NextFab 2025 Washington Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19146 +1 (215) 921-3649

Becoming the Top Banana

Name: Taylor McDowell
NextFab Resident: since 2013
Owner: Top Banana Screen and Digital Printing

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It’s late on a Friday night and Taylor McDowell, owner of NextFab’s resident company, Top Banana, is one of the last members to leave.  Spread out on the large cutting tables are his custom-made digitally printed T-shirts, fresh off the press and waiting to be folded.  “I invented this thing, you know,” he says while smoothing a sleeve on the four-sided plastic T-shirt folder.  His smirk gives away his fib, and he folds into the wee hours of the morning.

“They’re all inventors here! … But, I found my own niche.”

Taylor’s wit is his trademark, personally and professionally.  Founding Top Banana in 2011, he’s made a business of crafting clever T-shirts with a no-joke bottom line for his customer: no minimum orders and a guaranteed 1-3 day turnaround time.  It’s possible through direct-to-garment digital printing, which eliminates timely set-ups and can generate photo-realistic prints … and what he has perfected at NextFab.

After spending years leaning the skill of traditional screen-printing under the expertise of his uncle in Colorado Springs, CO, Taylor planned to bring the craft back to his native Philadelphia, but soon found the market to be saturated with competition, many of whom have been in business for generations.  He needed an edge, and as fate would have it, needed a new workspace, too.  After an exhaustive search, he found NextFab.

“I didn’t need to look anywhere else.  The in-house resources and digital printing technology has completely changed my business model.” 

It was the leg-up that Top Banana needed to compete as a player in a highly competitive market.  While Taylor still offers screen prints, the majority of his business is digital.  With orders flooding in and his staff expanding, Taylor’s hoping to spend more time on growing his business.  “My biggest resource at NextFab is the staff.  Because of them, my graphic design skills have exploded.  I’ve taken some embroidery classes, too, and plan to incorporate them as a value-add for my product.  It’s been an incredible learning experience.”

Taylor will continue to collaborate with NextFab’s team to create high-quality custom T-shirts in record time, and plans to debut Top Banana nationally in a few years.