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Entrepreneur's designs, shirts help high school athletics

By - Dec 22, 2017

By Allison Wdowiak/For The Sporting Nation

     PHOENIX -- Gabriel Sanchez has taken his experience with graphic design to create a way for local Arizona schools to fundraise for athletic programs and events.

                 Sanchez, who has worked with graphics programs for the past 15 years, headed in the direction of custom apparel when his daughter Alyssa was in elementary school about 8 years ago. 
“I volunteered to be a part of the school’s Dads Club which helps out with raising funds for school events and sports activities,” said Sanchez. “I suggested that I could set up an online store and make the PE shirts, polos, sweaters, etc., so doing this lead me to making custom shirts for high school teams.”
           Tempe High School’s Football Booster Club president Michelle Cason is among Sanchez's growing list of clients. Sanchez made shirts for the school he attended. 
            The shirts started selling about three weeks into the season, and were sold at games and online. Every penny goes towards funding the freshman, junior varsity and varsity football teams.
             “Each shirt is $20 and there were a few designs and patterns to choose from,” Cason said. A custom shirt with the player’s name and number would be an additional charge of $8. 
            Other items selling next to the shirts are authentic Hawaiian kukui leis that are painted the Buffaloes’ school colors and stamped with the school’s logo, for $20 each, as well as $5 logo fans to keep the crowd cool on hot nights. 
            Kathy Melvin, Tempe High School’s Booster Club treasurer, said pre-order sales totaled 50 shirts sold in less than a week, homecoming week sold another 25, and “on average seven shirts are sold each game throughout the season.”
            Sanchez does all of the designs from scratch himself and works from home. “When I first started out the turnaround times were three or four days, now because of the types of orders and order quantities, it’s now a typical two-week turnaround,” he said. The graphic design work comes in his spare time, when he isn't at his full-time job.

            Sanchez operates his own website, where some of his work is showcased. 

            Sanchez has also made shirts for his daughter's school, St. Mary's in Phoenix, and Tolleson High School. The holiday season has him incredibly busy, as family members and friends have placed orders for custom items.
            Sanchez keeps costs down by cutting out shipping from the equation. His wife Suzanne helps with social media and referrals for work keep coming. He's made shirts for special occassions, family trips and sports events, including his daughter's Senior Night for cheer and volleyball. 

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