How Pigskins & Pigtails uses Screen Printing to Support Local Businesses  |

Supporting local businesses has never been more important. The mom-and-pop shops are what keep our communities alive. There are plenty of ways to support local businesses: buying from them, following them on social media, and promoting them. Screen printers have a unique opportunity to support these small businesses with their own creativity. That’s exactly what Jennifer Sanderson of Pigskins & Pigtails did. She created tote bags for a local event to show her support and encourage others to support locally-owned businesses. 

A canvas tote bag reading "support local businesses" hangs from a temporary tent next to mason jars

Photo by Jennifer Sanderson


Pigskins & Pigtails, owned by Texas native Jennifer Sanderson, is a small business itself. Jennifer started using vinyl to decorate shirts for her kids. One day, while in a craft store, Jennifer happened upon a Speedball screen printing kit. She decided to try it out, and was hooked. She filmed her printing process and posted it to YouTube, where it took off. Her blog, which had previously been about all types of crafting, moved to the genre of screen printing. Thanks to YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, she’s gained a following of crafters just like her. 

“I’ve done tons of projects and [screen printing] kind of became the new obsession,” Jennifer said. 


Since the pandemic has closed doors to so many local businesses, keeping the spirit of our communities alive has become a goal for many. Many screen print shops—Pigskins & Pigtails included—are local businesses. In order to show support for their communities, many screen printers have been printing garments for others. 

Early in the pandemic, Daniela Murphy of Stark Screen Printing wanted to pay it back to her community. Daniela printed hundreds of shirts with the free Support Local vector design, including a hashtag of their cities in the shirt design. She gave the shirts to local businesses (for free), letting the business sell them and take the profit. 

“We wanted nothing out of it,” Daniela said.


Almost two years later, the sentiment still rings true. Printers like Jennifer are finding new ways to use their skills to make an impact in their community.


When Jennifer of Pigskins & Pigtails saw the new Support Local designs, she knew she wanted to do something to help her local community. Using a design from the vector pack, she printed 75 tote bags proudly provided by SanMar to give away at a local event over Labor Day weekend. 

The Homestead Fair, a local craft fair in Gatesville, Texas, is a newer event. The fair featured crafters and artisans from around the area, and the city wanted to promote it as a way for people in the community to support their local artisans and crafters. Jennifer’s usual clientele is outside of her small town, so she wanted to do something special for this fair. 

“There’s a lot of people locally who sell local honey or their own soaps and those people don’t necessarily have the platform to sell their products on a bigger scale,” Jennifer said. 

She decided to print tote bags. Why? Because people shopping at the Homestead Fair needed something to put their locally-bought items in. She didn’t want any profit from it, though. She wanted to keep the focus on the small businesses in her community. The first 50 people to show up to the fair received a free Support Local tote bag. The vendors and event organizers also got a free bag. 

A tote bag reading "support local businesses, Gatesville Texas" sits on a white stool

Photo by Jennifer Sanderson

The event began at 9 a.m. When Jennifer arrived an hour later, the bags were already gone. Jennifer was delighted to see people using the tote bags, and walked around the fair filming the totes in action. 

“It was really fun to see people shopping, putting stuff in their tote bag,” Jennifer said. “It was just a cool full-circle kind of moment of being able to print something and see these other small businesses benefiting from people showing up at this local event.” 

Two women holding "support local" tote bags in a field next to a vendor tent

Photo by Jennifer Sanderson



Since Jennifer interacts with a lot of people outside her community, giving back to her town is important. Being a small business herself, she understands the importance of every transaction. Her favorite part of the event was knowing that she had played a part in helping her locally-run small businesses thrive. 

“It’s just so fun to see all the purchases that people are making at this event are going straight to a family that lives in the same town, and it’s neat to see the money stay local,” Jennifer said. 

Pigskins & Pigtails started from a hobby that grew into an obsession, and eventually a business. Jennifer loves seeing others do the same with their interests and talents. 

“I think everybody should step out and try something like that. If you have a talent, make something,” she said.

A "support local" tote bag hangs off a shopper's arm

Photo by Jennifer Sanderson

Screen printers and crafters everywhere can support other local businesses in similar ways. Whether it’s making tote bags for a local event, trading screen printed art with other businesses, or giving away T-shirts, supporting your local community doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. All you need is a great idea, great artwork, and a passion for paying it forward. 

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