This story was originally published in Downtown Kenosha Magazine, issue 4, 2020, Fall/Winter.
The Lettering Machine covers many areas of promoting your business/organization. They focus on embroidery, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, screen printing, in-house graphic design, promotional items and web stores. They love working with the customers to help them achieve a look that represents their business properly at a cost that will work within their budget.
From tees to hoodies, from jackets to sweaters and from coffee mugs to pens, The Lettering Machine offers many options for you to showcase your logo or design. Putting a logo on apparel and promotional items is a great way to showcase your business or organization. It is a form of marketing that you pay for once and it pays you back over and over. Their team is constantly learning and growing with the times and technology to ensure that their customers have the latest and greatest options to help their endeavors succeed.
Tina, what made you and your husband Dave purchase The Lettering Machine back in 2002?
Dave had a long standing relationship with the previous owners, who he had worked for when he was 15 years old. When they were ready to move on and sell, we jumped at the opportunity to purchase. It gave us the chance to have a small business that our whole family could be a part of. In addition to our daughters, many other family members and friends have worked here.
Did the Chatmon family have any experience in the world of embroidery before you bought the business?
We did NOT! At the time the business was purchased, Tina was a certified Veterinary Technician while Dave worked in the heating and cooling industry. We, our family, were trained by the previous owners in production and self taught from there.
The Lettering Machine loves to support local, will you tell us about your rebuild Kenosha/Support squad fundraiser promotions you have going on?
Cross promoting and supporting local businesses truly is important to us. We are involved in many events and work with many organizations directly. Our idea for the “Rebuild Kenosha” web store solely came from the creativity and heart of our town. We saw all the wonderful designs popping up throughout Facebook, and wanted to create a “hub” for all of them to be displayed. This also provided an outlet for funds to be distributed to the charity of the artists choice. To date the site has raised over $13,000. The response and excitement we received, has given us new ideas on how we can use this resource to continue with future fundraising efforts for our town.
What separates The Lettering Machine from other similar businesses?
We are a “one stop” shop. We offer traditional embroidery, heat printing, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing and vinyl printing. We also provide in-house graphic design and access to promotional items. Our web store program is the most popular area and growing rapidly. The convenience of this program has proven to be an asset to our customers. Our friendly customer service, creativity, attention to detail and our community involvement, are areas that we take pride in.
Your web store, theletteringmachine.com has a very cool customer store, where people can purchase some local businesses swag. This is a great way to support local, How did this get started and how has the response been?
We started our web store program out very slowly, or at least we tried. It became a VERY popular program that we offer, very quickly. It allows businesses to have another outlet for income as well as an opportunity for fundraisers to gain profit for their cause. Our stores are free of any set up/maintenance costs and we keep them “LIVE” 24/7, unless specified. Customers get to choose how much they would like to make on their items. There are some customers that just use this as an outlet for their employees to purchase uniforms or company merch and do not receive an income from it. This option has also helped during the pandemic, providing a contact free service. Either way merchandise is a great way to promote your organization or company. This just allows us to go virtual nationwide.
Let’s support local, give a shout out to some of your clients.
It is really difficult to single out specific clients, as we hold them all dear to our hearts. Their support and loyalty, especially during the hard times (2020), is touching and we are beyond grateful.
Eighteen years later, what’s next for the Chatmons and The Lettering Machine?
We look forward to continued growth of the business, customers that become long time friends, and employees that become family. We are excited to find new ways to serve our community through our business and to prepare for the next generation to continue with our legacy. We are very excited to see what the next 18 years has to offer.
Without our awesome team and family, we would not be where we are today. We would like to give a big thank you to Rosemary, Courtney, Marj, Jayna and all the others who have been with us over the years. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, we have been able to keep our business going strong and help others along the way.
The Letting Machine is located at
725 50th Street in Downtown Kenosha
For more on the Lettering Machine check out
Q&A by Donny Stancato
Photos by Samantha Vaughn of Bird of Paradox Studio