George Watkins’ interest in drawing and graphic design flourished after placing his first order of customized screen-printed T-shirts with Robert Hattaway in 2001. The Sparta native followed his dream and opened his very own screen printing business 13 years later called GW3 Designs.
“I’ve been drawing since I was 5 years old. My childhood dream was to become an entrepreneur and have the world’s biggest screen printing business,” the 32 year-old said Thursday. “[Hattaway] taught me the basics of screen printing. He printed my first 500 T-shirts for me that I had designed. I sold the shirts out of the trunk of my car, and within the first month, I made $3,500. I went out and bought myself a Mustang.”
After receiving so many T-shirt requests from friends and family members, Watkins eventually purchased a Yudu screen printing machine to begin creating his designs at a more reasonable cost.
“I printed T-shirts out of my house for parties, reunions and just personal designs while I was working at Central State Hospital as a CNA. I had a lot of requests, so I bought my first table-top press that does everything all in one,” Watkins said. “I left Central State in December 2012 and I took on screen printing full-time.”
Watkins works with customers to create one-of-a-kind designs at the bright orange and white building of GW3 Designs, located across the street from Baldwin High School at 158 Highway 49 W.
“I give special discounts to schools, churches, organizations and law enforcement and referral discounts,” he said. “I can screen print and engrave on hats, gloves, shoes, scarves, baby clothing, tablecloths and even car seats. I can also do lettering on cars, and print on coffee mugs, pens, glasses and spoons.”
There is no minimum order quantity and turnaround time is about three to four business days. Watkins said he also creates T-shirts for Brick Squad Monopoly, a record label started by the mainstream rapper Waka Flocka Flame of Atlanta.