Dynamic Designs has grown into national markets

By: 
CHRIS MCCONNELL
Outlook staff writer
Becky Volmer, who is in charge of logo and digitizing set-ups at Dynamic Designs, adjusts settings for a custom hat order on Tuesday.
Becky Volmer, who is in charge of logo and digitizing set-ups at Dynamic Designs, adjusts settings for a custom hat order on Tuesday.
Dynamic Designs founder, Don Smarsh, shows a design the company made for one of their 800 accounts, in this case Jim’s Woodcrafts of Laurel.
Dynamic Designs founder, Don Smarsh, shows a design the company made for one of their 800 accounts, in this case Jim’s Woodcrafts of Laurel.

Don Smarsh’s Dynamic Designs has evolved from a silkscreen startup in 1993 with humble ambitions to put t-shirts in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, to a national company with more than 800 accounts, including some of the larger corporations in the U.S.

The 1984 Laurel High School graduate’s business idea was born from his experience running clothing stores in Rock Springs, Wyo. and Colorado Springs, Colo.

He wanted to get back to Laurel and raise his growing family here and founded the company to create tourism products “before the industry tanked in the mid 1990s.” 

“It was tied up with the economy at the time,” he recalled.

The company doesn’t do much with tourism now, with the exception of Custer Country in Garryowen, which Smarsh said is probably the biggest [tourism-based] account.

Dynamic Designs expanded from silk screen t-shirts into embroidery fairly quickly, then started making banners, decals and promotional products, and now are firmly planted in the corporate world. 

“It was the corporate apparel that helped the business really take off,” Smarsh said. 

 

Reputation, in part, helped 

expand the business 

“Promotion helps but word of mouth is best; people find you,” he said, but acknowledged the rise of the internet helped his business immeasurably. 

“Web based marketing has made the company bigger than it could be through newspaper and television advertising.”

They also make logo-ed gear for local and regional schools, colleges and universities, including all the Laurel and MSU-B sports camps.

“We make stuff for University of Wyoming, Montana State University, University of Montana and MSU-Billings [and] we have four orders for the Miles Community College bookstore. I really like our MCC designs,” he said. 

Dynamic Designs made 800 t-shirts and 700 cinch sacks for this year’s MSU recreation sports camps in Bozeman and designed the logo for the upcoming Sam’s Run in Laurel.

“It’s a cool design that looks good. We made 900 shirts, which is big for a local event,” he said.

On the corporate side, their safety slogan t-shirts are the number one seller in the safety business, by far, and every year they make thousands that ship to manufacturers, warehouses and construction companies. 

“The safety stuff is national. We just filled a large order for a distribution warehouse in Dallas for a major retailer chain,” Smarsh said, adding “our business is 50 percent corporate logos versus 50 percent original designs.”

The company continues to be innovative and adjusts its marketing approach as technology and customer buying habits change.

Smarsh is excited for the next phase of the business;  the creation of fully custom websites where schools, booster clubs and corporations can purchase specific items for a limited time.

Dynamic Designs created one of these websites for the East-West Shrine game for each of the past two years. Players, family and friends ordered the gear early and “they were delivered a week before the game,” he said.

There is a time limit to order the products so they can be made and packaged in bulk, which brings the cost down considerably. 

“Right now we are setting up one for a regional school district to sell fan and team gear,” Smarsh said, “we email links to parents so they and the kids can order it all at once, or, if it’s corporate, we send it to the reps.”

Even though they have over 800 accounts throughout the U.S., and distribute products for several hundred companies, the staff at Dynamic Designs remains committed to their roots. 

“We wouldn’t have survived without local support over the years. We do a lot of business out of the area but Laurel has always been extremely good to us,” Smarsh said.

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