Ted Stahl

Ted Stahl


“Our parents gave us a strong foundation and instilled core values that have helped me both in my personal life and in business. Probably the most important thing they taught me was to be respectful of others, to be kind, to always look for the good and not be overly critical. They also showed us the value of keeping an open mind and to look for the silver lining in every situation.”

– Ted Stahl

About Ted

Ted Stahl is the Executive Chairman of the Board of GroupeSTAHL, a family-owned, international group of companies dedicated to providing a wide range of alternatives in garment decoration, specializing in heat printing methods. GroupeSTAHL is a manufacturer as well as a provider of garment decoration services. Ted is a well-known industry veteran with more than 44 years of experience in all aspects of apparel graphics, from manufacturing and marketing to product design and retail operations.

Highly regarded by his peers as an industry pioneer, visionary and influential person in the decoration industry, he was ranked as #1 on Stitches Magazine Power 75 List in 2013. In 2010, Stahl was inducted into the National Sporting Goods Association Hall of Fame. Ted has been awarded many patents for innovations in the world of garment decorating, including Thermo-FILM, the world’s most popular material for numbers and letters, and the revolutionary Hotronix® heat press. The best-selling Hotronix® Fusion is the world’s first touch-screen heat press designed as a combination swinger and draw press. He also continues to push the boundaries in heat printing innovations with the introduction of STAHLS’ Tek line of CAD-CUT® and CAD-COLOR® heat transfer materials featuring a breakthrough low-temperature universal adhesive for performance fabrics, STIX-2.

In Ted’s Own Words

People often ask how we transformed our family-owned, Midwestern die-cut letters and numbers business into a multinational supplier with operations around the world. Stahls’ was started by our grandfather A.C. Stahl back in 1932. His three children, Gertrude, Helen and Ernie (our father), all played a role in the business. The company was known as Stahls’ Felt Stamping and had several divisions, including embroidery, chenille and sewn felt lettering. Legend has it that A.C. grew tired of taking the flak for misspelling names, so he decided to stop offering the service of sewn lettering and just sell the letters—and let people make their own spelling mistakes! And so the die-cut was born. We still have one of the first foot-operated die-cutting machines in our front office. When our father, Ernie returned from serving as a Marine on the Pacific front in 1945, there wasn’t much time for a transition. But he gladly dove right back into the family business, working with our mother Ricki to take the business to the next level. They were a perfect team, our dad was the inventor and mother offered support on the home front. The business grew thanks to Ernie’s innovations, as he developed improved thermal adhesives on die cuts, offered custom cutting services and introduced a variety of new embellishment materials. So you can see that the tradition for customer-driven products was started by generations previous to mine. Along with brothers Brian and Craig, we were all involved in helping one way or the other from a young age. I remember helping to make dies for cutting lettering at age 10!

In 1972, when I returned to Stahls’, I had a degree in Finance from Wayne State University but felt I had learned more from my entrepreneurial adventures than from some of my professors. Along with my brothers, we had a vision for what the family business could become. We truly understood the challenges retailers faced on a daily basis. Our vision was to focus on providing customers with a variety of heat printing alternatives that would make their businesses more successful. (My brother Craig, who was the inventor of Water-Jet custom cutting technology passed away in 1996. Brother Brian, operations officer extraordinaire, retired in 2001 and currently lives with his wife Jan in North Carolina.)

Today, we continue to offer customers the whole heat printing enchilada—all the materials, equipment and services their businesses need. Thanks to your loyalty, we’re the largest manufacturer of heat presses in the world. And now, with the help of our extended family of heat printing experts, as well as the fourth generation of Stahls—our sons Brett and Daniel and daughters Erin and Kaitlyn are also involved in the business—we keep growing as we strive to bring you the best decorating options for everything from plain cotton t-shirts to the latest in high-tech performance wear.

Ted’s Proudest Accomplishments

It goes without saying that Ted is proud to be the husband of Mary and a father and grandfather to his kids and grandkids. But his favorite accomplishment outside of family and business was the founding of the Michigan Jaguars, a youth hockey organization in Michigan. It was created out of a need to give local young hockey players an atmosphere that focuses on building confidence. Instead of just celebrating goals, we celebrate assists, emphasizing teamwork, mutual respect for other players and parents. The Michigan Jaguars strives to develop athletes with a positive attitude, good sportsmanship, and confidence.