by Jay Prasuhn
Ed. Note—today, another in our "Meet the W" series, which features the people who make your kits possible. Jay Prasuhn checks in with one of the most important, but least visible, people in the Wattie Ink. chain.
Wattie Ink. has built its name not just on the strength of its counter-culture designs or its successes at the races, but on the kits we wear as team or club athletes. The artists that create the designs for Heather Jackson, Andy Potts, Sam Appleton, Josh Amberger, Rachel McBride to name a few, also create the team kits we see out at the races. Those kits range from the Wattie Ink. Elite Team to your local club, but they don’t magically come together. Among a dream team of creative minds and talented seamstresses, it’s likely the behind-the-scenes team member that has one of the biggest jobs, the one that keeps Wattie Ink. a well-oiled machine, makes sure your team’s kit fits, and gets it there in time for race season.
Important job, right? That role falls to Brittany Holmes.
On the Wattie Ink. team for just over a year, Holmes can thank her dad. “My father-in-law knows the guys here, and they go riding together,” Holmes says. “I’d just quit my job as a teller at a credit union, and he heard they needed an account manager.” She wasn’t 100 percent sure what that meant, but she was ready to change gears. Within a few months, a part-time gig turned into a full-time job. Brittany was charged with being the Wattie Ink. Account Manager.
What did that mean? It was no small task; Holmes was in charge of managing the custom apparel process. If you’re on a team that wears a Wattie Ink. custom team kit, your team director will have worked with Brittany very closely. “I walk our clients through the custom process,” Holmes says. “I get them started by assigning an artist, then we talk through team colors, sponsor logos, and what they want in their design.”
It’s an intimate process Holmes enjoys. “We don’t give customers a template. Instead, I like to spend time to know the client, getting an idea of what they really want. Once concepts are created, we send a ‘mini marker,’ or a small version of a jersey on fabric is sent to clients to allow them to visualize the look and feel.” Once the client says it’s a go, Holmes sends the final rendering to the team, and the kits go into production.
That’s the fun part. Holmes also looks after the back end: getting it all done on time. Once the season starts, that’s where she shines. “I really have to make sure we hit deadlines,” she says. “I make sure the artists stay on top of their dates, and that communication is really clear. I see it all through to production, submit the orders, and see it delivered. In terms of getting the custom process finished,” she adds with a laugh, “I’m basically the glue that holds everything together.
“People really seem to appreciate that we do everything in-house, and that we’re so thorough,” Holmes says. “I’m glad I can literally provide clients the visuals of seeing their stuff from beginning to end, making sure the art they get is the vision they wanted from the start.”
Plus, there’s just the joy of seeing athletes out in the kits she quarterbacks from concept to reality. “I’m totally a cheerleader,” Holmes says, her wide smile reflecting that truism. “I’m so happy to see my clients in their gear, and when I hear back that it exceeds their expectations with the way it looks and feels—I love getting that feedback!”