The founder of CustomInk, the $200 million-grossing T-shirt company based in Fairfax County, is splitting his job in two and hiring a new president to help guide the firm’s growing appetite for expansion.
Marc Katz, 37, who will remain as chief executive, is hiring Nick Braden, who has worked as a manager at a Swedish bed-making company, at McLean-based Mars Inc. and at L’Occitane, the French cosmetics company.
Braden also has experience laying the groundwork for companies that later go public, although CustomInk has not signaled any intention of going public at this time.
In an e-mail to his staff Tuesday, Katz said Braden “brings a broad skill set and excellent track record of growing quality companies that truly care about their people, customers, products, and partners.”
Braden’s hiring is further evidence that CustomInk, which began in 2000 in an office-space sublet from a McLean law firm, is revving up to grow. In November, it received a $40 million investment from Revolution Growth, the local venture fund known for its tech-savvy founders Steve Case, Ted Leonsis and Donn Davis.
Katz said in his e-mail that he will take a more strategic role in the firm, overseeing new initiatives and focusing on business development and finances.
CustomInk allows customers to design T-shirts for family reunions, small businesses, religious groups or student associations online. Picture 50 T-shirts emblazoned with “The Smith Family Reunion” or 150 baseball caps marking the local 5K fundraiser.
Braden, a native of Scotland who lives in the Washington area with his wife and two children, begins Aug. 11.
Part of what drew Katz to Braden was his belief that products can change lives, which is Katz’s philosophy on T-shirts.
As chief executive of Hastens, a Swedish luxury bed maker, Braden shifted the company’s marketing focus from selling mattresses to improving a customer’s daily life through better sleep.
As general manager for North America for L’Occitane, he helped build the company’s U.S. business as it laid the groundwork for an eventual initial public offering.
CustomInk expects to gross more than $200 million this year. It recently surpassed 1,000 employees and has facilities in Nevada, southwest Virginia and Texas. The company also runs national television commercials. It recently moved from McLean to bigger officers in Fairfax.
Earlier this year, CustomInk had its first $1 million-plus day of T-shirt orders.
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