 residential garage headquarters
The first (real) OFFICE
After 6 months of operating our production facility out of Greg’s parents garage, we moved to our first true office and production space; a (slightly) larger garage in Downtown Victoria with an adjoining showroom and office space.
It was a run down building in one of the least desirable neighbourhoods of our city – featuring one window, one door, and zero parking spaces. Likely not up to fire code, 1412 Quadra Street was our headquarters for 3 years.
It was here that we were able to hire production staff, grow our business development team, and build our reputation as a trustworthy supplier locally and abroad.
1 commercial garage headquarters
180 custom apparel orders completed
The old Passion Sports logo (affectionately known as the PS Guy) had served us well but, as we began to focus on custom apparel and explore new markets, it was time to freshen up the look. The Passion Sports Custom logo was born, ready to be adorned to thousands of items in the coming year.
We were still selling our Passion Sports branded apparel, but the new logo helped us to differentiate our services.
We started to grow a name for ourselves as custom apparel suppliers, and it was time to really push into that market.
2 Riley-Hopkins manual presses
647 all-time orders completed
12,000+ items produced in 2012
2013 was a big year for Passion Sports. We didn’t change offices, we didn’t add production capacity, but we started working with new suppliers and developing tech solutions that would help our custom apparel business grow.
We added Under Armour as a supplier.
We launched our first online store platform for schools & organizations.
We landed our first high volume contract of 3,000 shirts… yes, these were printed by hand.
2 Riley-Hopkins manual presses
1376 all-time orders completed
24,000+ items produced in 2013
Ready to Explode
The garage was cramped, boxes lined our hallways, and we still had no parking. It was time to leave 1412 Quadra behind and find a new headquarters.
1950 Government street
After seeing a few places in town, we found a great home in 1950 Government Street. About 2000 sq ft of warehouse space (turned production) with offices and a showroom in the front. Customer parking, centrally located, and prominent; it was the perfect upgrade for our growing team.
Hired our first remote salesperson (shout out, Marty!)
Embraced our second (real) headquarters
2 Riley-Hopkins manual presses
2163 all-time orders produced
31,000+ items produced in 2014
Here We Come
With the new space afforded to us by our new location, it was time to increase our production capacity. An automatic press would increase our production capabilities, allowing potential printing speeds of up to 500 shirts per hour.
With the upgrade of the S-Roque automatic press to our facility, we were able to greatly increase our production capacity and start targeting higher volume customers with more competitive pricing. This opened up a whole new side to our business and gave us the ability to start working with bigger brands and organizations.
Nearly doubled the amount of items produced in 2014
Won our first large multi-year merchandising contract
Crossed 10 employees for the first time in company history
3444 all-time orders produced
50,000+ items produced in 2015
With our increased production capabilities, it was time to focus on increasing our internal efficiencies and our abilities to provide great, quick customer service to our clients, new and old.
We took a page out of Victoria’s booming tech industry an embraced tech-forward communications and cloud solutions to help manage our orders.
NEXT LEVEL STITCHING
Our biggest addition in 2016 was our new embroidery machine. All of our embroidery had been handled through relationships with contractors, but our order load was getting to the point that we needed to bring it in-house.
Bringing embroidery production in-house allowed us the ability to increase or embroidery capacity, decrease our embroidery turnaround times, and ensure that everything was being processed at the high standard we hold ourselves to.
Purchased a Tajima embroidery machine
Launched the Academy program for college and university students
5,595 all-time orders produced
82,000+ items produced in 2016
THE BIRTH OF PS.BOT
2017 rolled around and it was time for a mascot. We felt that a robot (a spokesbot) embodied our drive for efficiency, while still keeping some fun in the business. After a few iterations, PS.bot was born and is a rampant contributor to our newsletters & e-mails, ever-present in our internal communications, and found on stickers throughout our headquarters.
Launched a new in-house order management system with built-in SMS & e-mail notifications for our customers
7,445 all-time orders produced
105,000+ items produced in 2016
Here we go
We are only partway through 2018, but it’s already tracking to be a cornerstone year for Passion Sports, on our path to become Canada’s most trusted custom apparel supplier.
We have some great projects in the works that will help our team be more efficient and continue to provide outstanding service to our growing client base. We look forward to continuing to expand across the country (Hello, PEI!), working tirelessly to help make ordering custom apparel easier and more enjoyable for our fellow Canadians.
14 employees and counting
8,390 all-time orders produced (so far)
60,000+ items produced in 2018 (so far)