Article By: Bonnie Williamson
Photos By: Josh Triggs
These days you can find all sorts of opinions and designs on T-shirts. This simple piece of clothing is a unisex shirt named after the T shape of the body and sleeves, according to Wikipedia. It is normally associated with short sleeves, a round neckline with no collar. T-shirts are generally made of a light, inexpensive fabric, and are easy to clean.
Well, T-shirts aren’t the only way to show your opinion, pride or support for a cause or a team. Items from shot glasses to baseballs can all have their own individual logos. Creativity knows no bounds.
With that thought in mind, a Martinsburg, WV, couple has started their own business from what began as a hobby. It could blossom into a full-time effort for the couple whose “day” jobs are quite different from their Skahill Designs operation.
Anthony “AJ” and Keshia Skahill started Skahill Designs in 2015. The business is run from their home in Bunker Hill. AJ says he hopes one day to have an actual brick and mortar establishment for the business.
“We hope to continue growing,” AJ says.
Currently, customers can make appointments to come to the Skahill home to place orders or go online at skahilldesigns.com or Facebook.
What the Skahills do is offer heat transfer printing, screen printing, embroidery, window and static-cling decals, and glitter and rhinestones to customize a variety of items, including apparel, hats, drinkware, sports equipment, and accessories like phone cases, keychains, and license plates.
“Customers can look at samples of designs we have or create their own,” AJ says. “You can come in with a design you’ve drawn on a napkin, and we can put that design on anything you want.”
Keshia says they produce high quality products for local businesses, schools, sports teams, charitable organizations, and families.
“We help with fundraising efforts,” Keshia says. “We give parents an opportunity to show their students how proud they are by creating spirit wear, hoodies, T-shirts and other items for them that they can wear to events.
“One example of a sports T-shirt for a proud parent reads: I’m a sports mom. I could be quiet but it is highly unlikely.
“We love to make people’s visions come to life,” Keshia says. “We’ll create something that’s unique to them. You want glitter and rhinestones on a shirt, you’ll get glitter and rhinestones. And there are no minimums. If you want only one T-shirt, we’ll make only one.”
Some of the options for T-shirt designs include the Show Your Pride category, where citizens of the Mountain State can show off their heritage. The Show Your Pride category features different designs that include the logo Coal Mines, Moon Shine and Good Times, Wild Wonderful West Virginia; Love Your Roots with a map of West Virginia with roots on it, and a T-Shirt with Love then a glittery map of West Virginia.
“If we can’t make something, we’ll find someone who can,” AJ says.
The Skahills’ young children, four-year-old Adalynn and three-year-old Jarrett, even get involved with projects.
“They give us critiques,” Keshia says, laughing. “That’s the best thing.”
Originally from Iowa, AJ says he always had an interest in the arts. Throughout his early school years, he would draw and sketch ideas for T-shirts and album covers. “I must own about 1,000 T-shirts myself. I just always thought I could do those designs better than the stuff I was seeing,” he says.
He considered majoring in art/graphics in college, but had a change of heart, pursuing a criminal justice career with a degree in criminology from the University of Northern Iowa. He did some work on the border of the United States and Mexico before meeting Keshia, who was part owner of a gym in Texas. He began helping her design outfits for the gym’s customers.
Keshia, who is originally from Montana, has family in the Eastern Panhandle. The couple moved to the area when both attained jobs at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP, in Harpers Ferry, WV. The CBP is one of the world’s largest law enforcement organizations and is charged with keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. while facilitating lawful international travel and trade. The men and women of CBP are responsible for enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations.
Working at the CBP during the day then coming home to Skahill Designs to continue their busy day is not a stretch for the couple.
“I’ve been told as long as you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life,” AJ says.
Keshia says she loves the community where they live. She also enjoys working with customers. AJ agrees.
“We choose to live here. It’s our home and we like to give back to the community when we can,” he says.
One of the couple’s favorite fundraisers was held last year to help victims of flooding in the state that affected 44 counties, taking 23 lives and destroying more than 1,600 homes.
“We made West Virginia Strong T-shirts and all proceeds were donated for purchasing cleaning supplies that were delivered to southern West Virginia,” Keshia says. “It was a huge success and we loved the communities’ support.”The Skahills had a booth at the Jefferson County Fair in Kearneysville, WV, this past August, offering discounts. The fair, in its 65th year, is a family tradition for many area residents.
Along with supporting the community and state, Keshia said she is also glad to help keep AJ’s love of art alive.
“I get to support AJ’s passion for the arts and designing,” she says.
And the Skahills’ talents are appreciated. One review on Facebook says, “Skahill Designs far exceeded our expectations! They provide a wide selection of different clothing options and truly allow their customers to customize their clothing down to every detail. The merchandise we ordered from them is for everyday wear (work uniform) and after many washes still looks brand new! I recommend them to anyone looking for a custom design. We will definitely be purchasing orders with Skahill Designs in the future.”
For more information, call Skahill Designs at 304-283-9552.