American Made for 75 Years: How Bandanna Promotions by Caro-Line Became the Nation’s Only Operation With Four Imprint Methods
In 1946, Malcolm P. “Mack” Niven founded Greenville, South Carolina-based Carolina Manufacturing—home to the Hav-A-Hank handkerchief. It has since become the leading bandanna manufacturer in the U.S. Its American roots have remained strong 75 years after its launch, as it continues to sell its bandanna lines, such as Hav-A-Hank, in retail outlets; and its logo-friendly designs through promotional product distributors.
“Bandanna Promotions has evolved over its 75-year existence, but one thing has always remained consistent—its status as an American-made business,” Pam Scott, national sales director at Bandanna Promotions by Caro-Line, the promotional division of Carolina Manufacturing, said. “Our original 22” bandannas have remained the same, but we have developed our line to include more unique styles, sizes and colors, as well as an array of other wearable fabric accessories.”
Bandanna Promotions entered the promotional products scene in 1985 when then-owner Fendrich Industries—which purchased the company in 1963—joined industry associations. A year later, Fendrich acquired Carolina Yarn Processors, an 86,000 square foot facility in Tryon, N.C., that dyes and finishes cotton and synthetic yarns for high-end home furnishing weavers and its sister manufacturing company. In 1996, he developed a 39,000 square foot facility in Union, S.C., to house Union County Printworks in order to serve the quick turnaround time and printing needs the promo industry demanded.
The printing arm of the company is responsible for bleaching and preparing greige goods that are then sent to the Greenville, S.C., turnkey production facility in 750-yard rolls of cloth that measure 45” wide. It’s there that orders are cut, sewn, printed and fulfilled. From Hav-a-Hank and the original paisley bandanna to newer products, like Pick-a-Pillow and Fashion-Danna, Bandanna Promotions continues its growth in 2021 while it strengthens and maintains its roots in custom textile USA production. Continue reading to learn how bandannas are printed via rotary, duplex, silkscreen and digital options in the nation’s only four imprint processes operation.
Large runs are typically best suited for rotary printing, which uses eco-friendly, water-based pigment dyes that absorb into the white cloth and create a softer bandanna. The white rolls run through the rotary machine where up to eight colors can be printed. The result is truer colors and optimal PMS matches. The printed pieces are then cut and sewn domestically. This method, which has a 2,500-piece minimum, also offers more ink colors, faster production and a lower price than its screen print counterpart.
For paisley printing, Bandanna Promotions outsourced work to other U.S. companies that did dye and discharge printing for paisley designs, but when its partners’ production moved overseas, Fendrich invested in a custom made duplex machine to keep the company’s printing stateside. While a different process, duplex printing still achieves the same result—a two-sided print as opposed to a mirrored image on the back. This proprietary print method is now also used for custom prints and is exclusive to Bandanna Promotions within the promo industry. It requires a 10,000-piece minimum and a two-color maximum design.
Like rotary, duplex is also printed onto white fabric rolls before being cut and sewn in Greenville, S.C. It is also available on 22” bandannas and large pet triangles.
Smaller runs of at least 144 pieces are best served by screen printing although it can accommodate larger order sizes, as well. The fabric is dyed and then cut and sewn into blanks at its manufacturing facility. The blanks are then ready for this one-sided imprint with up to six spot colors. Unlike rotary, the ink rests on top of the fabric and, therefore, can be felt. In addition to maintaining a vast inventory of USA-made bandannas, Bandanna Promotions also imports certain blank styles in select colors for very competitive bid situations.
Silk screen is available on 22” and 27” bandannas; small, large and extra-large triangles; and 14” hankies.
Digital runs on a large format, flatbed inkjet printer provide 100% custom, edge-to-edge designs printed on white cloth. This method can replicate detailed custom designs, including photographs, for an added impact. It supports low minimums, unlimited color options and no screen or set up fees.
“We are proud to be an American manufacturer,” Scott said. “Our owner could have followed other textile mills overseas, but he chose to keep the business right here in the Carolinas. Being stateside offers a lot of perks for our customers. When playoff and championship game results aren’t final until the last out or final seconds of a game, we can wait until the score is final to produce and ship a large number of Wave-A-Hankies and Spirit-Dannas. We cherish being able to meet our clients’ needs in ways we wouldn’t be able to do if we relied on overseas manufacturers.”