To celebrate the launch of our second store t-shirt we thought we'd take you behind the scenes on the process of getting a garment from conception to reality.
Disclosure: We are by no means experts... in fact we have no experience in design or retail... but what we lack in experience, we make up for in enthusiasm so enjoy the ride...
I (Annie!) do most of the designing at R&R Co - I am entirely self taught and in the spirit of full disclosure... I find designing apparel the hardest thing to do.
I usually get an idea for a design randomly - like when I'm walking the dogs... or I'll find a colour or style I love and imagine how we could to our own R&R take on it. I've been inspired by vintage american summer camp t-shirts for the longest time and knew I wanted to do design one for our own store (!). Fun fact - I lived in the US for a while and thrifted an amazing collection of random graphic t-shirts - I still keep an eye out for them even now.
I'll usually pull together a mood board on pinterest to help me think about layouts as I'm still getting my head around clothing design. Then I sketch it out on my ipad before turning to trusty illustrator to create a vector design. This is usually when I start 2nd guessing myself and think the entire idea was awful... ahhh the life of a creative!
Sourcing the t-shirt
We've done a lot of research to find a t-shirt supplier that makes high quality, ethical and sustainable blanks that don't break the bank. We tend to order a range of colours but to be honest... I always have a very specific idea of colours when I first have the idea but in the name of due diligence we try a few. With this t-shirt being a light colour and a summer tee, I did want to check it was opaque enough and that it wasn't too heavy. Thankfully the colour I wanted was perfect and quite possibly the softest t-shirt I've ever felt.
Printing the design
Then it's over to our friends at Dark Peak Press. Rich prints all our t-shirts with soil friendly water-based inks at his studio Kin.der Co - which is handily just a few miles down the road. Once he's worked his magic it's time for my most favourite followed by my least favourite task.
Photographing the collection
As a 2-person side hustle which is less than a year old - we often have big and exciting ideas for photoshoots that we have to scale down to be more manageable and realistic! I LOVE photography so this is my favourite part of the whole process. One day I'd love to have a proper designer on board so I get to focus on the bits I love and I'm good at - but for now, it's just us bumbling by.
We always try and shoot lifestyle shots for socials - given we're an outdoor brand that means forests, sunsets and sometimes a furry friend or two.
Preparing the tees
My LEAST favourite task - I'm a creative at heart so tagging and labelling all our t-shirts isn't what I'd choose to do but hey... it's something we have to do. We use recycled business cards and cotton string for our swing tags and package them in paper bags so we stay plastic free & recyclable.
Then it's time to upload our product images, write our copy and prep for launch, which takes us to the day- launch day.
We hope you love our summer camp t-shirt. We're still learning about designing for apparel but it's a product range we'd really love to expand.
If you have any comments, recommendations, or questions - let me know below!