Bill Windsor Launched a Magazine Publishing Company in 1977

Bill Windsor Launched a Magazine Publishing Company in 1977.

In 1977, William M. Windsor launched IMPRESSIONS Magazine as the magazine for what Bill named the “imprinted sportswear industry.”¬† Business #12.

First edition of Impressions Magazine in May 1977
First edition of Impressions Magazine in May 1977

In quite a coup, Bill was able to get Farrah Fawcett for the cover of the premiere issue of IMPRESSIONS.

After the first two issues, Bill and Barbara sold The Wear-House, The Graphics House, and The Shirt Tale line.

Bill retained the manufacturing business for ShirtCans.

Bill moved the publishing company to the Dallas, Texas area – Richardson, Texas.

The magazine is still going strong after 45 years.

Bill Windsor Created Shirtcans – a Paint-Your-own T-shirt

Bill Windsor Created Shirtcans – a Paint-Your-own T-shirt.

After a trip to Atlanta where Bill Windsor saw hand-painted T-shirts in boutiques in Buckhead, he came up with the idea of a do-it-yourself hand-painted T-shirt.¬† He wanted a catchy name, and ShirtCans was born. “You wear what we can.”

Bill Windsor invented ShirtCans in1976
Bill Windsor invented ShirtCans in1976

A variety of designs were offered.  Each can contained a white T-shirt printed with a black outline design, four acrylic fabric paints, a paintbrush, and instructions.  After a test at local K-Mart stores, Bill flew to New York and wore out the soles on a pair of shoes walking all over town to make sales calls on apparel buyers.  Then he flew to Chicago where he received a large test order from Sears.

Bill returned to Orlando very excited, and he opened a manufacturing facility at 119 W. Kaley Boulevard in Orlando.  Business #10.

1976 ShirtCans ad
1976 ShirtCans ad

In addition to manufacturing and distributing ShirtcCans to retail chains, the product was also offered to the advertising specialty industry and to premium companies.

Rich Sarver was a very talented artist who did all the art for ShirtCans
Rich Sarver was a very talented artist who did all the art for ShirtCans

Rich Sarver was the talented artist who created the designs for the ShirtCans and the labels and promotional material.  Incredibly talented!

Bill Windsor Launched a Company to Distribute Products to the Advertising Specialty Industry

After several years as a retailer, screen printer, and manufacturer, Bill Windsor launched a company to distribute apparel products to the advertising specialty industry.  The business was called The Shirt Tale.  Business #11.

The Shirt Tale brochure 1976
The Shirt Tale brochure 1976

The Shirt Tale had beautiful catalogs to promote its line of imprinted sportswear, heat transfers, and related products.

How to Sell T-shirts book 1976
How to Sell T-shirts book 1976

Bill Windsor published a book titled “How To Sell T-shirts.”

ShirtCan distributor Robert Grant with Bill Windsor in Brussels Belgium
ShirtCan distributor Robert Grant with Bill Windsor in Brussels Belgium

Bill and Barbara began exhibiting at advertising specialty trade shows.

Bill met people like Robert Grant, who signed a contract to distribute Bill’s products in Belgium and France.

 

 

The Wear-House expanded to a 6,000-square-foot store in Winter Park, Florida.

New location of The Wear-House on 17 -92 in Orlando
New location of The Wear-House on 17 -92 in Orlando

Bill divided the 6,000-square-foot space into a 4,000-square-foot retail space, a 1,500-square-foot screen printing shop, and a 500-square-foot office.

It was a big freestanding building on Highway 17-92 in Winter Park, just South of Fairbanks Avenue.

 

1976 Wear-House staff opening party
1976 Wear-House staff opening party

The Wear-House staff at the grand opening party.

Wear-House view from McDonalds of early days in 1976
Wear-House view from McDonalds of early days in 1976

The building was located right next door to McDonald’s.

Bill decided he should try to attract the customers from McDonald’s.¬† He cut a window and door to the McDonald’s parking lot, but it appeared to be tiny on the 120-foot long building.

So, Bill had Rich Sarver create some cartoon characters wearing imprinted sportswear.

Mural drawing on side of The Wear-House
Mural drawing on side of The Wear-House

The characters were 10-feet tall, but the mural still seemed really small.

More mural work on The Wear-House 1976
More mural work on The Wear-House 1976

Bill had Rich Sarver continue to create characters.¬† Rich painted the outline of the art on the wall, and people were invited to come paint.¬† When it was done, the 120-foot x 10-foot mural became the World’s Largest Cartoon Mural.¬† And most of the customers for The Wear-House came in from the door next to McDonald’s parking lot.

Bill Windsor Built an Advertising Specialties Business in Orlando Florida

After a year off the busy Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida, Bill was able to convince wealthy orange grove owner and real estate owner, Jerry Chicone, to rent him a 1,600-square-foot store at 435 Park Avenue South.  The impact was a huge increase in retail sales.

With this move, Bill acquired an advertising specialties business from Tom Bonneville and expanded it into a retail operation.  Bill sold over 100,000 items that could be personalized for businesses, clubs, and more.  Business #9.

Bill’s biggest advertising specialties client was Disney.¬† Bill sold all of the Do Not Disturb signs and shower caps used in the original hotels at Walt Disney World.

To expand on Park Avenue, Bill needed some money.  With the support of dear old Dad, Bill borrowed $10,000 from Sun First National Bank.  He did manage to repay it.

A fabulous cartoonist, West Reid, did the artwork for The Wear-House.

The business had a number of products that schools could sell for fundraising projects.


 

1972 Wear-House - Bill Windsor with display of rings
1972 Wear-House – Bill Windsor with a display of rings

Bill Windsor

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Bill Windsor opened a store in Winter Park Florida named The Wear-House

When Bill Windsor and Barbara moved to Florida from Rolling Meadows, Illinois, Bill Windsor opened a store in Winter Park Florida named The Wear-House.  Business #7.

1972 Wear-House - Bill Windsor with display of rings
1972 Wear-House – Bill Windsor with display of rings

The Wear-House was an expanded version of the retail store he opened as a college student at Texas Tech.

Bill and Barbara sold a full line of fraternity and sorority merchandise, but they also had a heat transfer machine and sold imprinted T-shirts, customized while the customer was there.

Barbara Windsor at check out counter at The Wear-House in 1972
Barbara Windsor at Barbara Windsor at check out counter at The Wear-House in 1972

We didn’t have much money, so our decor consisted of free pickle barrels and orange crates obtained from local restaurants and fruit stands.¬† The wall decor was for sale.¬† We didn’t have a good location, just off busy Park Avenue.¬† We survived because I was selling to fraternities¬†and sororities all over Central Florida.

 

 

Billy Windsor Received an Omen at 4-Years-Old

This is Billy Windsor at the age of four.

There really wasn’t such a thing as an imprinted T-shirt back then, but I’m sure wearing one.

What’s extra special about this photo is that in 1977, I launched the magazine and trade show for the T-shirt business.¬† Impressions Magazine and the Imprinted Sportswear Shows have been credited with creating an industry.¬† I have been known as the “father of the imprinted sportswear industry.”¬† I guess that now makes me, William M. Windsor, the grandfather.¬† Impressions Magazine and the Imprinted Sportswear Shows are still going after 42 years.

Billy Windsor Baby Book 1948
Billy Windsor Baby Book 1948

Baby book for Billy Windsor.