NW Custom Apparel


Outfitting the Puget Sound and beyond since 1977

We started as Northwest Embroidery back in 1977 by Jim Mickelson almost by accident.  At the time, Jim was traveling from Washington to Alaska every other week to work as an administration manager for the Alaska Pipeline when came up with the idea to sell embroidered caps to fellow pipeline employees.  Originally he sewed all the patches onto the caps himself while back home in Washington.  When his trial run of 300 sold out in three days, he knew he was on to something." he says.  "I had all this room on the plane, so I filled it with hats. I just kept hauling hats up there and selling them until I started making more money selling hats than working for Atlantic Richfield."

We originally occupied a rented location in downtown Tacoma with just a single 11 head embroidery machine.  Within just a few years, we moved to our current facility in Milton, with two buildings and almost ten times the manufacturing capability.  Today, we even manage a branch office in China to handle large specialty orders.  Jim is now joined by his two sons Erik and Scott, bringing the company into its second generation.

Technology in our industry has changed dramatically since the early days, and Northwest Custom Apparel has kept on the cutting edge with every improvement.  In the old days, the artwork was digitized all by hand, stitch by stitch, into files that could be read my the embroidery machines.  The files were saved on large paper rolls with holes punched in them, taking up a large section of our warehouse just to store them.  Now designs are digitized directly on our computer screens and are sent immediately through our network to our factory's embroidery machines.  Our entire library which used to take up shelves of space now can fit on a memory chip smaller than your fingernail.

Three decades in the business have given us a greater appreciation for the art that goes into creating an embroidered garment.  Technology may have helped make things faster, but every item we produce is still manufactured with the same strict attention to detail as it was three decades ago. Throughout the years, technology has changed and trends have come and gone.   Through it all, we continue to pride ourselves on the same principles on which the company was founded - top-notch customer service and high-quality products.

Experienced Team

Northwest Custom Apparel is staffed by experienced embroidery operators and management that will guarantee your order is completed to your satisfaction. You can rest assure with our years of experience and training that your order be delivered on time and correct.

  • Jim Mickelson - CEO  40 Years (1977)
  • Erik Mickelson - Operations Manager 20 Years (1997)
  • Tracy Murphy - General Manager 4 Years (2013)
  • Taylar Hanson - Key Account Manager 2 Years (2014)
  • Randy Fountain - Art Director 30 Years (1987)
  • Neil Russell - Bookkeeper (owned an embroidery shop in England)
  • Judy Pacheco - Admin Assistant (worked 4 years at Stahls)
  • Ruth Nhoung - Production Manager 19 Years (1998)
  • Sharon Benjamin - Sample Department 25 Years (1992)


Northwest Custom Apparel believes in old fashion customer service, that has been instilled into the culture by owner, Jim Mickelson, since 1977.  We strive to provide the "WOW" factor each and every interaction with the customer. Many employees have over 10 years experience and the most senior employee has 25 years of producing quality and on time embroidery. We invite you into our remodeled showroom to see all our samples and new ideas to promote your company. We make ordering easy and a fun experience.

Our Future


We are continually thinking outside of the box to provide new services, products and ideas to our customers. We believe direct-to-garment printing will be the future of t-shirt decorating and is already replacing traditional screen printing. We invested in Kornit printers, which print unlimited ink colors, using water-based inks that are environmentally friendly. Embroidery will always be our staple and we are continually investing in newer and faster embroidery machines. Owner, Jim Mickelson, always reminds us as we grow in technology, we can't forget our "Old Fashion" customer service of 40 years. 

Jim and Erik Mickelson


2025 Freeman Rd E
Milton, Washington 98354
United States

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