By Lou Dzierzak
Founded in 1893, Olympus Flag & Banner printed its first American flag in 1914. More than a century later, the company continues to respond to new business opportunities on the horizon. Located in Milwaukee, Wisc., Olympus Flag & Banner has embraced digitally printed fabrics by investing in printing equipment, employee training, and finishing services. Olympus works with customers like Miller Brewing, Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Walt Disney, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to create unique custom printed fabrics.
“It’s a big investment but we know the market is out there. Fabric printing is all the buzz. That’s what people want now. The sky is the limit,” says Dawn Rolison, director of marketing.
Digitally printed fabrics play a central role in several of the company’s signature projects. Through a contract with International Corporate Art, Olympus has created dye-sublimated fabric swags for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
“We take an art piece and translate that into a full-blown theatrical curtain that promotes shows on the cruise ships, Rolison says. “The curtains are quite large and produced on a range of fabrics. One of the more unique pieces was dye sublimated on velour. Our in-house sewing department added crystals and beads that embellished it even further.”
Walt Disney World is another large customer for the company’s digitally printed fabrics. Olympus produces in-store signage, street banners, and other materials. “Walt Disney is synonymous with creativity. Digital printing and dye sublimation give us so much flexibility. The ability to print photo-like images on fabric just opens up so many new aspects,” she says.
With sales offices in Florida and Oklahoma, Olympus is marketing the company’s services to a national audience.
“We’re branching out to have a more solid foundation of representation across the country,” Rolison says.
State of the art digital printing equipment, a highly trained staff,and a 50,000 square foot production facility differentiate Olympus from competitors.
“We are forward-thinkers,” she says. Our employees keep their thumb on the pulse of the industry in terms of what is out there and what competitors are bringing in.”
Rolison believes that the company’s in-house sewing and finishing department offers a clear advantage. “Having that in-house adds to our creativity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person leave this facility without being wowed by what they see on the production floor,” she says.