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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Marshall Atkinson

Owner & Co-Founder

Atkinson Consulting & Shirt Lab

Location: Mesa

Founded: 2018

Industry: Decorated Apparel

Marshall Atkinson started his more-than-30-year career in the decorated apparel industry as an art director in Florida, working with high-volume shops that catered to top brands like Coca-Cola, Nike and Chick-fil-A.

In 2010, Atkinson ventured into consulting, leveraging his knowledge to assist other shops in the industry. He later became the chief operating officer of a prominent company in Wisconsin, overseeing the production of millions of T-shirts monthly for clients such as Harley-Davidson, McDonald’s and Thrivent.

In 2017, Atkinson relocated his family to Phoenix to collaborate with a software company in building a production management tool. His passion for consulting led him to establish Atkinson Consulting full-time in 2018. That same year, Atkinson co-founded Shirt Lab, a live-event education sales and marketing firm catering to the decorated apparel industry.

“Risk is a part of the entrepreneurial journey,” Atkinson said. “You have to be able to push through the mistakes and learn from them. Of course, you want to mitigate them proactively, but sometimes wrong choices are made. Learning from those and the habit of continuous improvement leads to greater success.”

Atkinson has been writing a weekly blog since 2010 and contributes articles to industry magazines in the U.S. and the U.K. He hosts the “Success Stories” podcast, featuring entrepreneurial journeys from companies in the industry. He also co-hosts a live weekly Q&A show and a YouTube series called “Adventures in Apparel Decorating.”

Atkinson Consulting and Shirt Lab have ambitious growth plans for the next five years. On the consulting side, the companies aim to expand by adding more consultants for on-site training and exploring opportunities for education. They also plan to focus on international clients.

Atkinson’s marketing strategy includes writing more books, securing speaking engagements and pursuing teaching opportunities to further establish himself as an industry expert.

With Shirt Lab, the focus is on expanding the Shirt Lab Tribe community, which has about 200 paid subscribers. The platform provides education, workshops and virtual and in-person learning events. The goal is to reach a membership of at least 1,000 by 2025.

Atkinson has served on three industry boards of directors: the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, the Specialty Graphic Industry Association and PromoKitchen. A frequent trade show speaker, he has taught workflow, sustainability, business planning, marketing, leadership, efficiency, print production and employee training classes.

He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named to Stitches Magazine Power 75 list — the top 75 people worldwide for the decorated apparel industry.

Presented by:

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Comerica Bank

Marshall attended Florida State University on a four-year art scholarship and has a BS degree in art, specifically in watercolor painting. He paints photo-realistic watercolors that take forever to complete.


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