History of Insta Graphic Systems

For over 60 years, Insta Graphic Systems has been known for its quality print products, heat transfer machines, outstanding service and personalized customer care.

Insta Graphic Systems was founded in 1959 by two young entrepreneurs who sold heat transfers and heat press machines to schools and clubs. Herbert A. Wells, a former chemist for Borden’s Glue which he later helped develop into Elmer’s Glue, purchased Insta in 1969. He then assisted in the development of the very first plastisol heat transfer, which offered something that no other heat transfer had before: easy application and a soft to the touch feel.

In the early 1970’s, the decorated T-shirt market exploded and Insta’s growth began to skyrocket. Insta licensed some of the biggest cartoon characters at the time such as Mighty Mouse, Tom & Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, Bullwinkle & Friends, and The Wizard of Oz to mention a few. With its premiere, Insta also enjoyed a considerable amount of success with its international license for ET, the Extra Terrestrial. Because of this, Insta received more inquiries for their products than ever before!

With continued rapid sales growth and popularity, Insta developed into an innovative company.

By being one of the first transfer companies to develop new products such as hot peel, puff, stretch, litho, glitter and soft-hand heat transfers, Insta’s unique approach in developing new products quickly placed them at the top. Because of Insta’s innovative and quality transfers, interest and inquiries from around the world slowly began pouring in.

After graduating from UCLA, Mr. Wells’ daughter Janet Wells, began working for Insta. Having lived abroad and fluent in several languages, Janet found herself translating correspondence from other countries. Seeing the opportunity to expand its international market, Janet took charge of all international affairs. Under her leadership, international sales grew exponentially and as a result, Insta now sells to over 125 countries around the world including three international warehouses.

With continued success and following in her dad’s footsteps, Janet soon became President of Insta in the early 1990’s.

Since then, Insta’s licensing and market reach further expanded to some of the biggest names in history. Not only did Insta become a licensee for professional sports including the Major League Baseball Association, but to some of the biggest sports apparel brands such as Nike, Reebok, Adidas and Under Armour. Insta’s expertise led them to working with top entertainment artists, shows, and some of the biggest movie franchises you can think of: Providing printed products for Michael Jackson, shows like The Adams Family, Star Wars, Harry Potter and many more. Insta also provided prints for such notables in history like NASA, Buzz Aldrin (second astronaut to walk on the moon), Richard Branson and the Sultan of Brunei! Insta’s innovation proved limitless and by working with high profile companies like Armani, Guess Jeans, Hanes, Disney, The Magic Touch, Epson and Sawgrass, Insta remained unstoppable.

Recognizing its international success, the US Department of Commerce awarded Insta the prestigious President’s “E Award” for Export Excellence in 1999.

Janet was invited to Washington D.C. to receive the award from US Commerce Secretary, Bill Daley. While writing her “thank you” speech at the kitchen table, her then 8-year-old daughter asked what she was doing to which Janet replied, “I am writing a thank you speech for the President.” Her daughter replied, “Mom, I’ll tell you what to say:”

“Thank you for this honor. I feel very special. I wish I could feel this special every day. And Mr. President, please keep our planet green.”

Janet incorporated her daughter’s encouraging words into her speech to which Secretary Daly responded, ”Tell your daughter she has a job as my next speechwriter!” Janet accepted the award with honor and was motivated to continue striving for success.

Today, Janet continues to propel the legacy of the Wells family. Insta has served as a family-owned business for almost 60 years. Now, a woman-owned and operated company, Insta proudly services the printing and apparel industry worldwide. Customers agree that Insta’s reputation is built on its AWARD WINNING QUALITY, industry expertise, and personalized customer care. Janet believes one of the greatest assets to her company is the many employees working daily to ensure the best quality service and products possible to its customers around the world.

“Many of our employees have worked at Insta for 40 plus years. It is the commitment, dedication and loyalty of these employees that have made Insta a success. We are family.”

Janet Wells, President of Insta Graphic Systems