Member Spotlight: P&M Apparel

PRINTING United Alliance is grateful to serve its members who make such significant impacts on the printing industry. Through our Member Spotlights, we continue to recognize our members, and help our community get to know their peers better, both professionally and personally. The following is a Q&A with Alliance member Ryan Toney, co-owner of P&M Apparel, headquartered in Polk City, Iowa.

Can you please provide a brief history/background on your company? Do you plan to keep P&M Apparel a family-owned business moving forward?

Ryan and Megan from P&M Apparel

P&M Apparel is a third-generation-owned family business specializing in custom apparel and promotional products, based in Polk City, Iowa. We were founded in 1987 by Phyllis and Melvin Richardson, our grandparents. The company started in their basement as a new career after their farming and home remodeling ventures. The company moved to Polk City in 1998 when our mom, Kay Ferin, joined and eventually took over the business with her husband, Rob. Megan, my co-owner and sister, joined the company full time 12 years ago, and I joined nine years ago when Megan needed to go on maternity leave. Megan and I purchased the company from Mom and Rob last June.

We’ve grown significantly over the years, offering high-quality products and exceptional customer service to small businesses, groups, organizations, and teams both locally and globally. We pride ourselves on building strong relationships with clients, focusing on customer service and attention to detail. This approach has led to a high rate of repeat customers and referrals, making up nearly 90% of our business.

We’re also active in building up the decorated apparel community, hosting Flyover Con, a conference for apparel decorators featuring expert-led panels, demonstrations, and networking opportunities for decorators based in the Midwest. We’re certainly open to the idea of the fourth-generation taking over, but want it to be their choice, not shoehorned into it. Megan and I were both given freedom to pursue other careers before the stars aligned and we both ended up working in the family business that we said we wouldn’t ever work for.

Sustainability is currently top of mind in the apparel industry. What is P&M Apparel doing to implement more sustainable practices in its service offerings? 

Where possible, we like to use sustainable brands and fabrics to minimize environmental impact. We reuse the boxes our blanks come in instead of custom printing boxes for every order. Our used screen-printing testers get turned into dog beds and donated to the local animal rescue. Our reclaiming area also runs through several filters to remove anything toxic from the run off.

We try to use the minimum amount of paper every day, relying on systems like Printavo and Chipply to run production and quoting. At the end of the day, the most sustainable shirt you own is the one you never throw away, so we strive to make sure every garment that goes out our door is a keeper.

When did P&M Apparel start the “P&M Apparel Shirts for Scholarships Fund” and how many scholarships have you awarded to students in the North Polk area so far?

Shirts for Scholarships is relatively new to us. We started the program in 2021 as a branch of our give back efforts to the local community. We just recently awarded the fourth and fifth recipients the 2024 scholarships. As we continue to grow, that scholarship amount and the number of recipients will as well.

What are some future goals for your operation (where do you see your company headed in 5 years)?

For the last five years we’ve been expanding at an incredible rate, which makes it a little difficult to forecast what the next five years will looks like. Some pretty consistent goals are:

• Make every process more streamlined, and easier to understand/pick up from scratch.

Make the client experience easier and more enjoyable so they can focus on what their printed apparel or promo product needs are.

Make our employees’ jobs easier, quicker, more efficient, and more sustainable.

• Give back to our community through things like Shirts for Scholarships, sponsorships, volunteering, and other opportunities. This year, we hosted a conference for people in the industry, specifically in the Midwest, to grow a sense of community in an area that’s been pretty competitive and closed off. We’d love to see that continue to grow and improve.

Why did you decide to join the Alliance? What resources do you plan to or have already utilized through your membership?

We’re relatively new to the Alliance, so we haven’t had the chance to plan out what resources we will be using. That being said, we will be attending the Decorated Apparel Summit which is presented by PRINTING United Alliance. We joined because we believe in this industry and what the future of the industry looks like. We know there is a lot of knowledge in this community and we want to be a part of that.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

The most important parts of our business revolve around legacy. We’re out here every day trying to honor the legacy our grandparents started in their basement 37 years ago, and the legacy of our single mom of three kids, who grew the business to become. There’s history and story in everything we do. We also recognize that every person who walks in our door is bringing their own legacies with them, their own stories to tell and cherish. We want to honor those legacies in how we do business and how we tell the stories people have entrusted us with, whether it’s a client or an employee.

For more information on P&M Apparel, visit their website at