Everyone always asks how the hell Angie got mixed up in this t-shirt gig; this is the story.
Early 2002, Angie Morelli was in the Marines and getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan when a fellow Marine was getting out of the military and had a vinyl plotter that he wanted to sell. She purchased the plotter and all of the materials and started coming up with new designs and ideas. The business was called Digital Decals and a website was set up to act as an online catalog as to what was available. She would make hundreds of decals in all different sizes and colors, trying to have at least one new one every time she went, and would go on base at MCAS New River from squadron to squadron, school house to school house, selling these decals. Soon Marines started expecting her, giving her ideas, and the word spread about these helicopter and Marine decals.
After coming back from Afghanistan fall of 2004, Angie approached an audio shop in Jacksonville called Street Sounds and started going up there every Wednesday and Saturday to sell decals, on top of selling decals on base. Soon after, she had to opportunity to have an office at Onslow Audio and sold decals out of there for a while.
She then expanded to selling decals on Ebay and out of a scrapbook store. She built up her catalog and used most of her free time making decals and learning about her plotter programs.
Summer of 2006, Angie got out of the military and opened a small kiosk in the Jacksonville Mall. It took her two weeks to build up a bunch of decals for show, make the crappy little display she made, and file all of the appropriate paperwork to open, finally opening Sept 15, 2006. Digital Decals was immediately a hit and by the middle of October it was clear they had outgrown the cart.
November 1, Digital Decals opened an in-line store with Unique Sports at the Jacksonville Mall. January 2007, all of the holiday money that was made got dumped back into the business by investing in a heat press, the machine that presses vinyl into clothing. They started with just black and white shirts and black and white vinyl, then slowly started adding more shirt colors and vinyl colors as they made more money. They added hoodies, then zip-ups, kids shirts, baby clothes… anything that a customer asked for became an idea and once it was asked for more than 3 times, it was added to the inventory.
Unique Sports moved out, My Wicked Scents moved in, and they kept cracking until they got too big for that store. Digital Decals and My Wicked Scents closed at the Jacksonville Mall that April. A loyal fan literally threw himself against the gate when they were inside packing up and said he would stay there until we opened again. Without any sort of backup plan, and nothing to tell customers besides to keep checking the website, the girls looked for a new location and found one across from MCAS New River.
They opened up their store in the strip mall around May of 2007. It did really well immediatley and Angie started thinking of selling it to move back home to Vegas. She sold it to a couple and used that money to move home and open a new store in Las Vegas. Digital Decals in Jacksonville was open till about 2013.
But Angie packed up and moved back out west. The new store needed a new name because it wasn’t just decals anymore, so after a semi-formal contest and votes from friends, “Customistic” won. Customistic opened October 18th, 2007 at The Boulevard Mall in Las Vegas, NV. Considering Customistic was opened the month after the recession started, in Las Vegas, in the Boulevard Mall… well, we will just say the next few years got interesting.
We went from getting the last store available in a shopping center in Las Vegas, to watching the recession unfold right before our eyes. After a year and a half in the first location, the wing the store was in was almost vacant. Customistic relocated to their second store in the mall.
And in February of 2011 we had to move again. The opening was delayed as mall management wouldn't honor their own lease contract, or release funds to get the space back up to par. Angie had to argue against General Growth Properties (the largest retailer in the nation) on her own to get them to remediate mold, get a gate that locked, a working A/C unit and other items that were guaranteed in her lease. But after six weeks of remodeling the third store in as many years, we re-opened in March in the back wing of the mall where the old pet store used to be. We swear to this day it was haunted with puppies of Blvd Mall past.
After only nine months in this location, we were forced to move again. That’s when we decided we were getting out and going someplace where we wouldn’t have to be closed to relocate once a year. There is actually a whole story written about this in the Review-Journal (links available here). But we decided to move to the southwest corner of Sahara and Decatur to be close enough to cater to our loyal fans, and to be centrally located and convenient for everyone else. AND WE LOVE IT.
We have been open in this location since November of 2011 and we are here to stay! We are in the same shopping complex as Mary’s Famous Hash House, GQ Cuts Barbershop, Still Smokin’ Head Shop, Aloha Kitchen & Bar, the Battery Source and many more businesses. Come get a shirt made and grab a breakfast, a haircut, weed paraphernalia, a drink or some batteries while you wait.
Settling down in this location gave Angie the ability to go back to school, being an award winning mixed media artist, an activist and become involved in politics. This store has not only been the home of our store, but also was the first home of GMO Free Vegas meetings, LV Green Community Meetings, March Against Monsanto, Anti-war actions, March Against Corruption, Nevada for Bernie Sanders, Nevada for Andrew Yang and multiple other causes. We use our location to collect donations for Project 150, for first responders after emergencies and in other times of need.
We take our position in the community seriously and we try to honor it every day.
So stop by if you need some customized crappolla (a name we considered at some point). Or just come say hi! We always have some free decals, great music, cookies, smiles, stories or something else to share.