Welcome to Northwest Custom Apparel!

How we started

Northwest Custom Apparel is a family owned company which started in 1977 as Northwest Embroidery. Founder, Jim Mickelson, initially sold embroidered caps to fellow Alaska Pipeline employees with patches that he has sewn himself.  After selling 300 caps in 3 days, he realized that he has hit on a great business idea. Pretty soon, Jim was making more money selling hats than he has ever made working for Atlantic Richfield!

To make up for orders, Jim moved out from a rental location in Tacoma to the company’s current facility in Milton which has two buildings and the space that they needed to house more equipment and staff. From a single 11-head embroidery machine to high tech computerized embroidery machines that can handle more work than ever before, Northwest Custom Apparel has become one of the most preferred local embroidery company with thousands of satisfied customers.

Jim is now joined by his son,Erik, who is bringing Northwest Custom Apparel into the future. But even if technologies and trends change, Northwest Custom Apparel still prides in the same principles that have led to its success since it started – special attention to detail, high quality products and amazing customer service.

Northwest proudly represents major apparel manufacturers like Nike, Cutter & Buck, Eddie Bauer, Port Authority, New Era caps and so many more.

Experienced Team

Northwest Custom Apparel is turning forty and this means that they must be doing something right! A huge part of their success is from the work of highly-skilled and experienced embroidery technicians and manufacturing technicians. Most of their staff ffdh.ave been around for 30 years while some 20, proof that the company is able to maintain quality all these years!

  • Jim Mickelson - CEO
  • Erik Mickelson - Operations Manager
  • Tracy Murphy - General Manager
  • Taylar Hanson - Key Account Manager
  • Randy Fountain - Art Director
  • Neil Russell - Bookkeeper
  • Judy Pacheco - Admin Assistant
  • Ruth Nhoung - Production Manager
  • Ken Bines - Direct-to-Garment Operator
  • Sharon Benjamin - Sample Department


Northwest Custom Apparel is the “Cadillac of the Embroidery Trade.” Since it started in 1977, it has created more than 45,000 designs. The family owned company is preferred than other online embroidery companies because it offers actual embroidery services with an actual factory. And while most of their customers are just located nearby, Northwest Custom Apparel has also worked with remotely-located companies and businesses.





Another thing that sets Northwest Custom Apparel from the rest is their special attention to quality. Customers are given samples of an actual decorated garment before a project is begun. Customers may also be given a jpg sample in case an order is made in a hurry. Once the customer approves the sample, these are immediately taken to the factory floor for manufacturing.

Northwest Custom Apparel also has state-of-the-art Kornit digital printers that can handle rush screen print orders that needs to be delivered the same day. The entire team works in producing quality work with special attention to deadlines set. Should there be any complaints with the final product; Northwest’s team makes the necessary corrections within 24 hours.


Northwest Custom Apparel's goal is to provide outstanding customer service and apparel that exceeds the customer's expectations.We work hard to make decisions in the best interest of our customers and those serving them.


If you take a look around our website, you should be able to tell quickly that we’ve gone and changed our logo and branding. We here at Northwest Custom Apparel are excited to now give our name a cleaner, more modern look that we feel is a better fit with the evolution of our brand. After quite a number of drafts, we eventually decided on a version that wasn’t a total departure from Northwest Embroidery, but an identity that we will be the best custom apparel company in the Pacific Northwest.

Our first logo was created by a freelance artist back in 1977, the very first year we opened our doors for business. It featured a rainbow shape that curved into a thread shaped like a mountain - the thread representing embroidery and the mountain representing our Northwest locale. Throughout more than three decades since, only minor changes had been made to this original design, notably the shape of the rainbow and the colors inside. Now our branding and logo focuses a modern edge to showcase our custom designs, and how we are NOT your embroidering grandma.