DR: Why did you start your business? How did it evolve from initial idea to what it is today?
Thomas: A good friend wanted bandanas to sell on his band tour, and we couldn’t find anybody who was interested in making them. Lots of screen printers were willing to print heavy ink on a crappy feeling piece of fabric but nobody was making actual bandanas. I then spent about 2 years figuring out how to make real bandanas.The inspiration has always been vintage Elephant Brand bandanas. The goal was to make small batch customs for brands and bands.
DR: What makes One Feather Press unique in the bandana world?
Thomas: I think we're unique because we are making private label bandanas one at a time, by hand, in small runs, in Nashville, TN. The fabric is sourced in large rolls, it’s cut, sewn, washed, dried, ironed, and extract printed.
DR: Describe some of the specific artisan techniques used in your business that contribute to the end result of your products?
Thomas: The big difference for us, is the extract printing. The dye in the fabric is basically removed (or extracted) leaving behind the artwork, which is visible from either side of the fabric. As bandanas should be.
DR: Tell us about yourself? What does a typical day look like?
Thomas: I always start my day off with coffee. A double espresso to be exact. I worked as a barista in my younger days, and my trusty Rancilio Silvia has been keeping me going for 17 years running. I’ll swing by Nashville Makers and Co to pick up the cut and sewn bandanas. In the beginning I was trying to cut and sew everything myself. I quickly realized that I needed help. The ladies at Nashville Makers and Co have been nothing short of amazing for me. Then it’s off to the workshop where I wash, dry, and iron the bandanas. Then start the extract printing, which I try to wrap up around 2 or 3pm. Another espresso, then it’s off to pick up my kids from school.
DR: Does your business have a social or humanitarian element to it?
Thomas: Well, all of the proceeds are donated to the 4 families who make the bandanas - hahaha. Really though, One Feather Press supports several youth bicycle organizations. Cycling has always been important to me, and there’s been a downward trend in youth riding bicycles. So, it’s a way for me to give back. We’ve also been part of raising money for cancer research through special bandana sales, as well as providing winter hats for the homeless.
DR: What's next? Any new ideas you are working on?
Thomas: I’m really excited about this silk fabric that I’m developing now. It’s actually a silk/cotton blend that is is super silky feeling. Other than that, I’ll just keep making bandanas one at a time.