Fifteen years ago, two expatriates and a local living in Saigon became fast friends. Two were in sales and the third was an administrative assistant.
Andreas Kalberer's ABPro specializes in high-performance custom golf apparel (PHOTO: Eddie Meeks).
What if, they thought, they could bring more business to Vietnam and become entrepreneurs themselves. They could help bridge disparate countries, redefine their careers and, as it turned out, help sporting event organizers worldwide.
It was an unlikely pairing of the minds that led to the launch of ABPro, Inc. in 1996. With 600 employees working in two factories in Saigon and a U.S. sales and distribution office in San Marcos, ABPro manufactures logo apparel for individuals, corporations and stores. More than half of its business is golf.
The business is small compared to many in the industry, said president Andreas Kalberer, who’s based in the San Diego County office. And despite today’s economic challenges, Kalberer says they’re doing well.
That’s probably because ABPro offers small-volume minimum orders, quick turnaround and private label orders.
“Most factories have a 300-piece minimum order,” said Kalberer, who was born and raised in Switzerland. “Ours is six.”
This is good news for golf shops, corporations and tournament organizers looking for cotton and knit shirts, windbreaker-style jackets and caps emblazoned with their logo. Fabrics are high performance, moisture wicking and anti-bacterial. Polos range from a spectrum of solid colors to designs featuring color blocking, pinstripes and argyle prints. For an added fee, clients can work with ABPro team of designers to create a custom design.
They also offer recycled fabrics for green-friendly clients and accessories such as shoe bags and a sports carryall.
For jackets and accessories, many colors are available. When it comes to shirts, ABPro can use any color imaginable.
“A club can choose a shirt, choose a color and have a tag featuring their brand name or logo sewn onto the inside of the shirt,” Kalberer said. “This really helps set a company or pro shop apart. And they only need to order six pieces.”
The apparel industry term “sublimation” refers to the digital printing on fabric. This means no fading, no peeling logo, and the dye becomes part of the fabric.
“It’s not a screen print, and it’s not embroidery, which is more costly,” said Kalberer. ABPro does offer embroidery and traditional printing services upon request.
For more information, call (760) 752-3400 or visit absublimation.com.